ABSTRACT: Lower vertebrates can detect UV light with the pineal complex independently of eyes. Electrophysiological studies, together with chromophore extraction analysis, have suggested that the underlying pigment in the lamprey pineal exhibits a bistable nature, that is, reversible photoreaction by UV and visible light, which is never achieved by known UV pigments. Here we addressed the molecular identification of the pineal UV receptor. Our results showed that the long-hypothesized pigment is a lamprey homologue of parapinopsin, which exhibits an absorption maximum at 370 nm, in the UV region. UV light causes cis-trans isomerization of its retinal(2) chromophore, forming a stable photoproduct having an absorption maximum at 515 nm, in the green region. The photoproduct reverts to the original pigment upon visible light absorption, showing photoregeneration of the pigment. In situ hybridization showed that parapinopsin is selectively expressed in the cells located in the dorsal region of the pineal organ. We successfully obtained the hyperpolarizing responses with a maximum sensitivity of approximately 380 nm from the photoreceptor cells at the dorsal region, in which the outer segment was clearly stained with anti-parapinopsin antibody. These results demonstrated that parapinopsin is the pineal UV pigment having photointerconvertible two stable states. The bistable nature of the parapinopsin can account for the photorecovery of the pineal UV sensitivity by background green light in the lamprey. Furthermore, we isolated the parapinopsin homologues from fish and frog pineal complexes that exhibit UV sensitivity, suggesting that parapinopsin is a common molecular basis for pineal UV reception in the vertebrate.
Project description: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.
Project description: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.
Project description: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.
Project description:Lower vertebrate pineal organs discriminate UV and visible light. Such color discrimination is typically considered to arise from antagonism between two or more spectrally distinct opsins, as, e.g., human cone-based color vision relies on antagonistic relationships between signals produced by red-, green-, and blue-cone opsins. Photosensitive pineal organs contain a bistable opsin (parapinopsin) that forms a signaling-active photoproduct upon UV exposure that may itself be returned to the signaling-inactive "dark" state by longer-wavelength light. Here we show the spectrally distinct parapinopsin states (with antagonistic impacts on signaling) allow this opsin alone to provide the color sensitivity of this organ. By using calcium imaging, we show that single zebrafish pineal photoreceptors held under a background light show responses of opposite signs to UV and visible light. Both such responses are deficient in zebrafish lacking parapinopsin. Expressing a UV-sensitive cone opsin in place of parapinopsin recovers UV responses but not color opponency. Changes in the spectral composition of white light toward enhanced UV or visible wavelengths respectively increased vs. decreased calcium signal in parapinopsin-sufficient but not parapinopsin-deficient photoreceptors. These data reveal color opponency from a single kind of bistable opsin establishing an equilibrium-like mixture of the two states with different signaling abilities whose fractional concentrations are defined by the spectral composition of incident light. As vertebrate visual color opsins evolved from a bistable opsin, these findings suggest that color opponency involving a single kind of bistable opsin might have been a prototype of vertebrate color opponency.
Project description: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.
Project description:In lower vertebrates, brain photoreceptor cells express vertebrate-specific non-visual opsins. We previously revealed that a pineal-related organ-specific opsin, parapinopsin, is UV-sensitive and allows pineal wavelength discrimination in lampreys and teleost. The Australian pouched lamprey was recently reported as having two parapinopsin-related genes. We demonstrate that a parapinopsin-like opsin from the Japanese river lamprey exhibits different molecular properties and distribution than parapinopsin. This opsin activates Gi-type G protein in a mammalian cell culture assay in a light-dependent manner. Heterologous action spectroscopy revealed that the opsin forms a violet to blue-sensitive pigment. Interestingly, the opsin is co-localised with green-sensitive P-opsin in the cells of the M5 nucleus of Schober (M5NS) in the mesencephalon of the river and brook lamprey. Some opsins-containing cells of the river lamprey have cilia and others an axon projecting to the retina. The opsins of the brook lamprey are co-localised in the cilia of centrifugal neurons projecting to the retina, suggesting that cells expressing the parapinopsin-like opsin and P-opsin are sensitive to violet to green light. Moreover, we found neural connections between M5NS cells expressing the opsins and the retina. These findings suggest that the retinal activity might be modulated by brain photoreception.
Project description:Opn5 (neuropsin) belongs to an independent group separated from the other six groups in the phylogenetic tree of opsins, for which little information of absorption characteristics and molecular properties of the members is available. Here we show that the chicken Opn5 (cOpn5m) is a UV-sensitive bistable pigment that couples with Gi subtype of G protein. The recombinant expression of cOpn5m in HEK 293s cells followed by the addition of 11-cis- and all-trans-retinal produced UV light-absorbing and visible light-absorbing forms, respectively. These forms were interconvertible by UV and visible light irradiations, respectively, indicating that cOpn5m is a bistable pigment. The absorption maxima of these forms were estimated to be 360 and 474 nm, respectively. The GTPγS binding assay clearly showed that the visible light-absorbing form having all-trans-retinal activates Gi type of G protein, whereas no Gt or Gq activation ability was observed. Immunohistochemical studies using an antibody against cOpn5m clearly showed that this pigment is localized within some types of amacrine cells and some cells in the ganglion cell layer of the retinas, the vast majority of cells in the pineal gland and serotonin-positive cells in the paraventricular organ. Because cOpn5m is the only UV-sensitive opsin among the opsins found so far in chicken, this study provides the molecular basis for UV reception in chicken.
Project description:Optogenetics uses light-sensitive proteins, so-called optogenetic tools, for highly precise spatiotemporal control of cellular states and signals. The major limitations of such tools include the overlap of excitation spectra, phototoxicity, and lack of sensitivity. The protein characterized in this study, the Japanese lamprey parapinopsin, which we named UVLamP, is a promising optogenetic tool to overcome these limitations. Using a hybrid strategy combining molecular, cellular, electrophysiological, and computational methods we elucidated a structural model of the dark state and probed the optogenetic potential of UVLamP. Interestingly, it is the first described bistable vertebrate opsin that has a charged amino acid interacting with the Schiff base in the dark state, that has no relevance for its photoreaction. UVLamP is a bistable UV-sensitive opsin that allows for precise and sustained optogenetic control of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pathways and can be switched on, but more importantly also off within milliseconds via lowintensity short light pulses. UVLamP exhibits an extremely narrow excitation spectrum in the UV range allowing for sustained activation of the Gi/o pathway with a millisecond UV light pulse. Its sustained pathway activation can be switched off, surprisingly also with a millisecond blue light pulse, minimizing phototoxicity. Thus, UVLamP serves as a minimally invasive, narrow-bandwidth probe for controlling the Gi/o pathway, allowing for combinatorial use with multiple optogenetic tools or sensors. Because UVLamP activated Gi/o signals are generally inhibitory and decrease cellular activity, it has tremendous potential for health-related applications such as relieving pain, blocking seizures, and delaying neurodegeneration.
Project description:Multiple sites of extraretinal photoreception are present in vertebrates, but the molecular basis of extraretinal phototransduction is poorly understood. This study reports the cloning of the first opsin specifically expressed in the directly photosensitive pineal and parapineal of cold-blooded vertebrates. This opsin, identified in channel catfish and termed parapinopsin, defines a new gene family of vertebrate photopigments and is expressed in a majority of parapinealocytes and a subset of pineal photoreceptor cells. Parapinopsin shows a caudal-rostral gradient of expression within the pineal organ. This study also reports the cloning of partial cDNAs encoding the channel catfish orthologues of rhodopsin and the red cone pigment-the full complement of retinal opsins in the species. In situ hybridization studies using probes derived from these retinal opsins, together with parapinopsin, reveal no expression of retinal opsins in pineal and parapineal organ and no expression of any opsin tested in the "deep brain," iris, or dermal melanophores. These data imply that phototransduction in these sites of extraretinal photoreception must be mediated by novel opsins.
Project description:In mammals, melanopsin is exclusively expressed in intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which play an important role in circadian photoentrainment and other nonimage-forming functions. These ipRGCs reside in the inner retina, far removed from the pigment epithelium, which synthesizes the 11-cis retinal chromophore used by rod and cone photoreceptors to regenerate opsin for light detection. There has been considerable interest in the identification of the melanopsin chromophore and in understanding the process of photopigment regeneration in photoreceptors that are not in proximity to the classical visual cycle. We have devised an immuno-magnetic purification protocol that allows melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells to be isolated and collected from multiple mouse retinas. Using this technique, we have demonstrated that native melanopsin in vivo exclusively binds 11-cis retinal in the dark and that illumination causes isomerization to the all-trans isoform. Furthermore, spectral analysis of the melanopsin photoproduct shows the formation of a protonated metarhodopsin with a maximum absorbance between 520 and 540 nm. These results indicate that even if melanopsin functions as a bistable photopigment with photo-regenerative activity native melanopsin must also use some other light-independent retinoid regeneration mechanism to return to the dark state, where all of the retinal is observed to be in the 11-cis form.