AAT Bioquest

What are the examples of bioluminescence?

Posted January 12, 2023


The majority of organisms that produce bioluminescence are organisms found in the ocean such as jellyfish, squid, anglerfish, and bacteria. Jellyfish use bioluminescence as a defense mechanism against predators. The GFP protein is isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, and is used for fluorescent markers for gene expression and protein localization. There are also some bioluminescent organisms found on land such as fireflies and fungi. Fireflies produce light through special organs in their abdomens by combining luciferin, luciferase, oxygen and ATP. They use their flashing lights to attract potential mates. Firefly squid emit blue lights from photophores and has been suggested that it is used for camouflage, communication, or attracting food. Bioluminescent bacteria occur mainly in sea water and marine sediments. Some studies have shown that these bacteria play a role in the resistance of oxidative stress. Bioluminescence is a cold light, and less than 20% of the light generates heat. There are also very few bioluminescent organisms that are native in freshwater environments.  

Additional resources

A brief review of bioluminescent systems (2019)


Amplite® Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay Kit *Bright Glow*

PhosphoWorks™ Luminometric ATP Assay Kit *Bright Glow*