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Contributions of Phenoxazone-Based Pigments to the Structure and Function of Nanostructured Granules in Squid Chromatophores

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journal contribution
posted on 06.04.2016, 18:24 by Thomas L. Williams, Christopher W. DiBona, Sean R. Dinneen, Stephanie F. Jones Labadie, Feixia Chu, Leila F. Deravi
Understanding the structure–function relationships of pigment-based nanostructures can provide insight into the molecular mechanisms behind biological signaling, camouflage, or communication experienced in many species. In squid Doryteuthis pealeii, combinations of phenoxazone-based pigments are identified as the source of visible color within the nanostructured granules that populate dermal chromatophore organs. In the absence of the pigments, granules experience a reduction in diameter with the loss of visible color, suggesting important structural and functional features. Energy gaps are estimated from electronic absorption spectra, revealing highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO)–lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energies that are dependent upon the varying carboxylated states of the pigment. These results implicate a hierarchical mechanism for the bulk coloration in cephalopods originating from the molecular components confined within in the nanostructured granules of chromatophore organs.