Background: The firefly luciferase reporter protein is a crucial tool for studies targeting a broad range of biological questions. Importantly, luciferase assays are also widely used to explore mechanisms underlying thyroid hormone dependent regulation of gene expression. However, it was demonstrated that the firefly luciferase reporter is subject to triiodothyronine (T3)-evoked, promoter independent downregulation that is mediated by the thyroid hormone receptor. Since this effect can interfere with readout accuracy, the study aimed to find luciferase reporters that are not susceptible to this phenomenon. Methods: Luciferase reporter constructs were generated under the control of a minimal thymidine kinase (TK) promoter and transiently transfected into JEG-3 cells to test their activity upon T3 treatment. Results: Activity of the TK-(dCpG)Luc encoding a synthetic (dCpG)Luciferase and TK-NanoLuc expressing the NanoLuc reporter was not significantly changed by T3 treatment while the firefly luciferase control was suppressed by ∼2.6-fold. T3 also downregulated the activity of Renilla luciferase by ∼30%. Conclusions: Novel types of luciferase reporters, especially the synthetic (dCpG)Luciferase, can be more accurate to study T3-regulated gene expression than the classical firefly luciferase reporter. Renilla luciferase, a popular transfection control of dual luciferase assays, should be used with caution in conditions with T3 treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism