In order to discover the intracellular location of luciferase in dinoflagellates, sections from a number of species were treated with a polyclonal anti-luciferase and the bound antibody was visualized at the electron-microscope level by indirect immunogold labelling. In two species of Pyrocystis and in Noctiluca, as in Gonyaulax, antibody became bound to dense vesicles, which correspond in size and position to light-emitting bodies detected in previous work. These vesicles resemble microsomes, are bounded by a single membrane and sometimes project into the vacuole. Unexpectedly, the trichocysts of Gonyaulax and Noctiluca and the related mucocysts of Pyrocystis also bound the antibody. This cross-reaction seems quite independent of bioluminescence, since the trichocysts of the non-luminous Cachonina also reacted positively. The possibility is discussed that a protein, different from luciferase but having some antigenic similarity, is present in trichocysts and related organelles.

This content is only available via PDF.