Gaussia Luciferase

Gaussia Luciferase (GLuc) is a 20 kDa luciferase from the marine cocepod Gaussia princeps. This luciferase, which does not require ATP, catalyzes the oxidation of the substrate coelenterazine in a reaction that produces light (480 nm), and has considerable advantages over other luminescent reporter genes. It is normally secreted from the cells and its secretion signal also functions very efficiently in mammalian cells. GLuc offers the advantage of a greatly increased bioluminescent signal relative to the commonly used firefly (Fluc) and Renilla luciferases (RLuc). GLuc was determined to emit light with a specific activity of 4.2 x 1024 photons/s/mol, the highest reported activity for any characterized luciferase (1). 

The copepod Gaussia princeps

Electron micrograph courtesy of Microangela

Activity of Gaussia (GLuc) and Cypridina (CLuc) Luciferases Expressed in CHO Cells.

Activity was determined from the conditional media or cell lysate.

Extreme Sensitivity of the Gaussia Luciferase Reporter

HeLa cells were transfected with 1 µg of pCMV-GLuc or pCMV-Renilla, and activity was measured from the cell supernatant (S) or cell lysate (L). Note that although Gaussia Luciferase is a secreted reporter, there is sufficient measurable activity inside the cell. Renilla is only expressed intracellularly.

Detection of Low Numbers of Cells Expressing GLuc and CLuc

The indicated number of cells expressing GLuc or CLuc was diluted with untransfected CHO cells and cultured in a 24-well plate format for 1 day. A 20 µl sample from each well was assayed for each luciferase.


  1. Verhaegan, M.and Christopoulos, T.K. (2002) Anal. Chem. 74, 4378-4385. PMID: 12236345

Protocols for Gaussia Luciferase

Reporter System Selection Chart

NEB offer a variety of products that utilize secreted Gaussia Luciferase (GLuc) and Cypridina Luciferase (CLuc) in reporter assays.

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