Spencer T. Adams

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The light-emitting chemical reaction catalyzed by the enzyme firefly luciferase is widely used for noninvasive imaging in live mice. However, photon emission from the luciferase is crucially dependent on the chemical properties of its substrate, D-luciferin. In this review, we describe recent work to replace the natural luciferase substrate with synthetic(More)
Firefly luciferase is the most widely used optical reporter for noninvasive bioluminescence imaging (BLI) in rodents. BLI relies on the ability of the injected luciferase substrate D-luciferin to access luciferase-expressing cells and tissues within the animal. Here we show that injection of mice with a synthetic luciferin, CycLuc1, improves BLI with(More)
Firefly luciferase is homologous to fatty acyl-CoA synthetases. We hypothesized that the firefly luciferase substrate d-luciferin and its analogs are fatty acid mimics that are ideally suited to probe the chemistry of enzymes that release fatty acid products. Here, we synthesized luciferin amides and found that these molecules are hydrolyzed to substrates(More)
Bioluminescence imaging is a powerful approach for visualizing specific events occurring inside live mice. Animals can be made to glow in response to the expression of a gene, the activity of an enzyme, or the growth of a tumor. But bioluminescence requires the interaction of a luciferase enzyme with a small-molecule luciferin, and its scope has been(More)