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Light-Responsive Cryptochromes from a Simple Multicellular Animal, the Coral Acropora millepora
D. C. Hayward,4,6
D. J. Miller,5,6
Hundreds of species of reef-building corals spawn synchronouslyover a few nights each year, and moonlight regulates this spawningevent. However, the molecular elements underpinning the detectionof moonlight remain unknown. Here we report the presence ofan ancient family of blue-light–sensing photoreceptors,cryptochromes, in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora.In addition to being cryptochrome genes from one of the earliest-divergingeumetazoan phyla, cry1 and cry2 were expressed preferentiallyin light. Consistent with potential roles in the synchronizationof fundamentally important behaviors such as mass spawning,cry2 expression increased on full moon nights versus new moonnights. Our results demonstrate phylogenetically broad rolesof these ancient circadian clock–related molecules inthe animal kingdom.
1 Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4072 QLD, Australia. 2 Center for Narcolepsy and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA. 3 Department of Neurobiochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Israel. 4 Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia. 5 Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, and University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4072 QLD, Australia. 6 ARC Centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
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