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ArticleMolecular and functional identification of a novel photopigment in Pecten ciliary photoreceptors(Rockefeller University Press, 2018-01-26) Arenas, Oscar ; Osorno, Tomás ; Malagón, Gerardo ; Pulido, Camila ; Gomez, Maria del Pilar ; Nasi, EnricoThe two basic animal photoreceptor types, ciliary and microvillar, use different light-transduction schemes: their photopigments couple to Gt versus Gq proteins, respectively, to either mobilize cyclic nucleotides or trigger a lipid signaling cascade. A third class of photoreceptors has been described in the dual retina of some marine invertebrates; these present a ciliary morphology but operate via radically divergent mechanisms, prompting the suggestion that they comprise a novel lineage of light sensors. In one of these organisms, an uncommon putative opsin was uncovered that was proposed to signal through Go. Orthologues subsequently emerged in diverse phyla, including mollusks, echinoderms, and chordates, but the cells in which they express have not been identified, and no studies corroborated their function as visual pigments or their suggested signaling mode. Conversely, in only one invertebrate species, Pecten irradians, have the ciliary photoreceptors been physiologically characterized, but their photopigment has not been identified molecularly. We used the transcriptome of Pecten retina to guide the cloning by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) extensions of a new member of this group of putative opsins. In situ hybridization shows selective transcription in the distal retina, and specific antibodies identify a single band of the expected molecular mass in Western blots and distinctly label ciliary photoreceptors in retina sections. RNA interference knockdown resulted in a reduction in the early receptor current—the first manifestation of light transduction—and prevented the prolonged aftercurrent, which requires a large buildup of activated rhodopsin. We also obtained a full-length clone of the α-subunit of a Go from Pecten retina complementary DNA and localized it by in situ hybridization to the distal photoreceptors. Small interfering RNA targeting this Go caused a specific depression of the photocurrent. These results establish this novel putative opsin as a bona fide visual pigment that couples to Go to convey the light signal.
ArticleThe light-sensitive conductance of melanopsin-expressing Joseph and Hesse cells in amphioxus(Rockefeller University Press, 2011-12-26) Pulido, Camila ; Malagon, Gerardo ; Ferrer, Camilo ; Chen, Jun Kui ; Angueyra, Juan Manuel ; Nasi, Enrico ; Gomez, Maria del PilarTwo types of microvillar photoreceptors in the neural tube of amphioxus, an early chordate, sense light via melanopsin, the same photopigment as in “circadian” light detectors of higher vertebrates. Because in amphioxus melanopsin activates a Gq/phospholipase C cascade, like phototransduction in arthropods and mollusks, possible commonalities in the photoconductance were investigated. Unlike other microvillar photoreceptors, reversal of the photocurrent can only be attained upon replacement of extracellular Na+. In addition to Na+, Ca2+ is also permeant, as indicated by the fact that (a) in normal ionic conditions the photocurrent remains inward at Vm > ENa; (b) in Na-free solution a small residual inward photocurrent persists at Vm near resting level, provided that Ca is present; and (c) Vrev exhibits a modest shift with [Ca]o manipulations. The unusual reversal is accounted for by an uncommonly low permeability of the light-dependent channels to K+, as [K]o only marginally affects the photocurrent amplitude and its reversal. Lanthanum and ruthenium red (RuR), two TRP channel antagonists, reversibly suppress the response to photostimulation of moderate intensity; therefore, the melanopsin-initiated cascade may recruit ion channels of the same family as those of rhabdomeric photoreceptors. With brighter lights, blockage declines, so that both La3+ and RuR induce a right shift in the sensitivity curve without a reduction of its asymptote. Nonetheless, an effect on the transduction cascade, rather than the channels, was ruled out on the basis of the voltage dependency of the blockade and the lack of effects of intracellular application of the same substances. The mechanisms of action of these antagonists thus entail a state-dependent blockade, with a higher affinity for the channel in the closed conformation. Collectively, the results indicate a kinship of the light-sensitive channels of amphioxus with those of invertebrate rhabdomeric visual cells and support the representation of this lineage of photoreceptors among chordates.
ArticleMelanopsin-expressing amphioxus photoreceptors transduce light via a phospholipase C signaling cascade(Public Library of Science, 2012-01-03) Angueyra, Juan Manuel ; Pulido, Camila ; Malagon, Gerardo ; Nasi, Enrico ; Gomez, Maria del PilarMelanopsin, the receptor molecule that underlies light sensitivity in mammalian ‘circadian’ receptors, is homologous to invertebrate rhodopsins and has been proposed to operate via a similar signaling pathway. Its downstream effectors, however, remain elusive. Melanopsin also expresses in two distinct light-sensitive cell types in the neural tube of amphioxus. This organism is the most basal extant chordate and can help outline the evolutionary history of different photoreceptor lineages and their transduction mechanisms; moreover, isolated amphioxus photoreceptors offer unique advantages, because they are unambiguously identifiable and amenable to single-cell physiological assays. In the present study whole-cell patch clamp recording, pharmacological manipulations, and immunodetection were utilized to investigate light transduction in amphioxus photoreceptors. A Gq was identified and selectively localized to the photosensitive microvillar membrane, while the pivotal role of phospholipase C was established pharmacologically. The photocurrent was profoundly depressed by IP3 receptor antagonists, highlighting the importance of IP3 receptors in light signaling. By contrast, surrogates of diacylglycerol (DAG), as well as poly-unsaturated fatty acids failed to activate a membrane conductance or to alter the light response. The results strengthen the notion that calcium released from the ER via IP3-sensitive channels may fulfill a key role in conveying - directly or indirectly - the melanopsin-initiated light signal to the photoconductance; moreover, they challenge the dogma that microvillar photoreceptors and phoshoinositide-based light transduction are a prerogative of invertebrate eyes.