Luciferin is a molecule you may not have heard of. Derived from the Latin word lucifer meaning “light-bearer”, this molecule is responsible for the light emissions in organisms that generate bioluminescence but also has many uses to humans. For example, its use as a biomass indicator has helped detect microorganisms in consumer products and has been used to determine if life exists on the Moon and Mars. Humans actually use this molecule to conduct biological studies. It can be used to monitor gene expression and protein-protein interactions. Bioluminescence imaging has emerged as an effective way to analyze cell populations. Luciferin produces light when oxidized by an enzyme in bioluminescent organisms called luciferase and is in the presence of ATP. The chemical formula for luciferin is C11H8N2O3S2 and the molecule is organic. In my model, carbon is grey, hydrogen is white, nitrogen is blue, oxygen is red, and sulfur is yellow.

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