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BMC Evol Biol 2018 Nov 12;181:168. doi: 10.1186/s12862-018-1276-0.
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The crowns have eyes: multiple opsins found in the eyes of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci.

Lowe EK , Garm AL , Ullrich-Lüter E , Cuomo C , Arnone MI .

BACKGROUND: Opsins are G protein-coupled receptors used for both visual and non-visual photoreception, and these proteins evolutionarily date back to the base of the bilaterians. In the current sequencing age, phylogenomic analysis has proven to be a powerful tool, facilitating the increase in knowledge about diversity within the opsin subclasses and, so far, at least nine types of opsins have been identified. Within echinoderms, opsins have been studied in Echinoidea and Ophiuroidea, which do not possess proper image forming eyes, but rather widely dispersed dermal photoreceptors. However, most species of Asteroidea, the starfish, possess true eyes and studying them will shed light on the diversity of opsin usage within echinoderms and help resolve the evolutionary history of opsins. RESULTS: Using high-throughput RNA sequencing, we have sequenced and analyzed the transcriptomes of different Acanthaster planci tissue samples: eyes, radial nerve, tube feet and a mixture of tissues from other organs. At least ten opsins were identified, and eight of them were found significantly differentially expressed in both eyes and radial nerve, with R-opsin being the most highly expressed in the eye. CONCLUSION: This study provides new important insight into the involvement of opsins in visual and nonvisual photoreception. Of relevance, we found the first indication of an r-opsin photopigment expressed in a well-developed visual eye in a deuterostome animal. Additionally, we provided tissue specific A. planci transcriptomes that will aid in future Evo Devo studies.

PubMed ID: 30419810
PMC ID: PMC6233551
Article link: BMC Evol Biol

Genes referenced: rhol1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Aizenberg, Calcitic microlenses as part of the photoreceptor system in brittlestars. 2001, Pubmed, Echinobase