A comparison of the two most famous groups of calcium-regulated photoproteins, cnidarians and ctenophores, showed unexpectedly high degree of structural similarity regardless of their low sequence identity. It was suggested these photoproteins can play an important role in understanding the structural basis of bioluminescence activity. Based on this postulate, in this study the cDNA of mnemiopsin from luminous ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi was cloned, expressed, purified and sequenced. The purified cDNA, with 621 base pairs, coded a 206 residues protein. Sequence of mnemiopsin showed 93.5 and 51% similarity to other ctenophore proteins and cnidarians, respectively. The cDNA encoding apo-mnemiopsin of M. leidyi was expressed in Escherichia coli. The purified apo-protein showed a single band on SDS-PAGE (molecular weight ~27 kDa). A semi-synthetic mnemiopsin was prepared using coelenterazine and EDTA and its luminescence activity was measured in the presence of CaCl(2). The results showed an optimum pH of 9.0 and lower calcium sensitivity compared to aequorin. Comparison of amino acid residues in substrate binding site indicated that binding pocket of ctenophores contains less aromatic residues than cnidarians. This can lead to a decline in the number of stacking interactions between substrate and protein which can affect the stability of coelenterazine in binding cavity. Structural comparison of photoproteins with low sequence identity and high 3D structural similarity, can present a new insight into the mechanism of light emission in photoproteins.