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Zoolog Sci. 2006 Sep;23(9):815-9.

Light-sensitive motile iridophores and visual pigments in the neon tetra, Paracheirodon innesi.

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Biomolecular Science Major, Graduate School of Science, Toho University, Funabashi, Chiba, Japan.


Although motile iridophores in the longitudinal stripes of neon tetra skin are under control of the sympathetic nervous system, they also respond to light directly and show circadian color changes. Using neon tetra skin, we found that the photoresponse of iridophores depends on light intensity, and that light near 500 nm is most effective. RT-PCR demonstrated the expression of mRNAs encoding rhodopsin and two kinds of cone opsins (Pi-green1 and Pi-green2) in neon tetra skin where the light-sensitive iridophores exist. These mRNAs are also expressed in the lateral eyes. The cone opsin genes, Pi-green1 and Pi-green2, show high similarity with the g101 and g103 genes of unique green cone opsins (belonging to the MWS/LWS group) of the blind Mexican cavefish. These results show that Pi-green1, Pi-green2, and/or rhodopsin may play important roles in the photoresponse of neon tetra iridophores, which are most sensitive to light near 500 nm.

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