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J Biol Rhythms. 2012 Feb;27(1):25-36. doi: 10.1177/0748730411431673.

Rhodopsin 5- and Rhodopsin 6-mediated clock synchronization in Drosophila melanogaster is independent of retinal phospholipase C-β signaling.

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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom.


Circadian clocks of most organisms are synchronized with the 24-hour solar day by the changes of light and dark. In Drosophila, both the visual photoreceptors in the compound eyes as well as the blue-light photoreceptor Cryptochrome expressed within the brain clock neurons contribute to this clock synchronization. A specialized photoreceptive structure located between the retina and the optic lobes, the Hofbauer-Buchner (H-B) eyelet, projects to the clock neurons in the brain and also participates in light synchronization. The compound eye photoreceptors and the H-B eyelet contain Rhodopsin photopigments, which activate the canonical invertebrate phototransduction cascade after being excited by light. We show here that 2 of the photopigments present in these photoreceptors, Rhodopsin 5 (Rh5) and Rhodopsin 6 (Rh6), contribute to light synchronization in a mutant (norpA(P41) ) that disrupts canonical phototransduction due to the absence of Phospholipase C-β (PLC-β). We reveal that norpA(P41) is a true loss-of-function allele, resulting in a truncated PLC-β protein that lacks the catalytic domain. Light reception mediated by Rh5 and Rh6 must therefore utilize either a different (nonretinal) PLC-β enzyme or alternative signaling mechanisms, at least in terms of clock-relevant photoreception. This novel signaling mode may distinguish Rhodopsin-mediated irradiance detection from image-forming vision in Drosophila.

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