Archive for the ‘Bioluminescencia’ Category


terça-feira, outubro 3rd, 2017


The Bioluminescense Web Page

Contacts are Steven Haddock (; 831-775-1793) and James F. Case.

OBs: ver este importante artigo no Quanta Magazine:

Image para por no artigo de bioluminescencia, obtida no Pinterest; medusa raimbow pode ser as cores dos orgaos que seriam as cores dasfuncoes univeersais ( mas espera ai… isto possso obter direto na onda de luz…)  

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Importante informacao sobre bioluminescencia:

What is the mechanism behind the formation of a specific coloured luminescence in any organism ?

Some animals use fluorescent proteins to shift the wavelength from their light emitting molecules. In others, it has been shown that the luciferase protein determines the color of emission from the luciferin. In a way it provides a different environment in which the molecule is oxidized.

Why do animals display so many colours when only apes and man can see different colours?

It isn’t true that only apes and man can see different colors. Humans have three visual pigments used for bright-light color vision, while other organisms can have one, two or many more. Different organisms perceive the world differently. ( E assim deve ser com extraterrestres). For example, bees are well known for their ultraviolet vision. One of the champions is the mantis shrimp, which has at least 10 combinations of pigments and filters which convey sensitivity to different wavelengths. So depending on the targeted eye, different colors displayed by organisms would serve different functions.

To your knowledge, and aside from fungi, are there plants that are truly bioluminescent? Do they exist in rain forest climates? I would love to know.

Also, from another reader:
Are there any plants that exhibit such phenomena which are easily cultivated?

There are not any luminous “flowering” plants which have been discovered. (That would be neat if rainforests glowed, but I think it is only likely to happen if they have something else on the vegetation in there making the light).

Fungi, some of which do luminesce, are not plants, and so they don’t qualify.

The only “plants” which do make light are the dinoflagellates, single-celled marine algae, and they are not plants strictly speaking.

Pesquisa para transferir luminescencia de insetos para plantas:

Would you have any information on the processes of inserting luminescent genomes, especially from insect to plant or plant to plant?  I saw a picture of a glowing plant in a book. What caused this light?
Regarding gene transfer: some people have actually done what you mention (luminescence-related genes from insects into plants). This is one way that you can get a bioluminescent houseplant. The example that I know about was when some researchers put genes for firefly luciferase into a plant and then watered the plant with luciferin. They got glowing wherever the luciferase gene was expressed. However it’s not that easy, and you would be quite a star if you could do that at home. In addition, you need to supply the light-emitting luciferin, which is expensive and has not been cloned.

Some scientific papers on the topic:



Lonsdale, DM; Moisan, LJ; Harvey, AJ. The effect of altered codon usage on luciferase activity in tobacco, maize and wheat. PLANT CELL REPORTS, 1998 MAR, V17 N5:396-399.


Importante evidencia para Matrix/DNA:

Female fireflies use bioluminescence to attract males. But why do firefly larvae also glow? 

Good question! Some believe the glow serves as notice that the larvae tastes very bad and is even toxic, which it is, thus helping it to avoid predators. Animals that are poisonous and active by day are often strikingly colored for the same purpose. For more info, look up the word “aposematic” which is a term for this state of affairs.

Matrix/DNA: O ancestral building block astronomico contem como funcao-femea um luminoso quasar para o qual os cometas-espermatozoides se dirigem (  talvez aja alguma forsa de atrracao atriando o cometa ou talvez ele e diridido pelos aneis da espiral galactica). Entao os insetos que por serem primitivos sao descendentes mais proximos do ancestral e portanto mais propensos a manterem suas caracteristicas, tambem contem esse mecanismo expressado, naturalmente. O fato de que as larvas ja apresentam essa luminescencia e’ indicio favoravel a esta teoria, indicando que a femea do vagalume nao tem inteligencia para criar esse fenomeno estrategico e nem os genes sabem que tem machos e copula, porem, isto aconteceu automaticamente e foi mantido pela selecao natural porque otimiza a reproducao e assim mais individuos com essa caracteristica sobrevivem. As larvas nao teriam como evitar a luminescencia desde que, por algum motivo desconhecido, a formula da Matrix/DNA nos seus genes expressou o mecanismo. A seguir um texto revelando como esta o conhecimento cientifico neste caso:

Luciferin is initially needed for the bioluminescence reaction. How is it synthesized within organisms. I cannot find any information on pathways leading to its biosynthesis.

In the case of coelenterazine, which is widely used in the sea, there isn’t much known about its synthesis. There is a study showing that jellies actually have to get it from their diet, but where does it show up originally? It has been speculated that a particular amino-acid sequence can be modified to form the molecule, but this gene has never been found. Most evidence for its novel biosynthesis has been found in crustaceans (specifically shrimp) but other than that, the actual mechanisms remain unknown.

This paper (PDF file) has some info and relevant references, especially citations #22, 17, 18, and 20.

E mais este texto com informacoes a respeito:

To what extent is the wavelength of light emitted dependent on the chemical reaction? Or perhaps I should ask, what aspect of the chemical reaction determines the wavelength of light to be emitted?

The general thought in most systems is that the luciferase (or phoroprotein) controls the color of luminescence. When you consider how many organisms use the same luciferins, especially coelenterazine, then this is almost necessarily the case. (See the chemistry pages for definitions of these terms). The luciferase can modify the spectrum (equivalent to the energy) of luminescence by affecting the environment for the oxidation luciferin. There are some nice examples in click beetles where Keith Wood and colleagues tracked down exactly what amino acids in the luciferase produce each particular wavelength.

Are there instances where the chemical reactions that produce bioluminescence (specificallly, the oxidation of luciferase and the addition of ATP to complete the cycle) are linked to metabolism — the oxidation of sugars and carbohydrates?

Well, not so much as you describe. Bacteria are perhaps the closest, with their requirement for oxygen and (sometimes) autoinducer — a molecule involved in quorum sensing which accumulates to a certain level before they begin to produce light.
Another example which may be related to your question is the requirement for ATP in firefly luminescence, though this isn’t really directly linked (i.e., glowing when they are eating).
Finally, there are strong antioxidant properties to luminescent reactions (i.e. they mop up oxygen radicals) so there may be light produced internally during protective reactions.

Matrix/DNA: O conhecimento cientifico atual sugere que organisms desenvolveram por si proprios as origins e evolucao da luminescencia com um proposito, o de reproducao, auto-protecao, e para ver no escuro. mais especificamente, diriam que ocorreu uma mutacao por acaso num organismo manifestando a luminescencia e como esse organismo se adaptou melhor a selecao natural o manteve. Esta aqui um grande exemplo a favor da Matrix/DNA na controversia sobre a causa das mutacoes que deflagram evolucao. A Matrix/DNA sugere modelos dos ancestrais nao-biologicos sistemas onde luminescencia sao fator manifestado comum, portanto, nao houve mutacao alguma e muito menos por acaso. O normal seria todos os organismos nascerem automaticamente com essa caracteristica, e se existe mutacao ela foi deleteria, 9 devido o ambiente terrestre), explicando os organismos que perderam a caracteristica. O texto abaixo ( com informacao de links para pesquisar) fala sobre isso:

I am doing an assignment on the evolution of bioluminescence…unfortunately I haven’t had much luck in finding any hard evidence that some species have evolved to bioluminesce in order to reproduce, protect themselves from predators, and see in the dark…

There hasn’t been that much research on the specific aspects of evolution which you mention. There are some papers which might be relevant, but they are be in the scientific literature, rather than popular literature.

Besides the papers listed below, you should find some references by Jim Morin on Ostracod luminescence (Genus: Vargula). That is the most sophisticated communication system which is known for oceanic luminescence.

  • Hastings, J. W. 1983. Biological diversity, chemical mechanisms, and the evolutionary origins of bioluminescent systems. J. Mol. Evol. 19:309-321
  • Hastings, J. W. 1995. Bioluminescence: similar chemistries, but many different evolutionary origins. Photochem. Photobiol. 62:599-600
  • Lall, A. B., Seliger, H.H., Biggley, W.H., Lloyd, J.E. 1980. Ecology of colors of firefly bioluminescence. Science. 210:560-562
  • O’Kane, D. J. and D. C. Prasher. 1992. Evolutionary origins of bacterial bioluminescence. Molecular Microbiology. 6:443-449
  • Rees, J. F., B. DeWergifosse, O. Noiset, M. Dubuisson, B. Janssens and E. M. Thompson. 1998. The origins of marine bioluminescence: Turning oxygen defence mechanisms into deep-sea communication tools. J. Exp. Biol. 201:1211-1221
  • Latz, M. I. and J. F. Case. 1982. Light organ and eyestalk compensation to body tilt in the luminescent midwater shrimp, Sergestes similis. J. Exp. Biol. 98:83-104
  • Warner, J. A., M. I. Latz and J. F. Case. 1979. Cryptic bioluminescence in a midwater shrimp. Science. 203:1109-1110

Young, R. E. and F. M. Mencher. 1980. Bioluminescence in mesopelagic squids: Diel color change during counterillumination. Science. 208:1286-1288

What is the genetic sequence of the ostracod/firefly/jellyfish/copepod luciferase?

Genes for many luciferases and photoproteins have been cloned. They can be found by searchin in Genbank. Some examples are given below. (Links open in new window):

You might also try searching the database for Renilla, Metridia, and Pholas to see other examples.

A great resource for exploring the 3-D structures of many of these proteins is the Protein Data Bank. Try the searches there and check it out!

Matrix/DNA: Os organismos ‘acendem” suas luzes tambem quando alguma coisa lhes causa perturbacao – ou no ambiente ao redor. As teorias prevalescentes atuais – como revela o texto abaiso – sugerem que isto e’ uma reacao de defesa para desviar o predador. Entao se pergunta se nao seria o contrario, pois seria melhor manter-se escondido no escuro. Sugerem que a luz funciona como o flash rapido do farol de um carro que nos cega a vista. Para a Matrix/DNA isto nao explica. O acendimento seria uma reacao automatica `a perturbacao do equilibrio no ambiente. Entao devo pesquisar na formula da Matrix qual seria o efeito de uma perturbacao num sistema. para adiantar me lembro que quando acordamos acendemos a luz para ver e quando vamos dormir apagamos a luz. Parece entao que o acendimento resulta de uma acao automatica que se segue quando o organismo “acorda” devido alguma perturbacao. vejamos o texto abaixo:

As far as I understand, most of the deep sea luminous organisms “light up” when they are disturbed. Does not this make them more vulnerable to attack? I once read something about the angler fish, which used a luminescent fishing rod to lure its prey into its mouth? 

You’re right — it seems like it’s not a good idea to be making light, because it will attract predators. In general the roles of luminescence in many of these organisms are not completely understood!

However, it is generally believed that glowing attracts, while sudden flashes repel.

Some bioluminescence is used for counterillumination — obliterating your shadow by replacing the light you block out.

Other theories involve revealing organisms which have eaten you (or part of you) by glowing in their gut, warning coloration indicating the ability to sting, and in some cases, glowing smoke-screens to hide your escape.

Dinoflagellates in particular have been shown to use the lights as a burglar alarm, attracting secondary predators to eat animals that are trying to eat them!

We’re convinced that it must be doing them SOME good, because marine animals devote so much attention to it…