Bacterial luciferase as a reporter of circadian gene expression in cyanobacteria

Y. Liu, S. S. Golden, T. Kondo, M. Ishiura, C. H. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


To allow continuous monitoring of the circadian clock in cyanobacteria, we previously created a reporter strain (AMC149) of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 in which the promoter of the psbAI gene was fused to Vibrio harveyi luciferase structural genes (luxAB) and integrated into the chromosome. Northern (RNA) hybridization and immunoblot analyses were performed to examine changes in abundance of the luxAB mRNA, the native psbAI mRNA, and the luciferase protein to determine whether bioluminescence is an accurate reporter of psbAI promoter activity in AMC149. Under constant light conditions, the mRNA abundances of both luxAB and psbAI oscillated with a period of approximately 24 h for at least 2 days. The expression of these two genes followed the same pattern: both mRNAs peaked in the subjective morning, and their troughs occurred near the end of the subjective night. The amount of luciferase protein also oscillated with a period of approximately 24 h, and the protein rhythm is in phase with the bioluminescence rhythm. The rhythm of the luciferase mRNA phase-leads the rhythms of luciferase protein and in vivo bioluminescence by several hours. Comparable results were obtained with a short-period mutant of AMC149. Together, these results indicate that the bioluminescence rhythm in AMC149 is due primarily to circadian oscillation of psbAI promoter activity in this cyanobacterium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2086
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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