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How do brittle stars control their light emission?
Vanderlinden, C.; Mallefet, J.; Gailly, P. (2010). How do brittle stars control their light emission?, in: Harris, L.G. et al. Echinoderms: Durham - Proceedings of the 12th international echinoderm conference, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 7-11 August, 2006. pp. 419-422
In: Harris, L.G. et al. (2010). Echinoderms: Durham - Proceedings of the 12th international echinoderm conference, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 7-11 August, 2006. CRC Press: [s.l.]. ISBN 978-0-415-40819-6. I–XXXVI pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1201/9780203869543-f, more

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Document type: Conference paper

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Vanderlinden, C., more
  • Mallefet, J., more
  • Gailly, P.

Abstract
    A diversity of organisms are endowed with the ability to emit light; this phenomenon is called bioluminescence and occurs mainly in marine organisms. Among echinoderms, some brittle star species (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea) do possess this amazing capability of light production and are used as a study model in our laboratory. The investigation of nervous control pathways of bioluminescence in brittle stars reveals a huge diversity of mechanisms at all levels. For instance, neurotransmitters involved differ between species (acetylcholine, adrenaline, tryptamine, octopamine, GABA). At the intracellular level, second messenger pathways are also different according to the species. The common feature between all tested species is the Ca(++) dependence of light emission and a pharmacological survey on ionic channels highlighted the presence of Ca(++) dependent K(+) channels. Moreover, it has recently been suggested that bioluminescence control might be indirect in 3 brittle stars species. Indeed, both pharmacology and electrophysiology suggest an indirect nervous control of bioluminescence at the photocyte (= luminous cell) level of the 3 studied species: Amphiura filiformis, Ophiopsila aranea and Ophiopsila californica.

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