Excited-state intermolecular proton transfer of the fireflys chromophore D -Luciferin

Yuval Erez, Dan Huppert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Steady-state absorption and emission as well as time-resolved emission spectroscopies were employed to study the photophysics and photochemistry of d-luciferin, the firefly active bioluminescent compound. In aqueous solution the electronically excited-state protonated d-luciferin compound undergoes an efficient process of proton transfer to the solvent, with a rate constant k PT = 3.0 × 1010 s-1. We found a kinetic isotope effect of about 2.5 for this process. The deprotonated form of d-luciferin in the excited state recombines irreversibly with the geminate proton. Hence, the fluorescence decay of the deprotonated form is nonexponential, and the fluorescence quantum yield is low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8075-8082
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number31
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2010


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