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Brain Res. 2012 Mar 9;1442:9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.01.021. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Rhodopsin expression in the zebrafish pineal gland from larval to adult stage.

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Dipartimento di Morfologia, Biochimica, Fisiologia e Produzione Animale, Sezione di Morfologia, Università di Messina, Italy.


The zebrafish pineal gland plays an important role in different physiological functions including the regulation of the circadian clock. In the fish pineal gland the pinealocytes are made up of different segments: outer segment, inner segment and basal pole. Particularly, in the outer segment the rhodopsin participates in the external environment light reception that represents the first biochemical step in the melatonin production. It is well known that the rhodopsin in the adult zebrafish is well expressed in the pineal gland but both the expression and the cellular localization of this protein during development remain still unclear. In this study using qRT-PCR, sequencing and immunohistochemistry the expression as well as the protein localization of the rhodopsin in the zebrafish from larval (10 dpf) to adult stage (90 dpf) were demonstrated. The rhodopsin mRNA expression presents a peak of expression at 10 dpf, a further reduction to 50 dpf before increasing again in the adult stage. Moreover, the cellular localization of the rhodopsin-like protein was always localized in the pinealocyte at all ages examined. Our results demonstrated the involvement of the rhodopsin in the zebrafish pineal gland physiology particularly in the light capture during the zebrafish lifespan.

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