Navigation Links
New light shed on marine luminescence
Date:2/23/2009

The phenomenon of light emission by living organisms, bioluminescence, is quite common, especially in marine species. It is known that light is generated by chemical reactions in which oxygen molecules play an important part. In the animal world, these chemical reactions take place in special luminescent cells called photocytes. These are aggregated into complex light organs, in which the intensity of light is regulated by nerve impulses, and in which light can be modulated with the help of reflectors, lenses and filters. By these means, organisms can adjust the wavelength, diffusion and intensity of light according to need. But the exact mechanisms behind these processes remain shrouded in mystery.

Jenny Krnstrm, a researcher at the Department of Zoology of the University of Gothenburg has put another piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place by investigating the light organs of marine jellyfish, crustaceans and fish. In her thesis she reveals that krill, the luminescent crustacean, is equipped with special muscles that regulate light intensity through contraction and relaxation.

Nitric oxide is also thought to play an important role in the bioluminescence of krill. It is produced in the small capillary vessels that keep the krill's photocytes supplied with oxygen, as well as in special closure muscles, sphincters, that are located at the point where these capillaries distribute blood to the photocytes. Experiments with agents that make the sphincters contract or relax show that when the sphincters relax, the krill begins to luminesce, presumably because of the increased flow of oxygenated blood to the photocytes.

As bioluminescence has developed independently at several different points in evolution, different species have developed different methods of regulating and emitting light. Jenny Krnstrm's research demonstrates that nitric oxide also has different effects in different species. In the remarkable deep sea Silver Hatchetfish (Argyropelecus olfersii) nitric oxide inhibits the light reaction, whilst in the Plain Midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) it has an opposite, stimulating effect.

Biological light is not only useful to the organism itself as a biological torch, camouflage or as a means of communication; the substances that are involved in the chemical luminescent reaction have also shown themselves to be useful in modern molecular biology, in which the discovery of green fluorescent protein, which produces green light in jellyfish, led to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry as recently as 2008.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jenny Krnstrm, Department of Zoology, University of Gothen
jenny.kronstrom@zool.gu.se
46-070-396-0763
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Special issue of BMC Microbiology spotlights standardized language for describing microbes
2. Case Western Reserve researchers looking at light-induced toxins in air and water
3. Researchers shed new light on connection between brain and loneliness
4. Village bird study highlights loss of wildlife knowledge from one
5. February 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
6. Scattered light rapidly detects tumor response to chemotherapy
7. Queens chemist sheds light on health benefits of garlic
8. Blue light destroys antibiotic-resistant staph infection
9. UD research study to shed light on emerging seaborne pathogen
10. February 2009 highlights from Biology of Reproduction
11. BIO-key(R) Fingerprint Biometrics Media Spotlights
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New light shed on marine luminescence
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... addition of the "Global Biometrics Market ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector ... --> Research and Markets ( ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce the ... achievements are the result of the company,s laser focus ... eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable ... --> Key MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 Recent ... and small to find new ways to ensure data ... iOS and Android that ... on biometrics, transforming it into a hardware authorization token. ... users swipe their fingerprint on their KodeKey enabled device ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... Feb. 9, 2016  DNAtrix, a clinical ... cancer, announced that its lead product, DNX-2401, ... as an orphan medicinal product for the ... of glioma, strikes approximately 25,000 people a ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160208/330986LOGO --> ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , Feb. 9, 2016 ... Inhibitors-Pipeline Insights, 2016", report provides in depth ... development activities around the Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B ... product profiles in various stages of development ... II, Phase III and Preregistration. Report covers ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016 Novan, Inc. today announced that Director Robert ... Directors of Novan. In addition, Robert Keegan has been ... Carolina . --> North Carolina ... received a total of $32.8 million of net proceeds in a ... network originating throughout the Research Triangle area of North ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... and leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology, today announced the availability of ... of Cloudera Enterprise through the Cloudera Certified Technology Program (CCPT). AllegroGraph ...
Breaking Biology Technology: