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Vis Neurosci. 1999 May-Jun;16(3):571-85.

Cloning and characterization of six zebrafish photoreceptor opsin cDNAs and immunolocalization of their corresponding proteins.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 46556-0369, USA.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) represents an excellent genetic model for vertebrate visual system studies. Because the opsin proteins are ideal markers of specific photoreceptor cell types, we cloned six different zebrafish opsin cDNAs. Based on pairwise alignments and phylogenetic comparisons between the predicted zebrafish opsin amino acid sequences and other vertebrate opsins, the cDNAs encode rhodopsin, two different green opsins (zfgr1 and zfgr2), a red, a blue, and an ultraviolet opsin. Phylogenetic analysis indicates the zfgr1 protein occupies a well-resolved dendrogram branch separate from the other green opsins examined, while zebrafish ultraviolet opsin is closely related to the human blue- and chicken violet-sensitive proteins. Polyclonal antisera were generated against individual bacterial fusion proteins containing either the red, blue, or ultraviolet amino termini or the rod or green opsin carboxyl termini. Immunolocalization on adult zebrafish frozen sections demonstrates the green and red opsins are each expressed in different members of the double cone cell pair, the blue opsin is detected in long single cones, and the ultraviolet opsin protein is expressed in the short single cones. In 120-h postfertilization wholemounts, green, red, blue, and ultraviolet opsin-positive cells are detected in an orderly arrangement throughout the entire retina. The antibodies' photoreceptor-type specificity indicates they will be useful for characterizing both wild-type and mutant zebrafish retinas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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