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      Phototactic tails: Evolution and molecular basis of a novel sensory trait in sea snakes

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          Most cited references 47

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          Melanopsin: An opsin in melanophores, brain, and eye

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            Shedding new light on opsin evolution.

            Opsin proteins are essential molecules in mediating the ability of animals to detect and use light for diverse biological functions. Therefore, understanding the evolutionary history of opsins is key to understanding the evolution of light detection and photoreception in animals. As genomic data have appeared and rapidly expanded in quantity, it has become possible to analyse opsins that functionally and histologically are less well characterized, and thus to examine opsin evolution strictly from a genetic perspective. We have incorporated these new data into a large-scale, genome-based analysis of opsin evolution. We use an extensive phylogeny of currently known opsin sequence diversity as a foundation for examining the evolutionary distributions of key functional features within the opsin clade. This new analysis illustrates the lability of opsin protein-expression patterns, site-specific functionality (i.e. counterion position) and G-protein binding interactions. Further, it demonstrates the limitations of current model organisms, and highlights the need for further characterization of many of the opsin sequence groups with unknown function.
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              Is Open Access

              The evolution of irradiance detection: melanopsin and the non-visual opsins

              Circadian rhythms are endogenous 24 h cycles that persist in the absence of external time cues. These rhythms provide an internal representation of day length and optimize physiology and behaviour to the varying demands of the solar cycle. These clocks require daily adjustment to local time and the primary time cue (zeitgeber) used by most vertebrates is the daily change in the amount of environmental light (irradiance) at dawn and dusk, a process termed photoentrainment. Attempts to understand the photoreceptor mechanisms mediating non-image-forming responses to light, such as photoentrainment, have resulted in the discovery of a remarkable array of different photoreceptors and photopigment families, all of which appear to use a basic opsin/vitamin A-based photopigment biochemistry. In non-mammalian vertebrates, specialized photoreceptors are located within the pineal complex, deep brain and dermal melanophores. There is also strong evidence in fish and amphibians for the direct photic regulation of circadian clocks in multiple tissues. By contrast, mammals possess only ocular photoreceptors. However, in addition to the image-forming rods and cones of the retina, there exists a third photoreceptor system based on a subset of melanopsin-expressing photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (pRGCs). In this review, we discuss the range of vertebrate photoreceptors and their opsin photopigments, describe the melanopsin/pRGC system in some detail and then finally consider the molecular evolution and sensory ecology of these non-image-forming photoreceptor systems.

                Author and article information

                Molecular Ecology
                Mol Ecol
                February 15 2019
                [1 ]School of Biological Sciences; The University of Adelaide; Adelaide South Australia Australia
                [2 ]Department of Biology; University of Florida; Gainesville Florida
                [3 ]School of Earth Sciences; University of Bristol; Bristol UK
                [4 ]School of Biological Sciences and Oceans Institute; University of Western Australia; Crawley Western Australia Australia
                [5 ]Centre for Ophthalmology and Vision Science, Lions Eye Institute; University of Western Australia; Nedlands Western Australia Australia
                [6 ]Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide; North Adelaide South Australia Australia
                [7 ]Bioinformatics Hub; University of Adelaide; Adelaide South Australia Australia
                [8 ]South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI); Adelaide South Australia Australia
                [9 ]Department of Life Sciences; The Natural History Museum; London UK
                © 2019


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