The visual pigment xenopsin is widespread in protostome eyes and impacts the view on eye evolution
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versioneLIFE. 2020, 9, e55193. 10.7554/eLife.55193
Photoreceptor cells in the eyes of Bilateria are often classified into microvillar cells with rhabdomeric opsin and ciliary cells with ciliary opsin, each type having specialized molecular components and physiology. First data on the recently discovered xenopsin point towards a more complex situation in protostomes. In this study, we provide clear evidence that xenopsin enters cilia in the eye of the larval bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata and triggers phototaxis. As reported from a mollusc, we find xenopsin coexpressed with rhabdomeric-opsin in eye photoreceptor cells bearing both microvilli and cilia in larva of the annelid Malacoceros fuliginosus. This is the first organism known to have both xenopsin and ciliary opsin, showing that these opsins are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Compiling existing data, we propose that xenopsin may play an important role in many protostome eyes and provides new insights into the function, evolution, and possible plasticity of animal eye photoreceptor cells.