Cellular control of the synthesis and activity of the bacterial luminescent system

J Bacteriol. 1970 Oct;104(1):313-22. doi: 10.1128/jb.104.1.313-322.1970.


In bioluminescent bacteria growing in shake flasks, the enzyme luciferase has been shown to be synthesized in a relatively short burst during the period of exponential growth. The luciferase gene appears to be completely inactive in a freshly inoculated culture; the pulse of preferential luciferase synthesis which occurs later is the consequence of its activation at the level of deoxyribonucleic acid transcription which is attributed to an effect of a "conditioning" of the medium by the growing of cells. Although cells grown in a minimal medium also exhibit a similar burst of synthesis of the luminescent system, the amount of synthesis is quantitatively less, relative to cell mass. Under such conditions, added arginine results in a striking stimulation of bioluminescence. This is attributed to a stimulation of existing patterns of synthesis and not to induction or derepression per se.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Arginine / pharmacology
  • Chloramphenicol / pharmacology
  • Culture Media
  • Cyanides / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Light
  • Luciferases / biosynthesis*
  • Luminescent Measurements*
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Photobacterium / drug effects
  • Photobacterium / enzymology
  • Photobacterium / growth & development
  • Photobacterium / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Rifampin / pharmacology


  • Aldehydes
  • Culture Media
  • Cyanides
  • Mutagens
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Arginine
  • Luciferases
  • Rifampin