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Neuron. 2000 Sep;27(3):513-23.

The murine cone photoreceptor: a single cone type expresses both S and M opsins with retinal spatial patterning.

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The Howe Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Mice express S and M opsins that form visual pigments for the detection of light and visual signaling in cones. Here, we show that S opsin transcription is higher than that of M opsin, which supports ultraviolet (UV) sensitivity greater than midwavelength sensitivity. Surprisingly, most cones coexpress both S and M opsins in a common cone cell type throughout the retina. All cones express M opsin, but the levels are graded from dorsal to ventral. The levels of S opsin are relatively constant. However, in the far dorsal retina, S opsin is repressed stochastically, such that some cones express M opsin only. These observations indicate that two different mechanisms control M and S opsin expression. We suggest that a common cone type is patterned across the retinal surface to produce phenotypic cone subtypes.

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