Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 73–79 | Cite as

Autoinduction of bacterial luciferase

Occurrence, mechanism and significance
  • Kenneth H. Nealson


The synthesis of the luminous system of the marine luminous bacterium Photobacterium fischeri is subject to a complex, self-regulated control system called autoinduction. The bacteria produce an autoinducer which accumulates in the medium at a constant rate (as a function of cell growth). When autoinducer reaches a critical concentration it stimulates, at the level of transcription, the synthesis of the luminous system. Autoinduction is thus viewed as an environmental sensing mechanism, which curtails the synthesis of the luminous system under dilute conditions. For several isolates of P. fischeri it was found that variations in luminescence intensity could be accounted for by correlated variations in autoinducer production.

Key words

Induction Bioluminescence Luciferase Luminous bacteria Photobacterium 


SSS and LM

are media (see text for details)


light unit


ethylene-diaminetetracetic acid


reduced flavin mononucleotide


optical density


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth H. Nealson
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

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