Bacterial bioluminescence is taxonomically restricted to certain proteobacteria, many of which belong to the Vibrionaceae. In the most well-studied cases, pheromone signaling plays a key role in regulation of light production. However, previous reports have indicated that certain Photobacterium strains do not use this regulatory method for controlling luminescence. In this study, we combined genome sequencing with genetic approaches to characterize the regulation of luminescence in Photobacterium leiognathi strain KNH6, an extremely bright isolate. Using transposon mutagenesis and screening for decreased luminescence, we identified insertions in genes encoding components necessary for the luciferase reaction (lux, lum, and rib operons) as well as in nine other loci. These additional loci encode gene products predicted to be involved in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, DNA and RNA metabolism, transcriptional regulation, and the synthesis of cytochrome c, peptidoglycan, and fatty acids. The mutagenesis screen did not identify any mutants with disruptions of predicted pheromone-related loci. Using targeted gene insertional disruptions, we demonstrate that under the growth conditions tested, luminescence levels do not appear to be controlled through canonical pheromone signaling systems in this strain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology