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:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 8, 2017 About ... individual,s voice to match it against a stored ... such as pitch, cadence, and tone are compared ... require minimal hardware installation, as most PCs already ... for different transactions. Voice recognition biometrics are most ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 Report ... ... and should reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a ... Report Includes - An overview of the global markets for ... from 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 Report Highlights The global ... $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth ... Report Includes - An overview of the global market ... data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of compound ... the market on the basis of product type, source, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... 22, 2017   VWR (NASDAQ: ... product and service solutions to laboratory and ... acquired EPL Archives, Inc., an international biorepository ... entire regulated product research, development and commercialization ... and ancillary services. EPL Archives is widely ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Chestertown, Maryland (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... Annual Life Science Chief Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. ... and medical device and diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 ... ... regional blood flow and tissue oxygenation, is being explored as a way to track ... near-infrared spectroscopy study on tonic pain activation by cold pressor test ,” published today ...
(Date:3/22/2017)...  Personal Genome Diagnostics Inc. (PGDx) today announced ... the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that ... company,s new CancerSELECT ™ 125 test. CancerSELECT ... test that includes microsatellite instability status (MSI), a ... checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies. CancerSELECT 125 will be available ...
Breaking Biology Technology: