Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 9–16 | Cite as

Low oxygen is optimal for luciferase synthesis in some bacteria

Ecological implications
  • Kenneth H. Nealson
  • J. Woodland Hastings


The synthesis of the bioluminescent systems in many strains of two species of the genus Photobacterium which were isolated as symbionts is greater at low oxygen concentrations, where aerobic growth is blocked. In strains of two other species, one Photobacterium of symbiotic orgin, and one (genus Beneckea) whose luminous members are not known to be involved in symbiotic associations, a different response is observed. At low oxygen concentrations, where there is an inhibition of growth, there is also a similar decrease in the synthesis, of the luminescent system. These species-specific differences may indicate important ecological differences along with distinctive differences in the molecular control mechanisms involved in the synthesis of luciferase.

Key words

Oxygen Bioluminescence Induction Bacterial symbiosis Fish luminescence Luminous bacteria Photobacterium Beneckea 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth H. Nealson
    • 1
  • J. Woodland Hastings
    • 2
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.The Biological LaboratoriesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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