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Science. 2019 May 10;364(6440):588-592. doi: 10.1126/science.aav4632.

Vision using multiple distinct rod opsins in deep-sea fishes.

Author information

1
Zoological Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. zuzana.musilova@natur.cuni.cz fabio.cortesi@uqconnect.edu.au walter.salzburger@unibas.ch.
2
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
3
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
4
Zoological Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
5
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
6
Department of Palaeontology and Museum, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
7
UWA Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
8
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
9
Lions Eye Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
10
Oceans Graduate School, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
11
Center for Modeling Complex Interactions, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.
12
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.
13
Center for Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry, Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), Kastanienbaum, Switzerland.
14
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC), Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Division (BESE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
15
Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Bremerhaven, Germany.
16
Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Vertebrate vision is accomplished through light-sensitive photopigments consisting of an opsin protein bound to a chromophore. In dim light, vertebrates generally rely on a single rod opsin [rhodopsin 1 (RH1)] for obtaining visual information. By inspecting 101 fish genomes, we found that three deep-sea teleost lineages have independently expanded their RH1 gene repertoires. Among these, the silver spinyfin (Diretmus argenteus) stands out as having the highest number of visual opsins in vertebrates (two cone opsins and 38 rod opsins). Spinyfins express up to 14 RH1s (including the most blueshifted rod photopigments known), which cover the range of the residual daylight as well as the bioluminescence spectrum present in the deep sea. Our findings present molecular and functional evidence for the recurrent evolution of multiple rod opsin-based vision in vertebrates.

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