Photopigments and circadian systems of vertebrates

Sharleen M. Argamaso, Allan C. Froehlich, Maureen A. McCall, Eviatar Nevo, Ignacio Provencio, Russell G. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the retinal degeneration (rd) mouse the absence of rod cells and the progressive loss of cones does not result in a decrease in circadian phase shifting responses to light. By contrast, rd/rd mice are unable to perform simple visual tasks. In addition, rodless transgenic mice, and mice homozygous for the retinal degeneration slow (rds) mutation, show unattenuated circadian responses to light. Collectively these data suggest that cone cells lacking outer segments are sufficient to maintain normal circadian responses to light, or some unidentified photoreceptor within the retina. An action spectrum for circadian responses to light in rd/rd mice, and molecular analysis of retinally degenerate mice and blind mole rat eyes, suggests the involvement of a mid-to-long wavelength sensitive cone opsin in photoentrainment. Extraocular photoreceptors of non-mammalian vertebrates are currently being analyzed in order to identify functional and evolutionary similarities between visual and non-visual photoreceptor systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These studies are being supported by AFOSR, NIMH, the Center for Cellular and Molecular Studies in Reproduction (NIH P30-289341, and by the NSF and Technology Center for Biological Timing to RGF and by the Israeli Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology and the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution established by Florence and Theodore Baum-ritter of New York to EN. We thank Bobby Soni for the donation of the universal cone primers and Elizabeth Downes for editorial comments.


  • CSF-contacting neurons
  • Circadian photoreception
  • Extraretinal photoreception
  • Opsin
  • Retinal degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Photopigments and circadian systems of vertebrates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this