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Evidence for Tetradecanal as the Natural Aldehyde in Bacterial Bioluminescence

S. Ulitzur and J. W. Hastings
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 76, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 265-267
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/69475
Page Count: 3
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Evidence for Tetradecanal as the Natural Aldehyde in Bacterial Bioluminescence
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Abstract

Dim aldehyde mutants of the luminous bacterium Beneckea harveyi emit light with exogenously added long-chain aliphatic aldehyde. In one class of these mutants, luminescence is also stimulated by myristic (tetradecanoic) acid. In such mutants the amount of light obtained by the addition of a small (limiting) amount of either tetradecanal or myristic acid may be increased 60-fold by cyanide and other agents that block respiration. This indicates that the fatty acid product of the luminescent reaction is recycled. The effect, like the stimulation by exogenous fatty acid, exhibits specificity for the 14-carbon compound, suggesting that tetradecanal is the natural aldehyde. In those aldehyde mutants that are not stimulated to emit light by fatty acids, and thus presumably lack the recycling system, the chain-length-specific stimulation by cyanide does not occur.

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