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enzymes that participate in bioluminescence.
Luciferases catalyze the aerobic oxidation of luciferins, the result of which is the conversion of the substrate to the electron-excited state and the release of the excess energy as light quanta. Living organisms store luciferases in photogenic cells or in specialized luminescence organs. Flavoprotein (molecular weight [mol wt], 85,000) is the luciferase in species of Achromobacter. Crayfish of the genus Cypridina contain an albumin (mol wt, 37,000-45,000), and beetles of the genus Photinus contain the luciferase euglobulin (approximate mol wt, 100,000). Even in organisms that contain the same luciferase, such as all species of fireflies, there are differences in luciferase structure and in the optimum conditions for its activity.