Nitric Oxide and the Control of Firefly Flashing

  title={Nitric Oxide and the Control of Firefly Flashing},
  author={Barry Andrew Trimmer and June R. Aprille and David M. Dudzinski and Christopher J. Lagace and Sara M. Lewis and Thomas Michel and Sanjive Qazi and Ricardo M. Zayas},
  pages={2486 - 2488}
Bioluminescent flashing is essential for firefly reproduction, yet the specific molecular mechanisms that control light production are not well understood. We report that light production by fireflies can be stimulated by nitric oxide (NO) gas in the presence of oxygen and that NO scavengers block bioluminescence induced by the neurotransmitter octopamine. NO synthase is robustly expressed in the firefly lantern in cells interposed between nerve endings and the light-producing photocytes. These… 

Role of Nitric Oxide and Mitochondria in Control of Firefly Flash1

Results support the idea that NO triggers light production by reversible inhibition of mitochondrial respiration in lantern cells, and probably in tracheolar cells as well, and suggest that the light of bioluminescence itself relieves NO inhibition thus contributing to rapid on/off switching.

Fireflies at One Hundred Plus: A New Look at Flash Control1

It is suggested that it is hydrogen peroxide that triggers the flash of fireflies, and a model by which this may take place is presented.

Expression of the nos gene and firefly flashing: A test of the nitric-oxide-mediated flash control model

The data do not support the model of an NO-mediated flash control mechanism, but high nos expression in the larval lantern suggests that NO may play a role in producing continuous light by functioning as a neurotransmitter signal for bioluminescence.

Missing link in firefly bioluminescence revealed: NO regulation of photocyte respiration.

  • Michael D Greenfield
  • Biology
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 2001
A recent paper by a consortium of cell and evolutionary biologists reports that nitric oxide, manufactured and released in response to neuronal discharge, is the missing link by which neural action in the firefly lantern yields a sudden flash of light.

Bioluminescence emission of the firefly

We have recorded _in vivo_ emission and time-resolved spectra of the firefly species _Pyrophorus noctilucus_. The emission spectrum shows the FWHM value for this particular species to be 55 nm, which

Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the Japanese fireflies Luciola lateralis and Luciola cruciata.

The cDNA sequences of NOS were determined in the Japanese fireflies Luciola lateralis and L. cruciata and the phylogenetic relationship of insect NOS was different from that of the general classification system, although the lineages corresponded to the major recognized taxonomic groups.

Temperature dependence of the flash duration of the firefly Luciola praeusta.

Recording in vivo time-resolved spectra of specimens of this species of firefly over the temperature range 20 °C-40 °C, it is observed that the flash duration changes with the change in temperature, and the change is substantially linear.

Nitric oxide in the control of luminescence from lantern shark (Etmopterus spinax) photophores

No synthase (NOS)-like immunoreactivity (IR) was found in the photocytes (photogenic cells) of the photophores and acetylated tubulin IR also supported the presence of nerves running through the photogenic tissue and innervating different structural elements of thephotophores.

Modulations in the light of the firefly

The amplitude of the continuous train of triangular pulses is apparently altered in accordance with the instantaneous values of a hypothetical signal, which exhibits pulse amplitude modulation (PAM), and this scheme apparently provides sampling in time, representing pulse width modulation ( PWM).

In vivo bioluminescence emissions of the firefly Luciola praeusta at low temperatures.




Octopamine receptors, adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate, and neural control of firefly flashing.

An adenylate cyclase activated as much as 25-fold by low concentrations of octopamine has been identified in the firefly lantern, suggesting a role for adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (or pyrophosphate) in the neural control of firefly flashing.

Neurons involved in nitric oxide–mediated cGMP signaling in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta

To begin examining the role of NO as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system of larval Manduca, potential NO‐producing neurons are mapped using fixation‐resistant NADPH‐diaphorase staining and antisera that recognize a NOS‐specific epitope.

On the mechanism by which vascular endothelial cells regulate their oxygen consumption.

It is shown that NO generated by vascular endothelial cells under basal and stimulated conditions modulates the respiration of these cells in response to acute changes in oxygen concentration, and plays a physiological role in adjusting the capacity of this enzyme to use oxygen.


The organization of the luminescent organ of an adult firefly has been studied with the electron microscope, and particular attention has been given to the disposition of nerve terminals within the

Ca2+/Calmodulin‐dependent Nitric Oxide Synthase in Apis mellifera and Drosophila melanogaster

  • U. Müller
  • Biology
    The European journal of neuroscience
  • 1994
The co‐purification and the competitive inhibition of NOS by the NADPHd substrate, nitro blue tetrazolium (NBT), are proof that in insects the enzyme responsible for fixation‐insensitive NAD PHd activity is nitric oxide synthase.

Nitric oxide and mitochondrial respiration.

  • G. Brown
  • Biology
    Biochimica et biophysica acta
  • 1999