The structure and organization of the luciferase gene in the photosynthetic dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra

Liming Li, J. Woodland Hastings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The structural features of dinoflagellate nuclei are distinct from those other eukaryotes in several respects, and the mechanisms of DNA replication and transcription are almost completely unknown. In this study we investigated the structure and organization of the the gene coding for luciferase (LCF), the enzyme catalyzing the bioluminescent reaction in the dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra. The genomic lcf sequence, including its flanking regions, were completely determined. The transcription initiation site was identified using primer extension and RNase protection assays. Sequence analysis shows that, like the luciferin-binding protein gene (lbp) from G. polyedra, lcf does not contain introns. Analysis of results from genomic Southern blots, inverse PCR, and sequencing revealed that the lcf gene is organized as tandem repeats in the genome. The spacer region between the lcf genes, which very likely contains the promoter elements necessary for transcription initiation, has no TATA box or other known promoter elements or consensus sequences. However, a conserved sequence motif was identified by comparing the two intergene spacer regions of lcf and the peridinin chlorophyll protein gene, pcp; a novel 13 nt sequence, CGTGAACGCAGTG, which might be a dinoflagellate promoter, was found to be present in both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Bioluminescence
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Gene duplicaton
  • Intron
  • Luciferase
  • Transcription start site

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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