Luciferase assay to study the activity of a cloned promoter DNA fragment

Methods Mol Biol. 2013:977:65-78. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-284-1_6.


Luciferase based assays have become an invaluable tool for the analysis of cloned promoter DNA fragments, both for verifying the ability of a potential promoter fragment to drive the expression of a luciferase reporter gene in various cellular contexts, and for dissecting binding elements in the promoter. Here, we describe the use of the Dual-Luciferase(®) Reporter Assay System created by Promega (Promega Corporation, Wisconsin, USA) to study the cloned 6.7 kilobases (kb) mouse (m) Tcf3 promoter DNA fragment in mouse embryonic derived neural stem cells (NSC). In this system, the expression of the firefly luciferase driven by the cloned mTcf3 promoter DNA fragment (including transcription initiation sites) is correlated with a co-transfected control reporter expressing Renilla luciferase from the herpes simplex virus (HSV) thymidine kinase promoter. Using an internal control reporter allows to normalize the activity of the experimental reporter to the internal control, which minimizes experimental variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Enzyme Assays
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • Luciferases, Firefly / biosynthesis*
  • Luciferases, Firefly / genetics
  • Luciferases, Renilla / biosynthesis
  • Luciferases, Renilla / genetics
  • Mice
  • Neural Stem Cells / enzymology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Thymidine Kinase / genetics
  • Transfection


  • Luciferases, Renilla
  • Luciferases, Firefly
  • Thymidine Kinase