Bioluminescence imaging with luciferase enzymes requires access to light-emitting, small-molecule luciferins. Here, we describe a rapid method to synthesize d-luciferin, the substrate for firefly luciferase (Fluc), along with a novel set of electronically modified analogues. Our procedure utilizes a relatively rare, but synthetically useful dithiazolium reagent to generate heteroaromatic scaffolds in a divergent fashion. Two of the luciferin analogues produced with this approach emit light with Fluc in vitro and in live cells. Collectively, our work increases the number of substrates that can be used for bioluminescence imaging and provides a general strategy for synthesizing new collections of luciferins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry