Bioluminescence (BL) relies on the enzymatic reaction between luciferase, a substrate conventionally named luciferin, and various cofactors. BL imaging has become a widely used technique to interrogate gene expression and cell fate, both in small and large animal models of research. Recent developments include the generation of improved luciferase–luciferin systems for deeper and more sensitive imaging as well as new caged luciferins to report on enzymatic activity and other intracellular functions. Here, we critically evaluate the emerging tools for BL imaging aiming to provide the reader with an updated compendium of the latest developments (2018–2020) and their notable applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors acknowledge Marc C.M. Stroet for help with the drawing of Figure 2. The authors created the illustrations using Biorender.com. The authors thank Roisin McMorrow for English language editing. We acknowledge the funding for this work provided by the European Commission under the H2020-MSCA-RISE award grant numer 777682 (CANCER) and the H2020-MSCA-ITN award grant number 861190 (PAVE).
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