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A fluorescent chromatophore changes the level of fluorescence in a reef fish.

Wucherer MF, Michiels NK - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: These cells have a dendritic shape and contain motile fluorescent particles.Its nervous control supports suggestions that fluorescence could act as a context-dependent signal in some marine fish species and encourages further research in this field.The fluorescent substance is stable under different chemical conditions and shows no discernible bleaching under strong, constant illumination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Evolutionary Ecology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. matthias.wucherer@uni-tuebingen.de

ABSTRACT
Body coloration plays a major role in fish ecology and is predominantly generated using two principles: a) absorbance combined with reflection of the incoming light in pigment colors and b) scatter, refraction, diffraction and interference in structural colors. Poikilotherms, and especially fishes possess several cell types, so-called chromatophores, which employ either of these principles. Together, they generate the dynamic, multi-color patterns used in communication and camouflage. Several chromatophore types possess motile organelles, which enable rapid changes in coloration. Recently, we described red fluorescence in a number of marine fish and argued that it may be used for private communication in an environment devoid of red. Here, we describe the discovery of a chromatophore in fishes that regulates the distribution of fluorescent pigments in parts of the skin. These cells have a dendritic shape and contain motile fluorescent particles. We show experimentally that the fluorescent particles can be aggregated or dispersed through hormonal and nervous control. This is the first description of a stable and natural cytoskeleton-related fluorescence control mechanism in vertebrate cells. Its nervous control supports suggestions that fluorescence could act as a context-dependent signal in some marine fish species and encourages further research in this field. The fluorescent substance is stable under different chemical conditions and shows no discernible bleaching under strong, constant illumination.

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Morphology of a fluorescent chromatophore.Confocal Laser scanning microscopy, excitation 510 nm. Fluorosomes are the only visible structures within the fluorescent cell, but in the dispersed state they show the cell outline as they fill the cytoplasm entirely. Scale bar  = 30 µm.
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pone-0037913-g001: Morphology of a fluorescent chromatophore.Confocal Laser scanning microscopy, excitation 510 nm. Fluorosomes are the only visible structures within the fluorescent cell, but in the dispersed state they show the cell outline as they fill the cytoplasm entirely. Scale bar  = 30 µm.

Mentions: A strong indicator that such red fluorescence could be used as a signal would be the observation of active color modulation as shown by chromatophores [8]. Here, we describe the discovery of a chromatophore with motile fluorescent organelles in the skin of the pygmy coral reef goby Eviota pellucida (Larson 1976). This species shows red fluorescence mainly in two lateral stripes, the eye rings and all but the pectoral fins [23]. Fluorescent cells are mainly located in the interradial membranes of the fins and are invisible under brightfield and darkfield light microscopy. Their shape is dendritic and flat in the plane of the interradial membrane (Figure 1).


A fluorescent chromatophore changes the level of fluorescence in a reef fish.

Wucherer MF, Michiels NK - PLoS ONE (2012)

Morphology of a fluorescent chromatophore.Confocal Laser scanning microscopy, excitation 510 nm. Fluorosomes are the only visible structures within the fluorescent cell, but in the dispersed state they show the cell outline as they fill the cytoplasm entirely. Scale bar  = 30 µm.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3368913&req=5

pone-0037913-g001: Morphology of a fluorescent chromatophore.Confocal Laser scanning microscopy, excitation 510 nm. Fluorosomes are the only visible structures within the fluorescent cell, but in the dispersed state they show the cell outline as they fill the cytoplasm entirely. Scale bar  = 30 µm.
Mentions: A strong indicator that such red fluorescence could be used as a signal would be the observation of active color modulation as shown by chromatophores [8]. Here, we describe the discovery of a chromatophore with motile fluorescent organelles in the skin of the pygmy coral reef goby Eviota pellucida (Larson 1976). This species shows red fluorescence mainly in two lateral stripes, the eye rings and all but the pectoral fins [23]. Fluorescent cells are mainly located in the interradial membranes of the fins and are invisible under brightfield and darkfield light microscopy. Their shape is dendritic and flat in the plane of the interradial membrane (Figure 1).

Bottom Line: These cells have a dendritic shape and contain motile fluorescent particles.Its nervous control supports suggestions that fluorescence could act as a context-dependent signal in some marine fish species and encourages further research in this field.The fluorescent substance is stable under different chemical conditions and shows no discernible bleaching under strong, constant illumination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Evolutionary Ecology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. matthias.wucherer@uni-tuebingen.de

ABSTRACT
Body coloration plays a major role in fish ecology and is predominantly generated using two principles: a) absorbance combined with reflection of the incoming light in pigment colors and b) scatter, refraction, diffraction and interference in structural colors. Poikilotherms, and especially fishes possess several cell types, so-called chromatophores, which employ either of these principles. Together, they generate the dynamic, multi-color patterns used in communication and camouflage. Several chromatophore types possess motile organelles, which enable rapid changes in coloration. Recently, we described red fluorescence in a number of marine fish and argued that it may be used for private communication in an environment devoid of red. Here, we describe the discovery of a chromatophore in fishes that regulates the distribution of fluorescent pigments in parts of the skin. These cells have a dendritic shape and contain motile fluorescent particles. We show experimentally that the fluorescent particles can be aggregated or dispersed through hormonal and nervous control. This is the first description of a stable and natural cytoskeleton-related fluorescence control mechanism in vertebrate cells. Its nervous control supports suggestions that fluorescence could act as a context-dependent signal in some marine fish species and encourages further research in this field. The fluorescent substance is stable under different chemical conditions and shows no discernible bleaching under strong, constant illumination.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus