Visual pigment composition in zebrafish: Evidence for a rhodopsin-porphyropsin interchange system

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  • Abstract: Numerous reports have concluded that zebrafish (Danio rerio) possesses A(1)-based visual pigments in their rod and cone photoreceptors. In the present study, we investigated the possibility that zebrafish have a paired visual pigment system. We measured the spectral absorption characteristics of photoreceptors from zebrafish maintained in different temperature regimes and those treated with exogenous thyroid hormone using CCD-based microspectrophotometry. Rods from fish housed at 15degreesC and 28degreesC were not significantly different, having lambda(max) values of 503 +/- 5 nm (n = 106) and 504 +/- 6 urn (n = 88), respectively. Thyroid hormone treatment (held at 28degreesC), however, significalltly shifted the lambda(max) of rods from 503 +/- 5 nm (n = 194) to 527 +/- 8 nm (n = 212). Cone photoreceptors in fish housed at 28degreesC (without thyroid hormone treatment) had lambda(max) values of 361 +/- 3 nm (n = 2) for ultraviolet-, 411 +/- 5 nm (n = 18) for short-, 482 +/- 6 nm (n = 9) for medium-, and 565 +/- 10 nm (n = 14) for long-wavelength sensitive cones. Thyroid hormone treatment of fish held at 28degreesC significantly shifted the lambda(max) of long-wavelength sensitive cones to 613 +/- 11nm (n = 20), substantially beyond that of the lambda(max) of the longest possible A(1)-based visual pigment (similar to580 nm). Thyroid hormone treatment produced smaller shifts of lambda(max) in other cone types and increased the half-band width. All shifts in photoreceptor lambda(max) values resulting from thyroid hormone treatment matched predictions for an A(1-) to A(2)-based visual pigment system. We therefore conclude that zebrafish possess a rhodopsin-porphyropsin interchange system that functions to spectrally tune rod and cone photoreceptors. We believe that these observations should be carefully considered during analysis of zebrafish spectral sensitivity.

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    © 2004 Cambridge University Press. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • WT Allison, TJ Haimberger, CW Hawryshyn and SE Temple. (2004). Visual pigment composition in zebrafish: Evidence for a rhodopsin-porphyropsin interchange system. Visual Neuroscience, 21, 945-952. DOI: 10.1017/S0952523804216145.