Send to

Choose Destination
J Morphol. 2006 May;267(5):555-68.

Confocal microscopy of the light organ crypts in juvenile Euprymna scolopes reveals their morphological complexity and dynamic function in symbiosis.

Author information

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


In the hours to days following hatching, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, obtains its light-emitting symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, from the surrounding environment and propagates the bacteria in the epithelial crypts of a specialized light organ. Three-dimensional analyses using confocal microscopy revealed that each of the three crypts on either side of the juvenile light organ is composed of four morphological regions. Progressing from the lateral pore to the medial blind end of each crypt, the regions consist of 1) a duct, 2) an antechamber, 3) a bottleneck, and 4) a deep region. Only the deep region houses a persistent bacterial population, whereas the duct, antechamber, and bottleneck serve as conduits through which the bacteria enter during initial colonization and exit during diel venting, a behavior in which approximately 90% of the symbionts are expelled each dawn. Our data suggest that, like the duct, the antechamber and bottleneck may function to promote and maintain the specificity of the symbiosis. Pronounced structural and functional differences among the deep regions of the three crypts, along with previously reported characterizations of embryogenesis, suggest a continued developmental progression in the first few days after hatching. Taken together, the results of this study reveal a high degree of complexity in the morphology of the crypts, as well as in the extent to which the three crypts and their constituent regions differ in function during the early stages of the symbiosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center