A new orange emitting luciferase from the Southern-Amazon Pyrophorus angustus (Coleoptera: Elateridae) click-beetle: structure and bioluminescence color relationship, evolutional and ecological considerations
Bioluminescent click-beetles display a wide variation of bioluminescence colors ranging from green to orange, including an unusual intra-specific color variation in the Jamaican Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus. Recently, we collected individuals of the Pyrophorus angustus species from the Southern Amazon forest, in Brazil, which displays an orange light emitting abdominal lantern. This species was also previously described from Central America, but displaying a bioluminescence spectrum from 536 nm (dorsal) to 578 nm (ventral). The biogeographic variation of the bioluminescence color in this species could be an adaptation to environmental reflectance and inter/intraspecific sexual competition. Here, we cloned, sequenced, characterized and performed site-direct mutagenesis of this new orange emitting luciferase. The in vitro luciferase spectrum displayed a peak at 594 nm, KM values for ATP and D-luciferin of 160 μM and 17 μM, respectively, and an optimum pH of approximately 8.5. Comparative multialignment and site-directed mutagenesis using different color emitting click-beetle luciferases from P. angustus, Fulgeochlizus bruchi and Pyrearinus termitilluminans luciferases cloned by our group showed an integral role of residue 247 in bioluminescence color modulation.