[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Entrainment to light cycle is a prerequisite for circadian rhythms to set daily physiological events to occur at an appropriate time of day. In hemimetabolous insects, the photoreceptor molecule for photic entrainment is still unknown. Since the compound eyes are the only circadian photoreceptor in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus, we have investigated the role of three opsin genes expressed there, opsin-Ultraviolet (opUV), opsin-Blue (opB), and opsin-Long Wave (opLW) encoding a green-sensitive opsin in photic entrainment.
A daily rhythm was detected in mRNA expressions of opB and opLW but not of opUV gene. When photic entrainment of circadian locomotor rhythms was tested after injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) of three opsin genes, no noticeable effects were found in opUV RNAi and opB RNAi crickets. In opLW RNAi crickets, however, some crickets lost photic entrainability and the remaining crickets re-entrained with significantly longer transient cycles to a phase-advanced light–dark cycle as compared to control crickets. Crickets often lost entrainability when treated doubly with dsRNAs of two opsin genes including opLW.
These results show that green-sensitive OpLW is the major circadian photoreceptor molecule for photic entrainment of locomotor rhythms in the cricket G. bimaculatus. Our finding will lead to further investigation of the photic entrainment mechanism at molecular and cellular levels, which still remains largely unknown.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pineal organs of lower vertebrates contain several kinds of photosensitive molecules, opsins that are suggested to be involved in different light-regulated physiological functions. We previously reported that parapinopsin is an ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive opsin that underlies hyperpolarization of the pineal photoreceptor cells of lower vertebrates to achieve pineal wavelength discrimination. Although, parapinopsin is phylogenetically close to vertebrate visual opsins, it exhibits a property similar to invertebrate visual opsins and melanopsin: the photoproduct of parapinopsin is stable and reverts to the original dark states, demonstrating the nature of bistable pigments. Therefore, it is of evolutionary interest to identify a phototransduction cascade driven by parapinopsin and to compare it with that in vertebrate visual cells. Here, we showed that parapinopsin is coupled to vertebrate visual G protein transducin in the pufferfish, zebrafish, and lamprey pineal organs. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that parapinopsins activated transducin in vitro in a light-dependent manner, similar to vertebrate visual opsins. Interestingly, transducin activation by parapinopsin was provoked and terminated by UV- and subsequent orange-lights irradiations, respectively, due to the bistable nature of parapinopsin, which could contribute to a wavelength-dependent control of a second messenger level in the cell as a unique optogenetic tool. Immunohistochemical examination revealed that parapinopsin was colocalized with Gt2 in the teleost, which possesses rod and cone types of transducin, Gt1, and Gt2. On the other hand, in the lamprey, which does not possess the Gt2 gene, in situ hybridization suggested that parapinopsin-expressing photoreceptor cells contained Gt1 type transducin GtS, indicating that lamprey parapinopsin may use GtS in place of Gt2. Because it is widely accepted that vertebrate visual opsins having a bleaching nature have evolved from non-bleaching opsins similar to parapinopsin, these results implied that ancestral bistable opsins might acquire coupling to the transducin-mediated cascade and achieve light-dependent hyperpolarizing response of the photoreceptor cells.
PLoS ONE 10/2015; 10(10):e0141280. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0141280 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melanopsins play a key role in non-visual photoreception in mammals. Their close phylogenetic relationship to the photopigments in invertebrate visual cells suggests they have evolved to acquire molecular characteristics that are more suited for their non-visual functions. Here we set out to identify such characteristics, by comparing the molecular properties of mammalian melanopsin to those of invertebrate melanopsin and visual pigment. Our data show that the Schiff base linking the chromophore retinal to the protein is more susceptive to spontaneous cleavage in mammalian melanopsins. We also find this stability is highly diversified between mammalian species, being particularly unstable for human melanopsin. Through mutagenesis analyses, we find that this diversified stability is mainly due to parallel amino acid substitutions in extra-cellular regions. We propose that the different stability of the retinal attachment in melanopsins may contribute to functional tuning of non-visual photoreception in mammals.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2015; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M115.666305 · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Recent genome projects of various animals have uncovered an unexpectedly large number of opsin genes, which encode protein moieties of photoreceptor molecules, in most animals. In visual systems, the biological meanings of this diversification are clear; multiple types of visual opsins with different spectral sensitivities are responsible for color vision. However, the significance of the diversification of non-visual opsins remains uncertain, in spite of the importance of understanding the molecular mechanism and evolution of varied non-visual photoreceptions.
Here, we investigated the diversification of the pineal photopigment parapinopsin, which serves as the UV-sensitive photopigment for the pineal wavelength discrimination in the lamprey, linking it with other pineal photoreception. Spectroscopic analyses of the recombinant pigments of the two teleost parapinopsins PP1 and PP2 revealed that PP1 is a UV-sensitive pigment, similar to lamprey parapinopsin, but PP2 is a blue-sensitive pigment, with an absorption maximum at 460-480 nm, showing the diversification of non-visual pigment with respect to spectral sensitivity. We also found that PP1 and PP2 exhibit mutually exclusive expressions in the pineal organs of three teleost species. By using transgenic zebrafish in which these parapinopsin-expressing cells are labeled, we found that PP1-expressing cells basically possess neuronal processes, which is consistent with their involvement in wavelength discrimination. Interestingly, however, PP2-expressing cells rarely possess neuronal processes, raising the possibility that PP2 could be involved in non-neural responses rather than neural responses. Furthermore, we found that PP2-expressing cells contain serotonin and aanat2, the key enzyme involved in melatonin synthesis from serotonin, whereas PP1-expressing cells do not contain either, suggesting that blue-sensitive PP2 is instead involved in light-regulation of melatonin secretion.
In this paper, we have clearly shown the different molecular properties of duplicated non-visual opsins by demonstrating the diversification of parapinopsin with respect to spectral sensitivity. Moreover, we have shown a plausible link between the diversification and its physiological impact by discovering a strong candidate for the underlying pigment in light-regulated melatonin secretion in zebrafish; the diversification could generate a new contribution of parapinopsin to pineal photoreception. Current findings could also provide an opportunity to understand the "color" preference of non-visual photoreception.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many animals have developed systems for sensing environmental conditions during evolution. In sensory cells, receptor molecules are responsible for their sensing abilities. In light sensing, most animals capture light information via rhodopsin-like photoreceptive proteins known as opsin-based pigments. A body of evidence from comparisons of amino acid sequences and in vitro experiments demonstrates that opsins have phylogenetically and functionally diversified during evolution and suggests that the phylogenetic diversity in opsins correlates with the variety of molecular properties of opsin-based pigments. In this review, we discuss the various molecular properties of opsin-based pigments and their contribution to light-sensing ability by providing two examples: i) contribution of photoregeneration ability and Chromophore retinal binding property of an Opn3 homolog to non-visual photoreception, and ii) contribution of an absorption characteristic of a visual pigment to depth perception in jumping spiders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammals contain 1 melanopsin (Opn4) gene that is expressed in a subset of retinal ganglion cells to serve as a photopigment involved in non-image-forming vision such as photoentrainment of circadian rhythms. In contrast, most nonmammalian vertebrates possess multiple melanopsins that are distributed in various types of retinal cells; however, their functions remain unclear. We previously found that the lamprey has only 1 type of mammalian-like melanopsin gene, which is similar to that observed in mammals. Here we investigated the molecular properties and localization of melanopsin in the lamprey and other cyclostome hagfish retinas, which contribute to visual functions including image-forming vision and mainly to non-image-forming vision, respectively. We isolated 1 type of mammalian-like melanopsin cDNA from the eyes of each species. We showed that the recombinant lamprey melanopsin was a blue light-sensitive pigment and that both the lamprey and hagfish melanopsins caused light-dependent increases in calcium ion concentration in cultured cells in a manner that was similar to that observed for mammalian melanopsins. We observed that melanopsin was distributed in several types of retinal cells, including horizontal cells and ganglion cells, in the lamprey retina, despite the existence of only 1 melanopsin gene in the lamprey. In contrast, melanopsin was almost specifically distributed to retinal ganglion cells in the hagfish retina. Furthermore, we found that the melanopsin-expressing horizontal cells connected to the rhodopsin-containing short photoreceptor cells in the lamprey. Taken together, our findings suggest that in cyclostomes, the global distribution of melanopsin in retinal cells might not be related to the melanopsin gene number but to the extent of retinal contribution to visual function.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108209. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108209 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhodopsin undergoes rearrangements of its transmembrane helices after photon absorption to transfer a light signal to the G protein transducin. To investigate the mechanism by which rhodopsin adopts the transducin-activating conformation, the local environmental changes in the transmembrane region were probed using the cysteine S-H group, whose stretching frequency is well isolated from the other protein vibrational modes. The S-H stretching modes of cysteine residues introduced into Helix III, which contains several key residues for the helical movements, and of native cysteine residues were measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. This method was applied to metarhodopsin IIa, a precursor of the transducin-activating state in which the intramolecular interactions are likely to produce a state ready for helical movements. No environmental change was observed near the ionic lock between Arg135 in Helix III and Glu247 in Helix VI that maintains the inactive conformation. Rather, the cysteine residues that showed environmental changes were located around the chromophore, Ala164, His211, and Phe261. These findings imply that the hydrogen bond between Helix III and Helix V involving Glu122 and His211 and the hydrophobic packing between Helix III and Helix VI involving Gly121, Leu125, Phe261, and Trp265 are altered before the helical rearrangement leading towards the active conformation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein conformational changes, which regulate the activity of proteins, are induced by the alternation of intramolecular interactions. Therefore, the detection of the local environmental changes around the key amino acid residues is essential to understand the activation mechanisms of functional proteins. Here we developed the methods to scan the local environmental changes using the vibrational band of cysteine S-H group. We validated the sensitivity of this method using bathorhodopsin, a photoproduct of rhodopsin trapped at liquid nitrogen temperature, which undergoes little conformational changes from the dark state as shown by the Xray crystallography. The cysteine residues were individually introduced into 15 positions of Helix III, which contains several key amino acid residues for the lightinduced conformational changes of rhodopsin. The shifts of S-H stretching modes of these cysteine residues and native cysteine residues upon the formation of bathorhodopsin were measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. While most of cysteine residues demonstrated no shift of S-H stretching mode, cysteine residues introduced at positions 117, 118, and 122, which are in the vicinity of the chromophore, demonstrated the significant changes. The current results are consistent with the crystal structure of bathorhodopsin, implying that the cysteine scanning is sensitive enough to detect the tiny conformational changes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most animal opsin-based pigments are typical G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) and consist of a protein moiety, opsin, and 11-cis retinal as a chromophore. More than several thousand opsins have been identified from a wide variety of animals, which have multiple opsin genes. Accumulated evidence reveals the molecular property of opsin-based pigments, particularly non-conventional visual pigments including non-visual pigments. Opsin-based pigments are generally a bistable pigment having two stable and photointerconvertible states and therefore are bleach-resistant and reusable, unlike vertebrate visual pigments which become bleached. The opsin family contains Gt-coupled, Gq-coupled, Go-coupled, Gs-coupled, Gi-coupled, and Gi/Go-coupled opsins, indicating the existence of a large diversity of light-driven GPCR-signaling cascades. It is suggested that these molecular properties might contribute to different physiologies. In addition, various opsin based-pigments, especially nonconventional visual pigments having different molecular characteristics would facilitate the design and development of promising optogenetic tools for modulating GPCR-signaling, which is involved in a wide variety of physiological responses. We here introduce molecular and functional properties of various kinds of opsins and discuss their physiological function and also their potentials for optogenetic applications. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Retinal Proteins - You can teach an old dog new tricks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most opsins selectively bind 11-cis retinal as a chromophore to form a photosensitive pigment, which underlies various physiological functions, such as vision and circadian photoentrainment. Recently, opsin 3 (Opn3), originally called encephalopsin or panopsin, and its homologs were identified in various tissues including brain, eye, and liver in both vertebrates and invertebrates, including human. Because Opn3s are mainly expressed in tissues that are not considered to contain sufficient amounts of 11-cis retinal to form pigments, the photopigment formation ability of Opn3 has been of interest. Here, we report the successful expression of Opn3 homologs, pufferfish teleost multiple tissue opsin (PufTMT) and mosquito Opn3 (MosOpn3) and show that these proteins formed functional photopigments with 11-cis and 9-cis retinals. The PufTMT- and MosOpn3-based pigments have absorption maxima in the blue-to-green region and exhibit a bistable nature. These Opn3 homolog-based pigments activate Gi-type and Go-type G proteins light dependently, indicating that they potentially serve as light-sensitive Gi/Go-coupled receptors. We also demonstrated that mammalian cultured cells transfected with the MosOpn3 or PufTMT became light sensitive without the addition of 11-cis retinal and the photosensitivity retained after the continuous light exposure, showing a reusable pigment formation with retinal endogenously contained in culture medium. Interestingly, we found that the MosOpn3 also acts as a light sensor when constituted with 13-cis retinal, a ubiquitously present retinal isomer. Our findings suggest that homologs of vertebrate Opn3 might function as photoreceptors in various tissues; furthermore, these Opn3s, particularly the mosquito homolog, could provide a promising optogenetic tool for regulating cAMP-related G protein-coupled receptor signalings.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; 110(13). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1219416110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Absorption spectra of visual pigments are adaptively tuned to optimize informational capacity in most visual systems. Our recent investigation of the eyes of the jumping spider reveals an apparent exception: the absorption characteristics of a visual pigment cause defocusing of the image, reducing visual acuity generally in a part of the retina. However, the amount of defocus can theoretically provide a quantitative indication of the distance of an object. Therefore, we proposed a novel mechanism for depth perception in jumping spiders based on image defocus. Behavioral experiments revealed that the depth perception of the spider depended on the wavelength of the ambient light, which affects the amount of defocus because of chromatic aberration of the lens. This wavelength effect on depth perception was in close agreement with theoretical predictions based on our hypothesis. These data strongly support the hypothesis that the depth perception mechanism of jumping spiders is based on image defocus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pineal-related organs of lower vertebrates have the ability to discriminate different wavelengths of light. This wavelength discrimination is achieved through antagonistic light responses to UV or blue and visible light. Previously, we demonstrated that parapinopsin underlies the UV reception in the lamprey pineal organ and identified parapinopsin genes in teleosts and frogs of which the pineal-related organs were reported to discriminate light. In this study, we report the first identification of parapinopsin in the reptile lineage and show its expression in the parietal eye of the green iguana. Spectroscopic analysis revealed that iguana parapinopsin is a UV-sensitive pigment, similar to lamprey parapinopsin. Interestingly, immunohistochemical analyses using antibodies specific to parapinopsin and parietopsin, a parietal eye green-sensitive pigment, revealed that parapinopsin and parietopsin are colocalized in the outer segments of the parietal eye photoreceptor cells in iguanas. These results strongly suggest that parapinopsin underlies the wavelength discrimination involving UV reception in the iguana parietal eye. The current findings support the idea that parapinopsin is a common photopigment underlying the UV-sensitivity in wavelength discrimination of the pineal-related organs found from lampreys to reptiles.
PLoS ONE 06/2012; 7(6):e39003. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0039003 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parietopsin is a nonvisual green light-sensitive opsin closely related to vertebrate visual opsins and was originally identified in lizard parietal eye photoreceptor cells. To obtain insight into the functional diversity of opsins, we investigated by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy the molecular properties of parietopsin and its mutants exogenously expressed in cultured cells and compared the properties to those of vertebrate and invertebrate visual opsins. Our mutational analysis revealed that the counterion in parietopsin is the glutamic acid (Glu) in the second extracellular loop, corresponding to Glu181 in bovine rhodopsin. This arrangement is characteristic of invertebrate rather than vertebrate visual opsins. The photosensitivity and the molar extinction coefficient of parietopsin were also lower than those of vertebrate visual opsins, features likewise characteristic of invertebrate visual opsins. On the other hand, irradiation of parietopsin yielded meta-I, meta-II, and meta-III intermediates after batho and lumi intermediates, similar to vertebrate visual opsins. The pH-dependent equilibrium profile between meta-I and meta-II intermediates was, however, similar to that between acid and alkaline metarhodopsins in invertebrate visual opsins. Thus, parietopsin behaves as an "evolutionary intermediate" between invertebrate and vertebrate visual opsins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The principal eyes of jumping spiders have a unique retina with four tiered photoreceptor layers, on each of which light of different wavelengths is focused by a lens with appreciable chromatic aberration. We found that all photoreceptors in both the deepest and second-deepest layers contain a green-sensitive visual pigment, although green light is only focused on the deepest layer. This mismatch indicates that the second-deepest layer always receives defocused images, which contain depth information of the scene in optical theory. Behavioral experiments revealed that depth perception in the spider was affected by the wavelength of the illuminating light, which affects the amount of defocus in the images resulting from chromatic aberration. Therefore, we propose a depth perception mechanism based on how much the retinal image is defocused.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many animals capture light information via opsin-based pigments. Several thousands of opsins have been identified thus far and the opsin family is divided into eight groups. Members belonging to four out of the eight groups have been elucidated to couple to transducin, Go, Gs, and Gq, respectively, in photoreceptor cells. Accumulated evidence suggests a novel classification of the animal phototransductions, cyclic nucleotide signaling mediated by transducin, Go or Gs in ciliary photoreceptor cells and phosphoinositol signaling mediated by Gq in rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells. Varied opsin-based pigments are spectroscopically classified into two types, bleaching and bistable pigments; that is, the photoproduct of vertebrate visual pigments dissociates its chromophore retinal over time and bleaches, whereas most other opsin-based pigments convert to a stable photoproduct, which can revert to original dark state by subsequent light absorption. Mutational analyses of the both types of pigments implied that during molecular evolution of the vertebrae visual pigments, displacement of the counterion, important amino acid residue for visible light absorption of opsin-based pigment, resulted in not only unique bleaching property but also acquisition of red-sensitive visual pigment and higher G-protein activation ability generated by larger light-induced conformational change of the pigment. Interestingly, a bleaching pigment rhodopsin and parapinopsin, which closely relates to the vertebrate visual pigment but has a bistable nature, couple to visual arrestin and β arrestin, respectively, in the lamprey pineal organ, suggesting the bleaching property also might facilitate the evolution of visual arrestin which is specialized for vertebrate visual function. WIREs Membr Transp Signal 2012, 1:104–111. doi: 10.1002/wmts.6
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The light response of vertebrate visual cells is achieved by light-sensing proteins such as opsin-based pigments as well as signal transduction proteins, including visual arrestin. Previous studies have indicated that the pineal pigment parapinopsin has evolutionally and physiologically important characteristics. Parapinopsin is phylogenetically related to vertebrate visual pigments. However, unlike the photoproduct of the visual pigment rhodopsin, which is unstable, dissociating from its chromophore and bleaching, the parapinopsin photoproduct is stable and does not release its chromophore. Here, we investigated arrestin, which regulates parapinopsin signaling, in the lamprey pineal organ, where parapinopsin and rhodopsin are localized to distinct photoreceptor cells. We found that beta-arrestin, which binds to stimulated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) other than opsin-based pigments, was localized to parapinopsin-containing cells. This result stands in contrast to the localization of visual arrestin in rhodopsin-containing cells. Beta-arrestin bound to cultured cell membranes containing parapinopsin light-dependently and translocated to the outer segments of pineal parapinopsin-containing cells, suggesting that beta-arrestin binds to parapinopsin to arrest parapinopsin signaling. Interestingly, beta-arrestin colocalized with parapinopsin in the granules of the parapinopsin-expressing cell bodies under light illumination. Because beta-arrestin, which is a mediator of clathrin-mediated GPCR internalization, also served as a mediator of parapinopsin internalization in cultured cells, these results suggest that the granules were generated light-dependently by beta-arrestin-mediated internalization of parapinopsins from the outer segments. Therefore, our findings imply that beta-arrestin-mediated internalization is responsible for eliminating the stable photoproduct and restoring cell conditions to the original dark state. Taken together with a previous finding that the bleaching pigment evolved from a non-bleaching pigment, vertebrate visual arrestin may have evolved from a "beta-like" arrestin by losing its clathrin-binding domain and its function as an internalization mediator. Such changes would have followed the evolution of vertebrate visual pigments, which generate unstable photoproducts that independently decay by chromophore dissociation.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16402. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0016402 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The eyes of flower-visiting butterflies are often spectrally highly complex with multiple opsin genes generated by gene duplication, providing an interesting system for a comparative study of color vision. The Small White butterfly, Pieris rapae, has duplicated blue opsins, PrB and PrV, which are expressed in the blue (λ(max) = 453 nm) and violet receptors (λ(max) = 425 nm), respectively. To reveal accurate absorption profiles and the molecular basis of the spectral tuning of these visual pigments, we successfully modified our honeybee opsin expression system based on HEK293s cells, and expressed PrB and PrV, the first lepidopteran opsins ever expressed in cultured cells. We reconstituted the expressed visual pigments in vitro, and analysed them spectroscopically. Both reconstituted visual pigments had two photointerconvertible states, rhodopsin and metarhodopsin, with absorption peak wavelengths 450 nm and 485 nm for PrB and 420 nm and 482 nm for PrV. We furthermore introduced site-directed mutations to the opsins and found that two amino acid substitutions, at positions 116 and 177, were crucial for the spectral tuning. This tuning mechanism appears to be specific for invertebrates and is partially shared by other pierid and lycaenid butterfly species.
PLoS ONE 11/2010; 5(11):e15015. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0015015 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhodopsin and related opsin-based pigments, which are photosensitive membrane proteins, have been extensively studied using a wide variety of techniques, with rhodopsin being the most understood G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Animals use various opsin-based pigments for vision and a wide variety of non-visual functions. Many functionally varied pigments are roughly divided into two kinds, based on their photoreaction: bistable and monostable pigments. Bistable pigments are thermally stable before and after photo-activation, but monostable pigments are stable only before activation. Here, we review the diversity of bistable pigments and their molecular characteristics. We also discuss the mechanisms underlying different molecular characteristics of bistable and monostable pigments. In addition, the potential of bistable pigments as a GPCR model is proposed.