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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2012 Nov;198(11):833-9. doi: 10.1007/s00359-012-0754-x. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

Encephalopsin (OPN3) protein abundance in the adult mouse brain.

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Department of Biology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland.


Encephalopsin belongs to the family of extraretinal opsins having a putative role in CNS tissue photosensitivity. Encephalopsin mRNA has earlier been localized in rodent brains, but expression and localization of the protein has not yet been reported. In this study, we aimed to define encephalopsin protein abundance and localization in the rodent brain. The distribution and localization of encephalopsin protein in a mouse brain and selected peripheral tissues were analysed in ten mice, using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The specificity of immunoreaction was validated by primary antibody omitting and immunizing peptide blocking experiment. We found encephalopsin protein abundant in the mouse brain, but not in the periphery. Encephalopsin protein was present in neurons of the mouse cerebral cortex, paraventricular area, and cerebellar cells. Our results show that encephalopsin is expressed at the protein level in different brain areas of the mouse. Therefore, the suggested idea that encephalopsin plays a role in non-visual photic processes seems to be applicable. Evidently, further investigations are needed to find out the signalling mechanisms, and the potential physiological role of encephalopsin in phototransduction due to the changes in ambient light.

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