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Science 306 (5697): 869-871

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Ciliary Photoreceptors with a Vertebrate-Type Opsin in an Invertebrate Brain

Detlev Arendt,1*{dagger} Kristin Tessmar-Raible,2*{ddagger} Heidi Snyman,1 Adriaan W. Dorresteijn,3 Joachim Wittbrodt1{dagger}

Abstract: For vision, insect and vertebrate eyes use rhabdomeric and ciliary photoreceptor cells, respectively. These cells show distinct architecture and transduce the light signal by different phototransductory cascades. In the marine rag-worm Platynereis, we find both cell types: rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells in the eyes and ciliary photoreceptor cells in the brain. The latter use a photopigment closely related to vertebrate rod and cone opsins. Comparative analysis indicates that both types of photoreceptors, with distinct opsins, coexisted in Urbilateria, the last common ancestor of insects and vertebrates, and sheds new light on vertebrate eye evolution.

1 Developmental Biology Department, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69012 Heidelberg, Germany.
2 Philipps-Universität Marburg, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse 8, 35032 Marburg, Germany.
3 Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Institut für Allgemeine und Spezielle Zoologie, Stephanstrasse 24, 35390 Giessen, Germany.

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* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{ddagger} Present address: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69012 Heidelberg, Germany.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: detlev.arendt{at}embl.de (D.A.), jochen.wittbrodt{at}embl.de (J.W.)


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