Lab Report # 1 - Bioluminescence in Bacteria Cecile Nguyen...

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Bioluminescence in Bacteria Cecile Nguyen Spring 2008 Group # 2 Lab Partner: Sofia Ahmad TA: Niclas Section: MW 2:00pm-5:50pm
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Abstract Bioluminescence is a rare sight to see and something most people don’t have the chance to observe or study. Therefore, conducting an experiment to study the genes that express bioluminescence will open eyes to this exciting phenomenon. By creating a genomic library of these luminescent genes and cloning them successfuly, the glowing light can be reproduced in front of your very own eyes. Introduction Sometimes at night one can see little specks of green light glowing in the water. One of the first scientists to document observations of glowing organisms in the water was Anaximenes in the year 500 B.C. He noticed that as he continuously rowed his boat, a strange light was being emitted when his oar broke into the water (2). Vibrio fischeri belongs to the Vibrionaceae, a large family of marine γ- proteobacteria that includes several dozen species (4). It is a bioluminescent bacteria and is best known as the symbiont in certain species of squids and fishes. Bioluminescence refers to the production of light by living organisms and results from the oxidation of luciferins by an enzyme known as luciferase. The bioluminescent reactions they exhibit can be expressed by: FMNH 2 + RCHO + O 2 → FMN + H 2 O + RCOOH + light A NADH-reduced riboflavin phosphate (FMNH 2 ), and a long chain fatty acid aldehyde, is oxidized in the presence of oxygen and the enzyme. The lux operon associated with the reaction includes the group of genes encoding the enzymes that catalyze the light- emitting step (luciferases) and the substrates like FMNH 2 +RCHO, which are luciferins. These symbiotic relationships allow V. fischeri to grow to high densities in a nutrient-rich environment, and in turn, the bacteria provide light to these sea creatures for various behavioral activities such as feeding, mating, and counter illumination (2).
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Bioluminescence has different functions in different organisms. In hatchet fish and deep- water shrimp, the luminescence acts as a counter illumination and allows the animals to be camouflaged. The squid’s, E. scolopes , self-emitting light helps the squid evade prey. In return, the squid provides a shelter for the bacteria with a stable source of nutrients. Another example is deep-sea anglers who live as protective hosts to light producing bacteria. They use the light to attract prey and communicate within their species. The deep-sea anglers use the Lure Effect, in which the bacteria live on what can be described as a special "fishing rod" that hangs over the forehead and stirs in the water. Small fish eventually swim toward the light and become food for the sea anglers. Also since deep- sea anglers live in oceanic depths of 300 to 4,000 meters, bioluminescent bacteria also allow sea anglers to display mating signals to increase their attraction to potential mates. However, too much light also lures predators. (1)
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Lab Report # 1 - Bioluminescence in Bacteria Cecile Nguyen...

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