Temporal Control of Lux Gene Expression in the Symbiosis between Vibrio Fischeri and Its Squid Host

  • Karen L. Visick
  • Edward G. Ruby


A long-standing question in the study of luminous bacterial symbionts has been: What is the importance of light-emission to the bacteria? We have used the symbiosis between Vibrio fischeri and the Hawaiian sepiolid squid Euprymna scolopes as a model system (McFall-Ngai & Ruby, 1991; Ruby, 1996) with which to discover the answer to this question. Within hours of hatching, juvenile squids become inoculated by a few cells of V. fischeri present in the ambient seawater (Ruby & Asato, 1993). These bacteria rapidly colonize the epithelium-lined crypts of the nascent light-emitting organ, attaining a population size of about one million cells. Their light emission is used by the host in its nocturnal behavior (McFall-Ngai, 1997), and evidence is accumulating that suggests that the host regulates the bacterial luminescence on multiple levels (Boetttcher & Ruby, 1995; Boettcher et al., 1996).


Light Organ Homoserine Lactone Ambient Seawater Lacl0 Repressor Aldehyde Substrate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen L. Visick
    • 1
  • Edward G. Ruby
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Biomedical Research CenterUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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