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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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Position of fluorescent chromatophores in situ.Histological cross-section of first dorsal fin of E. pellucida (fluorescence microscopy): M = Melanophore, F = Fluorescent Chromatophore, FR = Fin Ray, H = Hypodermis, SP = Stratum spongiosum. Scale bar  = 500 µm.
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pone-0037913-g002: Position of fluorescent chromatophores in situ.Histological cross-section of first dorsal fin of E. pellucida (fluorescence microscopy): M = Melanophore, F = Fluorescent Chromatophore, FR = Fin Ray, H = Hypodermis, SP = Stratum spongiosum. Scale bar  = 500 µm.

Mentions: Histological sections show that fluorescent cells are present exclusively below the epidermis between mineralized fin rays together with other chromatophores (Figure 2). These cells are on average 85 µm in diameter (±16.8 µm SD, n = 12) and their intracellular fluorosomes measure 1.3 µm (±0.2 µm SD, n = 10). Spectrometric measurements show that the red coloration produced by these cells is pure fluorescence with no reflectance. Optimal excitation occurs at around 500 nm, whereas most red light is emitted at 595 nm (Figure 3). Figure 4 shows red erythrophores and melanophores in bright field microscopy. The fluorescent cells are almost invisible under these conditions. In fluorescence microscopy, however, they appear, but spatially separated from other chromatophores.


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

Wucherer MF, Michiels NK - PLoS ONE (2012)

Position of fluorescent chromatophores in situ.Histological cross-section of first dorsal fin of E. pellucida (fluorescence microscopy): M = Melanophore, F = Fluorescent Chromatophore, FR = Fin Ray, H = Hypodermis, SP = Stratum spongiosum. Scale bar  = 500 µm.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0037913-g002: Position of fluorescent chromatophores in situ.Histological cross-section of first dorsal fin of E. pellucida (fluorescence microscopy): M = Melanophore, F = Fluorescent Chromatophore, FR = Fin Ray, H = Hypodermis, SP = Stratum spongiosum. Scale bar  = 500 µm.
Mentions: Histological sections show that fluorescent cells are present exclusively below the epidermis between mineralized fin rays together with other chromatophores (Figure 2). These cells are on average 85 µm in diameter (±16.8 µm SD, n = 12) and their intracellular fluorosomes measure 1.3 µm (±0.2 µm SD, n = 10). Spectrometric measurements show that the red coloration produced by these cells is pure fluorescence with no reflectance. Optimal excitation occurs at around 500 nm, whereas most red light is emitted at 595 nm (Figure 3). Figure 4 shows red erythrophores and melanophores in bright field microscopy. The fluorescent cells are almost invisible under these conditions. In fluorescence microscopy, however, they appear, but spatially separated from other chromatophores.

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