Publications by authors named "Robert B Barlow"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The relationship between slow photoresponse recovery rate and temporal resolution of vision.

J Neurosci 2012 Oct;32(41):14364-73

Center for Vision Research and State University of New York (SUNY) Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

The rate at which photoreceptors recover from excitation is thought to be critical for setting the temporal resolution of vision. Indeed, mutations in RGS9 (regulator of G-protein signaling 9) and R9AP (RGS9 anchor protein) proteins mediating rapid photoresponse recovery impair patients' ability to see moving objects. In this study, we analyzed temporal properties of retinal sensitivity and spatiotemporal aspects of visual behavior in R9AP knock-out mice. Surprisingly, we have found that this knock-out does not affect dim-light vision mediated by rods acting as single-photon counters. Under these conditions, vision was also unaffected in mice overexpressing R9AP in rods, which causes accelerated photoresponse recovery. However, in brighter light, slow photoresponse recovery in rods and cones impaired visual responses to high temporal frequency stimuli, as reported for the daylight vision of human patients. Therefore, the speed of photoresponse recovery can affect temporal resolution and motion detection when photoreceptors integrate signals from multiple photons but not when they act as single-photon counters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1296-12.2012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3507450PMC
October 2012

Partial rescue of retinal function in chronically hypoglycemic mice.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2012 Feb 21;53(2):915-23. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Center for Vision Research and SUNY Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

Purpose: Mice rendered hypoglycemic by a null mutation in the glucagon receptor gene Gcgr display late-onset retinal degeneration and loss of retinal sensitivity. Acute hyperglycemia induced by dextrose ingestion does not restore their retinal function, which is consistent with irreversible loss of vision. The goal of this study was to establish whether long-term administration of high dietary glucose rescues retinal function and circuit connectivity in aged Gcgr-/- mice.

Methods: Gcgr-/- mice were administered a carbohydrate-rich diet starting at 12 months of age. After 1 month of treatment, retinal function and structure were evaluated using electroretinographic (ERG) recordings and immunohistochemistry.

Results: Treatment with a carbohydrate-rich diet raised blood glucose levels and improved retinal function in Gcgr-/- mice. Blood glucose increased from moderate hypoglycemia to euglycemic levels, whereas ERG b-wave sensitivity improved approximately 10-fold. Because the b-wave reflects the electrical activity of second-order cells, we examined for changes in rod-to-bipolar cell synapses. Gcgr-/- retinas have 20% fewer synaptic pairings than Gcgr+/- retinas. Remarkably, most of the lost synapses were located farthest from the bipolar cell body, near the distal boundary of the outer plexiform layer (OPL), suggesting that apical synapses are most vulnerable to chronic hypoglycemia. Although treatment with the carbohydrate-rich diet restored retinal function, it did not restore these synaptic contacts.

Conclusions: Prolonged exposure to diet-induced euglycemia improves retinal function but does not reestablish synaptic contacts lost by chronic hypoglycemia. These results suggest that retinal neurons have a homeostatic mechanism that integrates energetic status over prolonged periods of time and allows them to recover functionality despite synaptic loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.11-8787DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317429PMC
February 2012

Acute hypoglycemia decreases central retinal function in the human eye.

Vision Res 2011 Jul 12;51(14):1623-6. Epub 2011 May 12.

SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.

The goal of this pilot study was to assess the effects of acute hypoglycemia on retinal function and contrast sensitivity in individuals with and without diabetes. Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemic and euglycemic clamp procedures were performed in subjects without diabetes (n=7) and with controlled type 1 diabetes (n=5). Mean age was 28 years, and none had retinal disease. During euglycemia (glucose 95-110 mg/dl) and acute hypoglycemia (glucose 50-55 mg/dl), contrast sensitivity was measured and spatial retinal responses were recorded with multifocal electroretinograms (mfERG), a rapid technique for mapping sensitivity from the foveal, macular and peripheral areas of the retina. During hypoglycemia, retinal responses (mfERG P1 wave) were decreased in both type 1 diabetes subjects and subjects without diabetes. The dominant effect was in the amplitude of the responses in the central macular retina, not in their temporal properties. Responses from the central region, central 10(0), were on average 1.8-fold lower than those from the periphery for both groups. All diabetes subjects and 3/7 without diabetes reported central scotoma. Decreases in mfERG amplitude were accompanied by decreases in contrast sensitivity. These changes were immediately reversed with the restoration of euglycemia. Overall, this study demonstrates that the acute effects of hypoglycemia in the human eye predominantly involve central vision, and these visual effects originate, at least in part, in the retina. The association between low blood glucose levels and impaired central vision underscores the importance of avoiding when possible and promptly treating hypoglycemia, particularly in individuals with diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2011.05.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149775PMC
July 2011

Impaired cone function and cone degeneration resulting from CNGB3 deficiency: down-regulation of CNGA3 biosynthesis as a potential mechanism.

Hum Mol Genet 2009 Dec 17;18(24):4770-80. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

The cone cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel is essential for central and color vision and visual acuity. This channel is composed of two structurally related subunits, CNGA3 and CNGB3; CNGA3 is the ion-conducting subunit, whereas CNGB3 is a modulatory subunit. Mutations in both subunits are associated with achromatopsia and progressive cone dystrophy, with mutations in CNGB3 alone accounting for 50% of all known cases of achromatopsia. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying cone diseases that result from CNGB3 deficiency are unknown. This study investigated the role of CNGB3 in cones, using CNGB3(-/-) mice. Cone dysfunction was apparent at the earliest time point examined (post-natal day 30) in CNGB3(-/-) mice. When compared with wild-type (WT) controls: photopic electroretingraphic (ERG) responses were decreased by approximately 75%, whereas scotopic ERG responses were unchanged; visual acuity was decreased by approximately 20%, whereas contrast sensitivity was unchanged; cone density was reduced by approximately 40%; photoreceptor apoptosis was detected; and outer segment disorganization was observed in some cones. Notably, CNGA3 protein and mRNA levels were significantly decreased in CNGB3(-/-) mice; in contrast, mRNA levels of S-opsin, Gnat2 and Pde6c were unchanged, relative to WT mice. Hence, we show that loss of CNGB3 reduces biosynthesis of CNGA3 and impairs cone CNG channel function. We suggest that down-regulation of CNGA3 contributes to the pathogenic mechanism by which CNGB3 mutations lead to human cone disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddp440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2778372PMC
December 2009

Light responses in rods of vitamin A-deprived Xenopus.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2009 Sep 30;50(9):4477-86. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Center for Vision Research, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

Purpose: Accumulation of free opsin by mutations in rhodopsin or insufficiencies in the visual cycle can lead to retinal degeneration. Free opsin activates phototransduction; however, the link between constitutive activation and retinal degeneration is unclear. In this study, the photoresponses of Xenopus rods rendered constitutively active by vitamin A deprivation were examined. Unlike their mammalian counterparts, Xenopus rods do not degenerate. Contrasting phototransduction in vitamin A-deprived Xenopus rods with phototransduction in constitutively active mammalian rods may provide new understanding of the mechanisms that lead to retinal degeneration.

Methods: The photocurrents of Xenopus tadpole rods were measured with suction electrode recordings, and guanylate cyclase activity was measured with the IBMX (3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine) jump technique. The amount of rhodopsin in rods was determined by microspectrophotometry.

Results: The vitamin A-deprived rod outer segments were 60% to 70% the length and diameter of the rods in age-matched animals. Approximately 90% of its opsin content was in the free or unbound form. Analogous to bleaching adaptation, the photoresponses were desensitized (10- to 20-fold) and faster. Unlike bleaching adaptation, the vitamin A-deprived rods maintained near normal saturating (dark) current densities by developing abnormally high rates of cGMP synthesis. Their rate of cGMP synthesis in the dark (15 seconds(-1)) was twofold greater than the maximum levels attainable by control rods ( approximately 7 seconds(-1)).

Conclusions: Preserving circulating current density and response range appears to be an important goal for rod homeostasis. However, the compensatory changes associated with vitamin A deprivation in Xenopus rods come at the high metabolic cost of a 15-fold increase in basal ATP consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.08-3186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792892PMC
September 2009

Monitoring mouse retinal degeneration with high-resolution spectral-domain optical coherence tomography.

J Vis 2008 Jan 24;8(1):17.1-11. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Progression of retinal degeneration in a mouse model was studied in vivo with high-resolution spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Imaging in 3D with high depth resolution (<3 mum), SD-OCT resolved all the major layers of the retina of control C57BL/6J mice. Images of transgenic mice having a null mutation of the rhodopsin gene revealed the anatomical consequences of retinal degeneration: thinning of the outer retina, including the outer plexiform layer (OPL), outer nuclear layer (ONL), and inner and outer segments (IS/OS). We monitored the progression of retinal degeneration in rd1 mice (C3H/HeJ) by periodically imaging the same mice from the time the pups opened their eyes on P13 to P34. SD-OCT images showed that the outer retina (OPL, ONL, IS/OS) had already thinned by 73% (100 to 27 mum) at eye opening. The retina continued to degenerate, and by P20 the outer retina was not resolvable. The thickness of entire retina decreased from 228 mum (control) to 152 mum on P13 and to 98 mum by P34, a 57% reduction with the complete loss in the outer retina. In summary, we show that SD-OCT can monitor the progression of retinal degeneration in transgenic mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/8.1.17DOI Listing
January 2008

Speed, spatial, and temporal tuning of rod and cone vision in mouse.

J Neurosci 2008 Jan;28(1):189-98

Center for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

Rods and cones subserve mouse vision over a 100 million-fold range of light intensity (-6 to 2 log cd m(-2)). Rod pathways tune vision to the temporal frequency of stimuli (peak, 0.75 Hz) and cone pathways to their speed (peak, approximately 12 degrees/s). Both pathways tune vision to the spatial components of stimuli (0.064-0.128 cycles/degree). The specific photoreceptor contributions were determined by two-alternative, forced-choice measures of contrast thresholds for optomotor responses of C57BL/6J mice with normal vision, Gnat2(cpfl3) mice without functional cones, and Gnat1-/- mice without functional rods. Gnat2(cpfl3) mice (threshold, -6.0 log cd m(-2)) cannot see rotating gratings above -2.0 log cd m(-2) (photopic vision), and Gnat1-/- mice (threshold, -4.0 log cd m(-2)) are blind below -4.0 log cd m(-2) (scotopic vision). Both genotypes can see in the transitional mesopic range (-4.0 to -2.0 log cd m(-2)). Mouse rod and cone sensitivities are similar to those of human. This parametric study characterizes the functional properties of the mouse visual system, revealing the rod and cone contributions to contrast sensitivity and to the temporal processing of visual stimuli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3551-07.2008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847259PMC
January 2008

Islet-1 controls the differentiation of retinal bipolar and cholinergic amacrine cells.

J Neurosci 2007 Nov;27(46):12707-20

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.

Whereas the mammalian retina possesses a repertoire of factors known to establish general retinal cell types, these factors alone cannot explain the vast diversity of neuronal subtypes. In other CNS regions, the differentiation of diverse neuronal pools is governed by coordinately acting LIM-homeodomain proteins including the Islet-class factor Islet-1 (Isl1). We report that deletion of Isl1 profoundly disrupts retinal function as assessed by electroretinograms and vision as assessed by optomotor behavior. These deficits are coupled with marked reductions in mature ON- and OFF-bipolar (>76%), cholinergic amacrine (93%), and ganglion (71%) cells. Mosaic deletion of Isl1 permitted a chimeric analysis of "wild-type" cells in a predominantly Isl1-null environment, demonstrating a cell-autonomous role for Isl1 in rod bipolar and cholinergic amacrine development. Furthermore, the effects on bipolar cell development appear to be dissociable from the preceding retinal ganglion cell loss, because Pou4f2-null mice are devoid of similar defects in bipolar cell marker expression. Expression of the ON- and OFF-bipolar cell differentiation factors Bhlhb4 and Vsx1, respectively, requires the presence of Isl1, whereas the early bipolar cell marker Prox1 initially did not. Thus, Isl1 is required for engaging bipolar differentiation pathways but not for general bipolar cell specification. Spatiotemporal expression analysis of additional LIM-homeobox genes identifies a LIM-homeobox gene network during bipolar cell development that includes Lhx3 and Lhx4. We conclude that Isl1 has an indispensable role in retinal neuron differentiation within restricted cell populations and this function may reflect a broader role for other LIM-homeobox genes in retinal development, and perhaps in establishing neuronal subtypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3951-07.2007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2972590PMC
November 2007

Restoration of cone vision in a mouse model of achromatopsia.

Nat Med 2007 Jun 21;13(6):685-7. Epub 2007 May 21.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA.

Loss of cone function in the central retina is a pivotal event in the development of severe vision impairment for many prevalent blinding diseases. Complete achromatopsia is a genetic defect resulting in cone vision loss in 1 in 30,000 individuals. Using adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy, we show that it is possible to target cones and rescue both the cone-mediated electroretinogram response and visual acuity in the Gnat2 ( cpfl3 ) mouse model of achromatopsia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm1596DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985124PMC
June 2007

Increased intramyocellular lipid accumulation in HIV-infected women with fat redistribution.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2006 Feb 13;100(2):609-14. Epub 2005 Oct 13.

Division of Musculoskeletal Radiology, Dept. of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., YAW 6048, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-lipodystrophy syndrome is associated with fat redistribution and metabolic abnormalities, including insulin resistance. Increased intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) concentrations are thought to contribute to insulin resistance, being linked to metabolic and body composition variables. We examined 46 women: HIV infected with fat redistribution (n = 25), and age- and body mass index-matched HIV-negative controls (n = 21). IMCL was measured by 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and body composition was assessed with computed tomography, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), and magnetic resonance imaging. Plasma lipid profile and markers of glucose homeostasis were obtained. IMCL was significantly increased in tibialis anterior [135.0 +/- 11.5 vs. 85.1 +/- 13.2 institutional units (IU); P = 0.007] and soleus [643.7 +/- 61.0 vs. 443.6 +/- 47.2 IU, P = 0.017] of HIV-infected subjects compared with controls. Among HIV-infected subjects, calf subcutaneous fat area (17.8 +/- 2.3 vs. 35.0 +/- 2.5 cm2, P < 0.0001) and extremity fat by DEXA (11.8 +/- 1.1 vs. 15.6 +/- 1.2 kg, P = 0.024) were reduced, whereas visceral abdominal fat (125.2 +/- 11.3 vs. 74.4 +/- 12.3 cm2, P = 0.004), triglycerides (131.1 +/- 11.0 vs. 66.3 +/- 12.3 mg/dl, P = 0.0003), and fasting insulin (10.8 +/- 0.9 vs. 7.0 +/- 0.9 microIU/ml, P = 0.004) were increased compared with control subjects. Triglycerides (r = 0.39, P = 0.05) and extremity fat as percentage of whole body fat by DEXA (r = -0.51, P = 0.01) correlated significantly with IMCL in the HIV but not the control group. Extremity fat (beta = -633.53, P = 0.03) remained significantly associated with IMCL among HIV-infected patients, controlling for visceral abdominal fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat, and antiretroviral medications in a regression model. These data demonstrate increased IMCL in HIV-infected women with a mixed lipodystrophy pattern, being most significantly associated with reduced extremity fat. Further studies are necessary to determine the relationship between extremity fat loss and increased IMCL in HIV-infected women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00797.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205444PMC
February 2006

Developmental regulation of calcium-dependent feedback in Xenopus rods.

J Gen Physiol 2004 Nov;124(5):569-85

Center for Vision Research, Weiskotten Hall, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.

The kinetics of activation and inactivation in the phototransduction pathway of developing Xenopus rods were studied. The gain of the activation steps in transduction (amplification) increased and photoresponses became more rapid as the rods matured from the larval to the adult stage. The time to peak was significantly shorter in adults (1.3 s) than tadpoles (2 s). Moreover, adult rods recovered twice as fast from saturating flashes than did larval rods without changes of the dominant time constant (2.5 s). Guanylate cyclase (GC) activity, determined using IBMX steps, increased in adult rods from approximately 1.1 s(-1) to 3.7 s(-1) 5 s after a saturating flash delivering 6,000 photoisomerizations. In larval rods, it increased from 1.8 s(-1) to 4.0 s(-1) 9 s after an equivalent flash. However, the ratio of amplification to the measured dark phosphodiesterase activity was constant. Guanylate cyclase-activating protein (GCAP1) levels and normalized Na+/Ca2+, K+ exchanger currents were increased in adults compared with tadpoles. Together, these results are consistent with the acceleration of the recovery phase in adult rods via developmental regulation of calcium homeostasis. Despite these large changes, the single photon response amplitude was approximately 0.6 pA throughout development. Reduction of calcium feedback with BAPTA increased adult single photon response amplitudes threefold and reduced its cutoff frequency to that observed with tadpole rods. Linear mathematical modeling suggests that calcium-dependent feedback can account for the observed differences in the power spectra of larval and adult rods. We conclude that larval Xenopus maximize sensitivity at the expense of slower response kinetics while adults maximize response kinetics at the expense of sensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1085/jgp.200409162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234010PMC
November 2004

Circadian modulation of temporal properties of the rod pathway in larval Xenopus.

J Neurophysiol 2004 Nov;92(5):2672-84

Department of Ophthalmology and Center for Vision Research, Weiskotten Hall, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.

Circadian clocks are integral components of visual systems. They help adjust an animal's vision to diurnal changes in ambient illumination. To understand how circadian clocks may adapt visual sensitivity, we investigated the spatial and temporal properties of optomotor responses of young Xenopus laevis tadpoles (Nieuwkoop and Faber, developmental stage 48) using a modified 2-alternative preferential-viewing method. We maintained animals in constant darkness and measured temporal sensitivity during their subjective day and night. We found that their behavioral responses can be explained in terms of 2 mechanisms with different temporal properties. The more sensitive mechanism operates at low temporal frequencies and intermediate wavelengths (lambdamax = 520 nm), properties consistent with rod signals. Threshold for this mechanism is approximately 0.04 photoisomerizations rod(-1) s(-1), consistent with single-photon detection. A less-sensitive mechanism responds to higher temporal frequencies (cutoff = 12 Hz) and has broad spectral sensitivity (370-720 nm), consistent with multiple classes of cone signals. This cone mechanism does not change, but the cutoff frequency of the more sensitive rod mechanism shifts from 0.35 Hz at night to 1.1 Hz during the subjective day, thereby enhancing the animal's sensitivity to dim rapidly changing stimuli. This day-night shift in rod temporal cutoff frequency cycles in complete darkness, characteristic of an endogenous circadian rhythm. The temporal properties of the behaviorally measured rod mechanism correspond closely with those of the electrophysiologically measured retinal response, indicating that the rod signals are modulated at the level of the outer retina.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00344.2004DOI Listing
November 2004

Metabolic modulation of visual sensitivity.

Adv Exp Med Biol 2003 ;533:259-67

Center for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-0067-4_32DOI Listing
August 2004

Heterologous expression of limulus rhodopsin.

J Biol Chem 2003 Oct 23;278(42):40493-502. Epub 2003 Jun 23.

Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

Invertebrates such as Drosophila or Limulus assemble their visual pigment into the specialized rhabdomeric membranes of photoreceptors where phototransduction occurs. We have investigated the biosynthesis of rhodopsin from the Limulus lateral eye with three cell culture expression systems: mammalian COS1 cells, insect Sf9 cells, and amphibian Xenopus oocytes. We extracted and affinity-purified epitope-tagged Limulus rhodopsin expressed from a cDNA or cRNA from these systems. We found that all three culture systems could efficiently synthesize the opsin polypeptide in quantities comparable with that found for bovine opsin. However, none of the systems expressed a protein that stably bound 11-cis-retinal. The protein expressed in COS1 and Sf9 cells appeared to be misfolded, improperly localized, and proteolytically degraded. Similarly, Xenopus oocytes injected with Limulus opsin cRNA did not evoke light-sensitive currents after incubation with 11-cis-retinal. However, injecting Xenopus oocytes with mRNA from Limulus lateral eyes yielded light-dependent conductance changes after incubation with 11-cis-retinal. Also, expressing Limulus opsin cDNA in the R1-R6 photoreceptors of transgenic Drosophila yielded a visual pigment that bound retinal, had normal spectral properties, and coupled to the endogenous phototransduction cascade. These results indicate that Limulus opsin may require one or more photoreceptor-specific proteins for correct folding and/or chromophore binding. This may be a general property of invertebrate opsins and may underlie some of the functional differences between invertebrate and vertebrate visual pigments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M304567200DOI Listing
October 2003