For most people, bioluminescence is represented by the flash of the firefly or the “phosphorescence” that occurs on agitating the surface of ocean water. Indeed, because of the abundance of material, the firefly’s bioluminescence reaction has received an intensive study with the result that this system is the archetype of the variety of enzymatic processes that produce light in many bioluminescent organisms, ranging from marine bacteria to large luminous beetles from South America. What is usually understood by the term bioluminescence is a cold light emission of high efficiency, which is used by the organism for some survival purpose, although in many cases the purpose may still be conjectural. Also, a growing number of biological reactions have been found to emit light at a very low level, and this low level emission is called “biological chemiluminescence.” This, and the fact that bioluminescence is so widespread among many phyla (although rarely do many members of a phylum possess this property) has led to the suggestion that the ability to produce light arose very early in biochemical evolution, and that the efficient light-production ability was a secondary adaptation of biological chemiluminescence, which enabled the organism to compete more effectively within its biological niche.
KeywordsGreen Fluorescent Protein Chemiluminescence Reaction Luminous Bacterium Photobacterium Phosphoreum Bioluminescence Reaction
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.M. J. Cormier, D. M. Hercules, and J. Lee (eds.), Chemiluminescence and Bioluminescence ,Plenum Press, New York (1973).Google Scholar
- 4.F. H. Johnson and Y. Haneda (eds.), Bioluminescence in Progress ,Princeton University Press, Princeton. N.J. (1965).Google Scholar
- 7.M. J. Cormier, K. Hori, and J. M. Anderson, Bioluminescence in coelenterates, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 346, 137–164 (1974).Google Scholar
- 9.A. M. Michelson and M. F. Isambert, Bioluminescence. XI. Pholas dactylus system. Mechanism of luciferase, Biochemie 55, 618–634 (1973).Google Scholar
- 11.G. M. Barenboim, A. N. Domanskii, and K. K. Turoverov, Luminescence of Biopolymers and Cells (translated from Russian), Plenum Press, New York (1969).Google Scholar
- 14.H. H. Seliger and W. D. McElroy, Light: Physical and Biological Action ,Academic Press, New York (1965).Google Scholar
- 17.E. N. Harvey, Bioluminescence ,Academic Press, New York (1952).Google Scholar
- 18.P. E. Stanley, Analytical bioluminescence assays using the liquid scintillation spectrometer. A review, Liquid Scintillation Counting (M. A. Crook and P. Johnson, eds.), Vol. 3, pp. 253–271, Heyden, London (1974).Google Scholar
- 22.J. R. Blinks, F. G. Prendergast, and D. G. Allen, Photoproteins as biological calcium indicators, Pharmacol. Rev. 28, 1–93 (1976).Google Scholar