Phyllis R. Robinson

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The violet- and ultraviolet-sensitive visual pigments of birds belong to the same class of pigments as the violet-sensitive (so-called blue) pigments of mammals. However, unlike the pigments from mammals and other vertebrate taxa which, depending on species, have lambda(max) values of either around 430 nm or around 370 nm, avian pigments are found with(More)
The evolution of cone opsin genes is characterized by a dynamic process of gene birth and death through gene duplication and loss. However, the forces governing the retention and death of opsin genes are poorly understood. African cichlid fishes have a range of ecologies, differing in habitat and foraging style, which make them ideal for examining the(More)
Two critical amino acids in the visual pigment rhodopsin are Lys-296, the site of attachment of retinal to the protein through a protonated Schiff base linkage, and Glu-113, the Schiff base counterion. Mutation of Lys-296 or Glu-113 results in constitutive activation of opsin, as assayed by its ability to activate transducin in the absence of added(More)
Recently, melanopsin has emerged as the leading candidate for the elusive photopigment of the mammalian circadian system. This novel opsin-like protein is expressed in retinal ganglion cells that form the retinohypothalamic tract, a neuronal connection between the retina and the suprachiasmatic nucleus. These hypothalamic structures contain the circadian(More)
The peak sensitivities (λ(max)) of the short-wavelength-sensitive-1 (SWS1) pigments in mammals range from the ultraviolet (UV) (360-400 nm) to the violet (400-450 nm) regions of the spectrum. In most cases, a UV or violet peak is determined by the residue present at site 86, with Phe conferring UV sensitivity (UVS) and either Ser, Tyr or Val causing a shift(More)
Opsin proteins are essential molecules in mediating the ability of animals to detect and use light for diverse biological functions. Therefore, understanding the evolutionary history of opsins is key to understanding the evolution of light detection and photoreception in animals. As genomic data have appeared and rapidly expanded in quantity, it has become(More)
The short-wave-sensitive (SWS) visual pigments of vertebrate cone photoreceptors are divided into two classes on the basis of molecular identity, SWS1 and SWS2. Only the SWS1 class are present in mammals. The SWS1 pigments can be further subdivided into violet-sensitive (VS), with lambda(max) (the peak of maximal absorbance) values generally between 400 and(More)
The hyperpolarizing receptor potential in vertebrate rod photoreceptors appears to be mediated by the second messenger, cyclic GMP. Injection of cGMP into rods or application of cGMP to inside-out membrane patches activates a conductance resembling that produced by light. Light produces a rapid reduction of cGMP in living rods, leading to closure of sodium(More)
To assess the dolphin's capacity for color vision and determine the absorption maxima of the dolphin visual pigments, we have cloned and expressed the dolphin opsin genes. On the basis of sequence homology with other mammalian opsins, a dolphin rod and long-wavelength sensitive (LWS) cone opsin cDNAs were identified. Both dolphin opsin cDNAs were expressed(More)
It has been observed that deep-foraging marine mammals have visual pigments that are blue shifted in terms of their wavelength of maximal absorbance (lambda(max)) when compared to analogous pigments from terrestrial mammals. The mechanisms underlying the spectral tuning of two of these blue-shifted pigments have recently been elucidated and depend on three(More)