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Molecular cloning of cone opsin genes and their expression in the retina of a smelt, Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis, Teleostei).

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Division of Molecular Ecology, Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Otsu, Shiga 520-2113, Japan.


Five cone opsin genes of landlocked ayu fish (Plecoglossus altivelis) were cloned, and the expression patterns of these genes were investigated. AYU-LWS, -RH2-1, -RH2-2, -SWS1-1, and -SWS1-2 were isolated and had high (more than 75%) identity with red, green, green, UV, and UV-sensitive opsin, respectively, genes of other fish reported previously. The results of Southern blotting experiments showed that each gene is present as a single copy. Gene expression was measured by RT-PCR using four populations collected from rivers and a lake in spring and summer. The results of the RT-PCR experiment showed that AYU-SWS1-2 was highly expressed, whereas AYU-SWS1-1 was scarce. Two RH2 opsins were expressed simultaneously in the same individual, and the expression ratio between these opsins changed among populations. In situ hybridization revealed that AYU-LWS and -RH2-1 were expressed in the double cones and that AYU-RH2-2 and -SWS1-2 were expressed in the long and short single cones (LSC and SSC), respectively. It was shown that an individual ayu expresses two RH2 opsins simultaneously in different types of cone cells.

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