Role of a novel photopigment, melanopsin, in behavioral adaptation to light

S. Kumar Nayak, Timothy J. Jegla, S. Panda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adaptation to changes in the ambient light is of critical importance to life. In mammals, three principal photoadaptation mechanisms depend on ocular photoreception and exhibit spectral sensitivity suggestive of the opsin class of photopigment(s). These include rapid adaptation of the visual system to the ambient light by pupil constriction, direct modulation of neuroendocrine function and entrainment of the circadian clock to the day:night cycle. Surprisingly, these processes can largely function independent of classical rod/cone photoreceptors, suggesting a novel opsin-based signaling mechanism. They appear to involve a recently discovered network of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that make direct or indirect axonal connections to brain centers regulating photoadaptive behaviors. The discovery of a novel opsin, melanopsin, in these cells has offered an exciting entry point to explore, at the molecular level, how mammals adapt to their light environment. There is now genetic proof of a principal role for melanopsin in all three major photoadaptation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume64
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

Fingerprint

Ocular Adaptation
Opsins
Light
Mammals
Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells
Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells
Vertebrate Photoreceptor Cells
Circadian Clocks
Retinal Ganglion Cells
Pupil
Constriction
Brain
melanopsin

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

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abstract = "Adaptation to changes in the ambient light is of critical importance to life. In mammals, three principal photoadaptation mechanisms depend on ocular photoreception and exhibit spectral sensitivity suggestive of the opsin class of photopigment(s). These include rapid adaptation of the visual system to the ambient light by pupil constriction, direct modulation of neuroendocrine function and entrainment of the circadian clock to the day:night cycle. Surprisingly, these processes can largely function independent of classical rod/cone photoreceptors, suggesting a novel opsin-based signaling mechanism. They appear to involve a recently discovered network of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that make direct or indirect axonal connections to brain centers regulating photoadaptive behaviors. The discovery of a novel opsin, melanopsin, in these cells has offered an exciting entry point to explore, at the molecular level, how mammals adapt to their light environment. There is now genetic proof of a principal role for melanopsin in all three major photoadaptation processes.",
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Role of a novel photopigment, melanopsin, in behavioral adaptation to light. / Kumar Nayak, S.; Jegla, Timothy J.; Panda, S.

In: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, Vol. 64, No. 2, 01.01.2007, p. 144-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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