The circadian rhythm of bioluminescence in Pyrocystis is not due to differences in the amount of luciferase: A comparative study of the three bioluminescent marine dinoflagellates

Rosemarie Knaust, Thomas Urbig, Liming Li, Walter Taylor, J. Woodland Hastings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

The biochemistry and circadian regulation of luminescence in two Pyrocystis species, P. lunula Hulburt and P. noctiluca Murray et Haeckel, were compared with a well-studied species, Gonyaulax polyedra Stein. All exhibit circadian rhythms and all have similar luciferins and luciferases. However, the Pyrocystis species lack a second protein involved in the reaction in Gonyaulax, the luciferin (substrate) binding protein, which sequesters the luciferin at the cytoplasmic pH and releases it upon acidification, thus con- trolling the characteristic flashing, which is similar in the three species. More striking is the difference in the circadian regulation of luminescence, which in Gonyaulax involves the daily synthesis and destruction of the two proteins, along with the luminous organelles (scintillons) from which light is emitted, and which are present in all species. In the Pyrocystis species, the amount of luciferase is the same in extracts made during the day and night phases; its circadian regulation in vivo may be attributed to a change in its localization from day to night phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Phycology
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1998

Keywords

  • Bioluminescence
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Dinoflagellates
  • Luciferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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