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Biol Bull. 1976 Dec;151(3):574-86.

Symbiotic association of Photobacterium fischeri with the marine luminous fish Monocentris japonica; a model of symbiosis based on bacterial studies.


Isolation of bacteria from the luminous organ of the fish Monocentris japonica has revealed that the organ contains a pure culture of luminous bacteria. For the four fish examined, all contained Photobacterium fischeri as their luminous bacterial symbiont. This is the first time that P. fischeri has been identified in a symbiotic association. A representative isolate (MJl) of the light organ population was selected for in vivo studies of its luminous system. Several physiological features suggest adaptation for symbiotic existence. First, MJl has been shown to produce and respond to an inducer of luciferase that could accumulate in the light organ. Secondly, the specific activity of light production was seen to be maximal under low, growth-limiting concentrations of oxygen. Thirdly, unlike another luminous species (Beneckea harveyi), synthesis of the light production system of these bacteria is not catabolite repressed by glucose--a possible source of nutrition in the light organ. Fourthly, when grown aerobically on glucose these bacteria excrete pyruvic acid into the medium. This production of pyruvate is a major process, accounting for 30-40% of the glucose utilized and may serve as a form of regulatory and nutritional communication with the host.

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