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Science 311 (5767): 1617-1621

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Parietal-Eye Phototransduction Components and Their Potential Evolutionary Implications

Chih-Ying Su,1*{dagger} Dong-Gen Luo,1 Akihisa Terakita,2 Yoshinori Shichida,2 Hsi-Wen Liao,1 Manija A. Kazmi,3 Thomas P. Sakmar,3 King-Wai Yau1*

Abstract: The parietal-eye photoreceptor is unique because it has two antagonistic light signaling pathways in the same cell—a hyperpolarizing pathway maximally sensitive to blue light and a depolarizing pathway maximally sensitive to green light. Here, we report the molecular components of these two pathways. We found two opsins in the same cell: the blue-sensitive pinopsin and a previously unidentified green-sensitive opsin, which we name parietopsin. Signaling components included gustducin-{alpha} and G{alpha}o, but not rod or cone transducin-{alpha}. Single-cell recordings demonstrated that Go mediates the depolarizing response. Gustducin-{alpha} resembles transducin-{alpha} functionally and likely mediates the hyperpolarizing response. The parietopsin-Go signaling pair provides clues about how rod and cone phototransduction might have evolved.

1 Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
2 Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University and Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
3 Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.

{dagger} Present address: Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: chih-ying.su{at}yale.edu (C.-Y.S.); kwyau{at}mail.jhmi.edu (K.-W.Y.)


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