Melanopsin phototransduction: slowly emerging from the dark.
ABSTRACT Melanopsin expressing retinal ganglion cells represent a third class of ocular photoreceptors and are involved in irradiance detection and non-image-forming responses to light including pupil constriction, circadian entrainment, and regulation of sleep. Over recent years, there has been a rapid increase in our understanding of the anatomical variety of pRGC subtypes, the regions of the brain which they innervate, and the behavioral responses of melanopsin-based light detection. However, by contrast, our understanding of the intracellular signaling cascade initiated following activation of melanopsin has, until recently, remained poorly characterized. This chapter focus on the melanopsin signaling pathway, detailing the cellular mechanisms of phototransduction that occur within pRGCs, highlighting recent advances, but also the gaps in our understanding of this important light detecting system.
SourceAvailable from: PubMed Central[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are involved in circadian and other non-image forming visual responses. An open question is whether the activity of these neurons may also be under the regulation mediated by the neurohormone melatonin. In the present work, by double-staining immunohistochemical technique, we studied the expression of MT1 and MT2, two known subtypes of mammalian melatonin receptors, in rat ipRGCs. A single subset of retinal ganglion cells labeled by the specific antibody against melanopsin exhibited the morphology typical of M1-type ipRGCs. Immunoreactivity for both MT1 and MT2 receptors was clearly seen in the cytoplasm of all labeled ipRGCs, indicating that these two receptors were co-expressed in each of these neurons. Furthermore, labeling for both the receptors were found in neonatal M1 cells as early as the day of birth. It is therefore highly plausible that retinal melatonin may directly modulate the activity of ipRGCs, thus regulating non-image forming visual functions.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117967. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117967 · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Melanopsin has been implicated in the mammalian photoentrainment by blue light. This photopigment, which maximally absorbs light at wavelengths between 470 and 480 nm depending on the species, is found in the retina of all classes of vertebrates so far studied. In mammals, melanopsin activation triggers a signaling pathway which resets the circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Unlike mammals, Drosophila melanogaster and Danio rerio do not rely only on their eyes to perceive light, in fact their whole body may be capable of detecting light and entraining their circadian clock. Melanopsin, teleost multiple tissue (tmt) opsin and others such as neuropsin and va-opsin, are found in the peripheral tissues of Danio rerio, however, there are limited data concerning the photopigment/s or the signaling pathway/s directly involved in light detection. Here, we demonstrate that melanopsin is a strong candidate to mediate synchronization of zebrafish cells. The deduced amino acid sequence of melanopsin, although being a vertebrate opsin, is more similar to invertebrate than vertebrate photopigments, and melanopsin photostimulation triggers the phosphoinositide pathway through activation of a Gq/11-type G protein. We stimulated cultured ZEM-2S cells with blue light at wavelengths consistent with melanopsin maximal absorption, and evaluated the time course expression of per1b, cry1b, per2 and cry1a. Using quantitative PCR, we showed that blue light is capable of slightly modulating per1b and cry1b genes, and drastically increasing per2 and cry1a expression. Pharmacological assays indicated that per2 and cry1a responses to blue light are evoked through the activation of the phosphoinositide pathway, which crosstalks with nitric oxide (NO) and mitogen activated protein MAP kinase (MAPK) to activate the clock genes. Our results suggest that melanopsin may be important in mediating the photoresponse in Danio rerio ZEM-2S cells, and provide new insights about the modulation of clock genes in peripheral clocks.PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106252. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0106252 · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The adverse effects of excessive use of artificial light at night (ALAN) are becoming increasingly evident and associated with several health problems including cancer. Results of epidemiological studies revealed that the increase in breast cancer incidents co-distribute with ALAN worldwide. There is compiling evidence that suggests that melatonin suppression is linked to ALAN-induced cancer risks, but the specific genetic mechanism linking environmental exposure and the development of disease is not well known. Here we propose a possible genetic link between environmental exposure and tumorigenesis processes. We discuss evidence related to the relationship between epigenetic remodelling and oncogene expression. In breast cancer, enhanced global hypomethylation is expected in oncogenes, whereas in tumour suppressor genes local hypermethylation is recognized in the promoter CpG chains. A putative mechanism of action involving epigenetic modifications mediated by pineal melatonin is discussed in relation to cancer prevalence. Taking into account that ALAN-induced epigenetic modifications are reversible, early detection of cancer development is of great significance in the treatment of the disease. Therefore, new biomarkers for circadian disruption need to be developed to prevent ALAN damage. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.