Studies of Opsin Genes in a Smelt Fish, Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis)

  • Published : 2002.08.01


To investigate the visual and extra-ocular photoreception, we cloned the opsin genes in ayu (Plecoglossus allivelis). Amplified fragments encoding exon-4 (-5) of opsin cDNAs were cloned from the retina and brains of ayu, and sequenced. One clone was identified as rod (AYU-Rh), two as green cone (AYU-GI, -G2), one as red cone (A YU-R), two as ultraviolet cone (AYU-UVl, UV2), one as VA (AYU-VA), and one as extra-ocular rod (AYU-ExoRh) opsins. 335 amino acids sequence deduced from the full-length cDNA of AYU-Rh showed high identity with that of other fish. Southern blotting analysis indicated that ayu possess two 'rhodopsin' genes, one is visual rhodopsin and the other is non-visual extra-ocular rhodopsin. In situ hybridization showed that the mRNA of AYU-Rh was localized only in rod cells in the retina. On the other hands, AYU-ExoRh was expressed only in the pineal. We cloned two isoforms (AYU-VAM and -VAL) of VA opsin from ayu. The deduced amino acid sequences of these variants were identical to each other within the first 342 residues, but they showed divergence in the C-terminal sequence. AYU- VAL corresponded to the long isoform found in other fish, and AYU-VAM was identified as a new type of VA opsin variant. Pal-VAM is a new probably functional non-visual photoreceptive molecule in fish.