Researchers describe a new fireworm bioluminescence system

A collaborative effort by an international team of scientists has led to to the discovery of a new luciferin from fireworm. The characterization of three key low-molecular-weight components of its bioluminescence system, ...

Bioluminescent substance discovered in Brazilian cave worm larva

An insect larva found in the caves of Intervales State Park, an Atlantic Rainforest remnant in the municipality of Ribeirão Grande, São Paulo State, Brazil, was initially of no interest to the research group led by biochemist ...

A step ahead in pharmaceutical research

Hormones and other neurotransmitters, but also drugs, act upon receptors. "Their active substances bind to the receptors and modify the three-dimensional receptor arrangement regulating the downstream signal pathways," says ...

Light receptors determine the behaviour of flashlight fish

Biologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum characterized new, unknown photoreceptors from the bioluminescent flashlight fish Anomalops katoptron. The photoreceptors known as opsins allow the fish to detect light with a specific ...

Future cities could be lit by algae

The way we produce light has changed surprisingly little since Thomas Edison developed the first light bulb in 1879.

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Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Its name is a hybrid word, originating from the Greek bios for "living" and the Latin lumen "light". Bioluminescence is a naturally occurring form of chemiluminescence where energy is released by a chemical reaction in the form of light emission. Fireflies, anglerfish, and other creatures produce the chemicals luciferin (a pigment) and luciferase (an enzyme). The luciferin reacts with oxygen to create light. The luciferase acts as a catalyst to speed up the reaction, which is sometimes mediated by cofactors such as calcium ions or ATP. The chemical reaction can occur either inside or outside the cell. In bacteria, the expression of genes related to bioluminescence is controlled by an operon called the Lux operon.

Bioluminescence occurs in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as microorganisms and terrestrial animals. Symbiotic organisms carried within larger organisms are also known to bioluminesce.

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