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FEBS Lett. 2007 Nov 13;581(27):5327-31. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Two isoforms of chicken melanopsins show blue light sensitivity.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Melanopsin is a vertebrate non-visual opsin and functions as a circadian photoreceptor in mammalian retinas. Here we found the expression of two kinds of melanopsin genes in the chicken pineal gland and identified the presence of five isoforms derived from these two genes. Reconstitution of the recombinant proteins with 11-cis-retinal revealed that at least two of these melanopsin protein isoforms can function as blue-sensitive photopigments with absorption maxima at 476-484nm. These values are consistent with maximal sensitivities of action spectra determined from the physiological and behavioral studies on mammalian melanopsins. The melanopsin isoforms found in this study may function as pineal circadian photoreceptors.

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