Nav: Home

Illuminating the secret of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

April 26, 2017

Illuminating the Secret of Glow-in-the-Dark Mushrooms: Scientists now understand what makes bioluminescent mushrooms glow, which may pave the way to new possibilities for harnessing fungal bioluminescence in analytical and imaging technologies. Bioluminescence is a highly conserved phenomenon that exists in a wide range of organisms; there are roughly 80 different known species of bioluminescent fungi alone scattered across the globe. In most cases, light emission from living organisms occurs when a molecule called luciferin and its enzyme partner, luciferase, mix together with energy and atmospheric oxygen, triggering a chemical reaction that produces a very "excited" oxyluciferin, which releases light energy in order to "calm down" to its ground state. The luciferin-luciferase pathway has been well-characterized in bioluminescent insects, bacteria and some marine animals -- but not in fungi. Here, Zinaida Kaskova and her team were able to elucidate the molecular components involved in the fungal luciferin-luciferase pathway, leading to the discovery of the fungal equivalent of oxyluciferin by analyzing extracts of Neonothopanus gardneri (a fluorescent mushroom native to Brazil), and Neonothopanus nambi (a poisonous mushroom found in the rainforests of southern Vietnam). The authors suggest that fungal luciferase may be "promiscuous," potentially able to interact with multiple derivatives of fungal luciferin, leading to changes in intensity and color of emission.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Fungi Articles:

Producing leather-like materials from fungi
Leather is used as a durable and flexible material in many aspects of everyday life including furniture and clothing.
Breaking down wood decomposition by fungi
Through a combination of lab and field experiments, researchers have developed a better understanding of the factors accounting for different wood decomposition rates among fungi.
Impulse for research on fungi
For the first time, the cells of fungi can also be analysed using a relatively simple microscopic method.
Fungi as food source for plants
The number of plant species that extract organic nutrients from fungi could be much higher than previously assumed.
Bark beetles control pathogenic fungi
Pathogens can drive the evolution of social behaviour in insects.
Using fungi to search for medical drugs
An enormous library of products derived from more than 10,000 fungi could help us find new drugs.
Plants and fungi together could slow climate change
A new global assessment shows that human impacts have greatly reduced plant-fungus symbioses, which play a key role in sequestering carbon in soils.
Make fungi think they're starving to stop them having sex, say scientists
Tricking fungi into thinking they're starving could be the key to slowing down our evolutionary arms race with fungal pathogens, as hungry fungi don't want to have sex.
How plants react to fungi
Using special receptors, plants recognize when they are at risk of fungal infection.
Clostridium difficile infections may have a friend in fungi
The pathogen Clostridium difficile, which causes one of the most common hospital-acquired infections in the United States, may have accomplices that until now have gone largely unnoticed.
More Fungi News and Fungi Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.