1887

Abstract

Although the genetics and biochemistry of bacterial luminescence have been investigated extensively, the biological role of this phenomenon remains unclear. Here it is shown that , and mutants (unable to emit light) of the marine bacterium are significantly more sensitive to UV irradiation when cultivated in the dark after irradiation than when cultivated under a white fluorescent lamp. This difference was much less pronounced in the wild-type (luminescent) strain. Survival of UV-irradiated wild-type cells depended on subsequent cultivation conditions (in the dark or in the presence of external light). However, after UV irradiation, the percentage of surviving cells that bear genes responsible for luminescence was significantly higher than that of non-luminescent , irrespective of the subsequent cultivation conditions. Moreover, it is demonstrated that luminescence of can be stimulated by UV irradiation even in diluted cultures, under conditions when light emission by these bacteria is normally impaired due to quorum sensing regulation. It is proposed that luminescent bacteria have an internal source of light which could be used in DNA repair by a photoreactivation process. Therefore, production of internal light ensuring effective DNA repair seems to be at least one of the biological functions of bacterial luminescence.

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2000-02-01
2020-09-26
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