Immunoreactive pinopsin in pineal and retinal photoreceptors of various vertebrates

Zs Fejér, Á Szél, P. Röhlich, T. Görcs, M. J. Manzano E Silva, B. Vígh

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Pinopsin is a pineal specific opsin newly identified in the pineal of birds which has an absorption maxinum at 470 nm. As the opsin content of photoreceptors in the pineal complex of several species is not yet known, in the present work, we studied their pinopsin immunoreactivity in various vertebrates from cyclostomes to mammals. We also compared the immunoreactivity of pineal photoreceptors to that of retinal cones and rods of each animal. For the immunocytochemistry, we raised antibodies in rabbits against a 14 amino acids containing part of the chicken pinopsin molecule. The immunoreaction was performed at the electron microscopic level. The pineal organs show a great diversity in vertebrates: there is a pineal organ present from cyclostomes to mammals, in addition, there is a parapineal organ in cyclostomes and fishes, a frontal organ in frogs and a parietal eye in several reptiles. We detected a strong pinopsin immunoreaction on most of the pinealocytes of birds and on the large photoreceptor-type of the pineal of reptiles. Rod-type photoreceptors of the avian retina and a cone of the reptile retina was immunoreactive as well. According to the known absorption maxinum of pinopsin, the immunoreactivity may indicate a green-blue light-sensitivity for these photoreceptors. The immunoreactivity was less pronounced or absent in mammals as well as in less differentiated species. The pineal organ of snakes and the parietal eye of reptiles equally failed to exhibit pinopsin immunoreactive photoreceptors, presumably, due to the absence of green-blue light-sensitive photoreceptors of pinopsin-type in these species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-471
Number of pages9
JournalActa biologica Hungarica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1997



  • Electron microscopy
  • Immunoreaction
  • Pineal organs
  • Pinopsin
  • Retina
  • Vertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Neurology

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