Fluorescent proteins in some corals may play a role in the host stress response by acting as antioxidants.

“When a coral is broken or wounded, it releases highly reactive atoms of oxygen known as free radicals to close up the gashes..But [free radicals] can also inadvertently kill off some of the coral’s healthy cells. Hydrogen peroxide, for instance, is a common free radical in corals, and it can damage every part of the cell, from DNA to proteins…[It was observed that] corals with a brighter glow are best able to keep free radicals from damaging healthy cells..The glow is a result of so-called fluorescent proteins, which in corals act as antioxidants to keep free radicals at bay.” (Dell’Amore 2009)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/091104-glowing-corals-antioxidants-picture.html
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007298

Last Updated May 31, 2018