A bright future for bioluminescent imaging in viral research. Academic Article uri icon


  • Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) has emerged as a powerful tool in the study of animal models of viral disease. BLI enables real-time in vivo study of viral infection, host immune response and the efficacy of intervention strategies. Substrate dependent light emitting luciferase enzyme when incorporated into a virus as a reporter gene enables detection of bioluminescence from infected cells using sensitive charge-coupled device (CCD) camera systems. Advantages of BLI include low background, real-time tracking of infection in the same animal and reduction in the requirement for larger animal numbers. Transgenic luciferase-tagged mice enable the use of pre-existing nontagged viruses in BLI studies. Continued development in luciferase reporter genes, substrates, transgenic animals and imaging systems will greatly enhance future BLI strategies in viral research.

published proceedings

  • Future Virol

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Coleman, S. M., & McGregor, A.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Coleman, Stewart M||McGregor, Alistair

publication date

  • January 2015