Co-expressão de xenopsina e opsina rabdomérica em fotorreceptores com microvília e cílios: mero acaso, fortuita necessidade ou design inteligente???

terça-feira, dezembro 12, 2017

Co-expression of xenopsin and rhabdomeric opsin in photoreceptors bearing microvilli and cilia

Oliver Vöcking Ioannis Kourtesis Sharat Chandra Tumu Harald Hausen Is a corresponding author

University of Bergen, Norway University of Pittsburgh, United States


Scenarios for eye PRC evolution.
C-opsin, xenopsin and r-opsin are present in the bilaterian ancestor.


Ciliary and rhabdomeric opsins are employed by different kinds of photoreceptor cells, such as ciliary vertebrate rods and cones or protostome microvillar eye photoreceptors, that have specialized structures and molecular physiologies. We report unprecedented cellular co-expression of rhabdomeric opsin and a visual pigment of the recently described xenopsins in larval eyes of a mollusk. The photoreceptors bear both microvilli and cilia and express proteins that are orthologous to transporters in microvillar and ciliary opsin trafficking. Highly conserved but distinct gene structures suggest that xenopsins and ciliary opsins are of independent origin, irrespective of their mutually exclusive distribution in animals. Furthermore, we propose that frequent opsin gene loss had a large influence on the evolution, organization and function of brain and eye photoreceptor cells in bilaterian animals. The presence of xenopsin in eyes of even different design might be due to a common origin and initial employment of this protein in a highly plastic photoreceptor cell type of mixed microvillar/ciliary organization.

eLife digest

Animal eyes have photoreceptor cells that contain light-sensitive molecules called opsins. Although all animal photoreceptor cells of this kind share a common origin, the cells found in different organisms can differ considerably. The photoreceptor cells in flies, squids and other invertebrates store a type of opsin called r-opsin in thin projections on the surface known as microvilli. On the other hand, the visual photoreceptor cells in human and other vertebrate eyes transport another type of opsin (known as c-opsin) into more prominent extensions called cilia.

It has been suggested that the fly and vertebrate photoreceptor cells represent clearly distinct evolutionary lineages of cells, which diverged early in animal evolution. However, several organisms that are more closely related to flies than to vertebrates have eye photoreceptor cells with cilia. Do all eye photoreceptors with cilia have a common origin in evolution or did they emerge independently in vertebrates and certain invertebrates?

The photoreceptor cells of a marine mollusc called Leptochiton asellus, are unusual because they bear both microvilli and cilia, suggesting they have intermediate characteristics between the two well-known types of photoreceptor cells. Previous studies have shown that these photoreceptor cells use r-opsin, but Vöcking et al. have now detected the presence of an additional opsin in the cells. This opsin is a member of the recently discovered xenopsin family of molecules. Further analyses support the findings of previous studies that suggested this type of opsin emerged early on in animal evolution, independently from c-opsin. Other invertebrates that have cilia on their eye photoreceptors also use xenopsin and not c-opsin.

The findings of Vöcking et al. suggest that, in addition to c-opsin and r-opsin, xenopsin has also driven the evolution of photoreceptor cells in animals. Eye photoreceptor cells in invertebrates with cilia probably share a common origin with the microvilli photoreceptor cells that is distinct from that of vertebrate visual cells. The observation that two very different types of opsin can be produced within a single cell suggests that the molecular processes that respond to light in photoreceptor cells may be much more complex than previously anticipated. Further work on these processes may help us to understand how animal eyes work and how they are affected by disease.