Spectral Tuning of Phototaxis by a Go-Opsin in the Rhabdomeric Eyes of Platynereis.

M Gühmann, H Jia, N Randel, C Verasztó, LA Bezares-Calderón, NK Michiels, S Yokoyama, G Jékely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Phototaxis is characteristic of the pelagic larval stage of most bottom-dwelling marine invertebrates [1]. Larval phototaxis is mediated by simple eyes that can express various types of light-sensitive G-protein-coupled receptors known as opsins [2-8]. Since opsins diversified early during metazoan evolution in the marine environment [9], understanding underwater light detection could elucidate this diversification. Opsins have been classified into three major families, the r-opsins, the c-opsins, and the Go/RGR opsins, a family uniting Go-opsins, retinochromes, RGR opsins, and neuropsins [10, 11]. The Go-opsins form an ancient and poorly characterized group retained only in marine invertebrate genomes. Here, we characterize a Go-opsin from the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii [3-5, 12-15]. We found Go-opsin1 coexpressed with two r-opsins in depolarizing rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells in the pigmented eyes of Platynereis larvae. We purified recombinant Go-opsin1 and found that it absorbs in the blue-cyan range of the light spectrum. To characterize the function of Go-opsin1, we generated a Go-opsin1 knockout Platynereis line by zinc-finger-nuclease-mediated genome engineering. Go-opsin1 knockout larvae were phototactic but showed reduced efficiency of phototaxis to wavelengths matching the in vitro Go-opsin1 spectrum. Our results highlight spectral tuning of phototaxis as a potential mechanism contributing to opsin diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2271
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015


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