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Vis Neurosci. 2014 Jan;31(1):11-23. doi: 10.1017/S095252381300059X.

Variability in mitochondria of zebrafish photoreceptor ellipsoids.

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Department of Biology, American University, Washington DC.
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington DC.


Ultrastructural examination of photoreceptor inner segment ellipsoids in larval (4, 8, and 15 days postfertilization; dpf) and adult zebrafish identified morphologically different types of mitochondria. All photoreceptors had mitochondria of different sizes (large and small). At 4 dpf, rods had small, moderately stained electron-dense mitochondria (E-DM), and two cone types could be distinguished: (1) those with electron-lucent mitochondria (E-LM) and (2) those with mitochondria of moderate electron density. These distinctions were also apparent at later ages (8 and 15 dpf). Rods from adult fish had fewer mitochondria than their corresponding cones. The ellipsoids of some fully differentiated single and double cones contained large E-DM with few cristae; these were surrounded by small E-LM with typical internal morphology. The mitochondria within the ellipsoids of other single cones showed similar electron density. Microspectrophotometry of cone ellipsoids from adult fish indicated that the large E-DM had a small absorbance peak (∼0.03 OD units) and did not contain cytochrome-c, but crocetin, a carotenoid found in old world monkeys. Crocetin functions to prevent oxidative damage to photoreceptors, suggesting that the ellipsoid mitochondria in adult zebrafish cones protect against apoptosis and function metabolically, rather than as a light filter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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