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Reconstructing the ancestral butterfly eye: focus on the opsins.
J Exp Biol. 2008 Jun; 211(Pt 11):1805-13.JE

Abstract

The eyes of butterflies are remarkable, because they are nearly as diverse as the colors of wings. Much of eye diversity can be traced to alterations in the number, spectral properties and spatial distribution of the visual pigments. Visual pigments are light-sensitive molecules composed of an opsin protein and a chromophore. Most butterflies have eyes that contain visual pigments with a wavelength of peak absorbance, lambda(max), in the ultraviolet (UV, 300-400 nm), blue (B, 400-500 nm) and long wavelength (LW, 500-600 nm) part of the visible light spectrum, respectively, encoded by distinct UV, B and LW opsin genes. In the compound eye of butterflies, each individual ommatidium is composed of nine photoreceptor cells (R1-9) that generally express only one opsin mRNA per cell, although in some butterfly eyes there are ommatidial subtypes in which two opsins are co-expressed in the same photoreceptor cell. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of opsin cDNAs from the five butterfly families, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae, Lycaenidae and Riodinidae, and comparative analysis of opsin gene expression patterns from four of the five families, I propose a model for the patterning of the ancestral butterfly eye that is most closely aligned with the nymphalid eye. The R1 and R2 cells of the main retina expressed UV-UV-, UV-B- or B-B-absorbing visual pigments while the R3-9 cells expressed a LW-absorbing visual pigment. Visual systems of existing butterflies then underwent an adaptive expansion based on lineage-specific B and LW opsin gene multiplications and on alterations in the spatial expression of opsins within the eye. Understanding the molecular sophistication of butterfly eye complexity is a challenge that, if met, has broad biological implications.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA. abriscoe@uci.edu

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18490396

Citation

Briscoe, Adriana D.. "Reconstructing the Ancestral Butterfly Eye: Focus On the Opsins." The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 211, no. Pt 11, 2008, pp. 1805-13.
Briscoe AD. Reconstructing the ancestral butterfly eye: focus on the opsins. J Exp Biol. 2008;211(Pt 11):1805-13.
Briscoe, A. D. (2008). Reconstructing the ancestral butterfly eye: focus on the opsins. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 211(Pt 11), 1805-13. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.013045
Briscoe AD. Reconstructing the Ancestral Butterfly Eye: Focus On the Opsins. J Exp Biol. 2008;211(Pt 11):1805-13. PubMed PMID: 18490396.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Reconstructing the ancestral butterfly eye: focus on the opsins. A1 - Briscoe,Adriana D, PY - 2008/5/21/pubmed PY - 2008/9/11/medline PY - 2008/5/21/entrez SP - 1805 EP - 13 JF - The Journal of experimental biology JO - J Exp Biol VL - 211 IS - Pt 11 N2 - The eyes of butterflies are remarkable, because they are nearly as diverse as the colors of wings. Much of eye diversity can be traced to alterations in the number, spectral properties and spatial distribution of the visual pigments. Visual pigments are light-sensitive molecules composed of an opsin protein and a chromophore. Most butterflies have eyes that contain visual pigments with a wavelength of peak absorbance, lambda(max), in the ultraviolet (UV, 300-400 nm), blue (B, 400-500 nm) and long wavelength (LW, 500-600 nm) part of the visible light spectrum, respectively, encoded by distinct UV, B and LW opsin genes. In the compound eye of butterflies, each individual ommatidium is composed of nine photoreceptor cells (R1-9) that generally express only one opsin mRNA per cell, although in some butterfly eyes there are ommatidial subtypes in which two opsins are co-expressed in the same photoreceptor cell. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of opsin cDNAs from the five butterfly families, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae, Lycaenidae and Riodinidae, and comparative analysis of opsin gene expression patterns from four of the five families, I propose a model for the patterning of the ancestral butterfly eye that is most closely aligned with the nymphalid eye. The R1 and R2 cells of the main retina expressed UV-UV-, UV-B- or B-B-absorbing visual pigments while the R3-9 cells expressed a LW-absorbing visual pigment. Visual systems of existing butterflies then underwent an adaptive expansion based on lineage-specific B and LW opsin gene multiplications and on alterations in the spatial expression of opsins within the eye. Understanding the molecular sophistication of butterfly eye complexity is a challenge that, if met, has broad biological implications. SN - 0022-0949 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18490396/Reconstructing_the_ancestral_butterfly_eye:_focus_on_the_opsins_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -