Navigation Links
Explanation for glowing seas suggested
Date:10/19/2011

It has long been known that distinctive blue flashes--a type of bioluminescence--that are visible at night in some marine environments are caused by tiny, unicellular plankton known as dinoflagellates. However, a new study has, for the first time, detailed the potential mechanism for this bioluminesence.

The study, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, is reported by Susan Smith of Emory School of Medicine, Thomas DeCoursey of Rush University Medical Center and colleagues in the Oct. 17, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

A key aspect of the potential mechanism for bioluminescence in dinoflagellates proposed in the PNAS study involves voltage-gated proton channels--channels in membranes that can be opened or closed by chemical or electrical events.

J. Woodland Hastings, a member of the Smith and DeCoursey research team and an author of the PNAS article, suggested the presence of voltage-gated proton channels in dinoflagellates almost forty years ago. But the Smith and Decoursey team only recently confirmed them by the identification and subsequent testing of dinoflagellate genes that are similar to genes for voltage-gated proton channels that had previously been identified in humans, mice and sea squirts.

According to the study, here is how the light-generating process in dinoflagellates may work: As dinoflagellates float, mechanical stimulation generated by the movement of surrounding water sends electrical impulses around an internal compartment within the organism, called a vacuole--which holds an abundance of protons. (See accompanying illustration.) These electrical impulses open so-called voltage-sensitive proton channels that connect the vacuole to tiny pockets dotting the vacuole membrane, known as scintillons.

Once opened, the voltage-sensitive proton channels may funnel protons from the vacuole into the scintillons. Protons entering the scintillons then activate luciferase--a protein, which produces flashes of light, that is stored in scintillons. Flashes of light produced by resulting luciferase activation would be most visible during blooms of dinoflagellates.

This research illuminates the novel mechanisms underlying a beautiful natural phenomenon in our oceans, and enhances our understanding of dinoflagellates--some of which can produce toxins that are harmful to the environment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lily Whiteman
lwhitema@nsf.gov
703-292-8310
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Diversity of trees in Ecuadors Amazon rainforest defies simple explanation
2. New explanation for a puzzling biological divide along the Malay Peninsula
3. Toward an explanation for Crohns disease?
4. UF scientists discover new explanation for controversial old patient-care technique
5. A new biological explanation for sadness in early postpartum
6. Study offers first explanation of how cells rapidly repair and maintain structure
7. Study provides explanation for connection between low birth weight and obesity later in life
8. Glowing hands in the waiting room improves kids handwashing
9. Glowing beacons reveal hidden order in dynamical systems
10. Promising new treatment for Alzheimers suggested based on Hebrew University research
11. Natural S-Equol suggested as critical component in SE5-OH for reducing menopausal hot flushes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Explanation for glowing seas suggested
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert ... a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid ... software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the ... the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... New York will feature emerging and ... Innovation Summits. Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the ... variety of speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on ... east coast,s largest advanced design and manufacturing event will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Kathy Goin is joining myClin ... years of expertise in establishing and leading clinical operations at Sponsors including Trevena, ... therapist, through a variety of leadership roles in Clinical Operations, to her current ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Stratevi, a boutique firm ... the East Coast. It has opened an office in downtown Boston at 745 Atlantic ... it increasingly more important to generate evidence on the value they provide, not just ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2017 , ... ... that helps avoid the lengthy trial and error process by finding the right ... It can also strengthen the doctor-patient relationship through a personalized approach to treatment. ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u has added another ... a two-hour team-building package designed for groups of 10-30 people. Guests can ... include items, such as Blackened Shrimp with Edamame Salad, Pizza Rolls with Pepperoni ...
Breaking Biology Technology: