Kleptoprotein Bioluminescence: The origin of the luciferase of luminous fish Parapriacanthus ransonneti


Friday, January 18, 2019 - 15:00


Center bldg. C210


Dr. Manabu Bessho 
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

The Golden sweeper Parapriacanthus ransonneti is a shallow water fish that lives in Indo-Western Pacific coasts. It has two types of light organs projecting from the digestive tract at the ventral side of the body. This fish uses luciferin ‘vargulin’ obtained from the luminous crustacean Vargula hilgendorfii prey as a substrate for its bioluminescence. More than 200 genra of fishes are knwon as bioluminescent but no fish luciferase gene have been reported to date. Here we report a luciferase from fish for the first time. We purified the enzyme responsible for the luminescence by vargulin and identified the luciferase by mass spectrometry. The luciferase was detected only in the light organs by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, which corresponding to the tissue specificity of luciferase activity. Based on the sequence, we further sought the evolutionaly origin of P. ransonneti luciferase.

Dr. Manabu Bessho-Uehara is a Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Steven Haddock at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). He worked for 10 years on “bioluminescence”, a light from a living organism, from aspects of biochemistry, molecular biology, genome, and transcriptome in order to uncover the evolution of the bioluminescence. Dr. Bessho did his Ph.D. in Bioagricultural Sciences from Nagoya University (Japan) into the characterization of luciferase in fireflies -an enzyme for light emission- description of its isoforms and uncovered its evolution by analyzing the genomes. In addition to his work on finding of a luciferase from shallow water luminous fish, Dr. Bessho is currently working on important questions in deep-sea bioluminescence at MBARI.


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