Bacterial origin of luminescence in marine animals

Science. 1980 Jun 13;208(4449):1271-3. doi: 10.1126/science.208.4449.1271.


Bacterial luciferase activity was detected in light organ extracts of squids, fishes, and pyrosomes, suggesting that these systems are derived from bacteria-animal symbioses. In none of these cases was it possible to culture luminouis bacteria. Analyses of the decay kinetics show that the luciferases from the squid, ceratioid, and pyrosome light organs are all similar to bacterial luciferases from the genus Photobacterium, while those from the anomalopid light organs are different.