The terrestrial nematode, Heterorhabitis bacteriophora contains symbiotic terrestrial bacteria which emit low but detectable luminescence in the symbiotic state. When the nematode is ingested by caterpillar larvae (or other insects), the bacteria are released into t he hemocoel, where they grow rapidly (doubling time of 3 h or less), reach high cell numbers (109 ml-1 greater), and are brightly luminous. The enzyme that catalyzes light emission is a typical bacterial luciferase as judged by its substrate requirements and the kinetics in vitro. Bacteria grown in synthetic media emit luminescence that is nearly identical in color with that of other luminescent bacteria, while the color of light from infected caterpillar is substantially red-shifted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science