Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Exp Biol. 2007 Aug;210(Pt 16):2829-35.

The visual pigments of a deep-sea teleost, the pearl eye Scopelarchus analis.

Author information

  • 1UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, 11-43 Bath Street, London, EC1V 9EL, UK.


The eyes of deep-sea fish have evolved to function under vastly reduced light conditions compared to those that inhabit surface waters. This has led to a bathochromatic shift in the spectral location of maximum absorbance (lambda(max)) of their rod (RH1) pigments and the loss of cone photoreceptors. There are exceptions to this, however, as demonstrated by the deep-sea pearl eye Scopelarchus analis. Here we show the presence of two RH1 pigments (termed RH1A and RH1B) and a cone RH2 pigment. This is therefore the first time that the presence of a cone pigment in a deep-sea fish has been confirmed by molecular analysis. The lambda(max) values of the RH1A and RH1B pigments at 486 and 479 nm, respectively, have been determined by in vitro expression of the recombinant opsins and show the typical short-wave shifts of fish that live in deep water compared to surface dwellers. RH1B, however, is expressed only in more adult fish and lacks key residues for phosphorylation, indicating that it may not be involved in image formation. In contrast, the RH2 pigment has additional residues near the C terminus that may be involved in phosphorylation and does not show temporal changes in expression. The distribution of these pigments within the multiple retinae of S. analis is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk