Substituição evolucionária de visão UV por visão violeta em peixes

terça-feira, setembro 29, 2009

Evolutionary replacement of UV vision by violet vision in fish

Takashi Tadaa, Ahmet Altuna,b and Shozo Yokoyamaa,1

+ Author Affiliations

aDepartment of Biology and

bCherry L. Emerson Center for Scientific Computation & Department of Chemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322

Edited by Masatoshi Nei, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and approved August 31, 2009 (received for review April 7, 2009)


The vertebrate ancestor possessed ultraviolet (UV) vision and many species have retained it during evolution. Many other species switched to violet vision and, then again, some avian species switched back to UV vision. These UV and violet vision are mediated by short wavelength-sensitive (SWS1) pigments that absorb light maximally (λmax) at approximately 360 and 390–440 nm, respectively. It is not well understood why and how these functional changes have occurred. Here, we cloned the pigment of scabbardfish (Lepidopus fitchi) with a λmax of 423 nm, an example of violet-sensitive SWS1 pigment in fish. Mutagenesis experiments and quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) computations show that the violet-sensitivity was achieved by the deletion of Phe-86 that converted the unprotonated Schiff base-linked 11-cis-retinal to a protonated form. The finding of a violet-sensitive SWS1 pigment in scabbardfish suggests that many other fish also have orthologous violet pigments. The isolation and comparison of such violet and UV pigments in fish living in different ecological habitats will open an unprecedented opportunity to elucidate not only the molecular basis of phenotypic adaptations, but also the genetics of UV and violet vision.

adaptive evolution quantum chemistry scabbardfish


1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Author contributions: S.Y. designed research; T.T., A.A., and S.Y. performed research; S.Y. analyzed data; and S.Y. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.


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