Spectral overlaps among the multiple optical readouts commonly cause optical contamination in fluorescence and bioluminescence. To tackle this issue, we created five-different lineages of coelenterazine (CTZ) analogues designed to selectively illuminate a specific luciferase with unique luciferase selectivity. In the attempt, we found that CTZ analogues with ethynyl or styryl groups display dramatically biased bioluminescence to specific luciferases and pHs by modifying the functional groups at the C-2 and C-6 positions of the imidazopyradinone backbone of CTZ. The optical contamination-free feature was exemplified with the luciferase-specific CTZ analogues, which illuminated anti-estrogenic and rapamycin activities in a mixture of optical probes. This unique bioluminescence platform has great potential for specific and high throughput imaging of multiple optical readouts in bioassays without optical contamination.
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