NO is a known insect neurotransmitter, and it took the efforts of a multidisciplinary research group- involving a firefly ecologist, insect neurophysiologist, mitochondrial expert, and NO biochemist- to sort out this novel and intriguing role of NO in the control of firefly flashing. This model for flash control is described in greater detail on the Tufts University website explaining this work.
- Aprille JR, Lagace CJ, Lewis SM, Michel T, Modica-Napolitano JS, Trimmer BA, Zayas RM. Mechanism of firefly flash control: NO inhibition of oxygen consumption in lantern mitochondria is reversed by light. In: Stanley PE and Kricka LJ, eds. Bioluminescence & Chemiluminescence: Progress & Current Applications. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing;2002. p. 25-8.
- Trimmer B, Aprille J, Dudzinski D, Lagace C, Lewis S, Michel T, Zayas R. Regulation of firefly flashing by nitric oxide. Science. 2001;292:2486-8. PDF