Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play key roles in various intracellular processes and have been shown to be involved in many diseases (eg. carcinogenesis, inflammation…). Each of the ROS species is likely to have a specific role in living cells. Therefore, there is an emerging need for selectively detecting each species of ROS through conventional biochemical assays, but also in live cell imaging (see a previous post “Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and related assay kits“).
Luciferase is the general term given to a class of oxidative enzymes that catalyze reactions that give off light, a process known as bio-luminescence (Fig. 1). In biology, researchers can take advantage of this reaction and use it as a readout for various biological processes. This has perhaps been exploited most in luciferase reporter cell lines where a promoter region from a gene of interest is placed immediately upstream of the coding sequence for luciferase. In this system, transcriptional activation of the gene of interest leads to a level of luciferase expression that is proportional to the level of gene activation.