Molecular evolution of vertebrate visual pigments

  title={Molecular evolution of vertebrate visual pigments},
  author={Shozo Yokoyama},
  journal={Progress in Retinal and Eye Research},
  • S. Yokoyama
  • Published 1 July 2000
  • Biology
  • Progress in Retinal and Eye Research

The origins of colour vision in vertebrates

Findings reveal that multiple opsin genes originated very early in vertebrate evolution, prior to the separation of the jawed and jawless vertebrate lineages, thereby providing the genetic basis for colour vision in all vertebrates.

A novel Xenopus SWS2, P434 visual pigment: structure, cellular location, and spectral analyses.

A novel green rod opsin cDNA has been cloned and sequenced from the retina of adult Xenopus laevis, which encodes a protein belonging to the SWS2 group of opsins, although it was identified only in the Xenopus green rod cells.

Molecular ecology and adaptation of visual photopigments in craniates

This review discusses the origins and spectral tuning of photopigments that first arose in the agnathans to sample light within the ancient aquatic landscape of the Early Cambrian, detailing the molecular changes that subsequently occurred in each of the opsin classes independently within the main branches of extant jawed gnathostomes.

The molecular genetics and evolution of red and green color vision in vertebrates.

Multiple regression analyses of ancestral and contemporary MWS and LWS pigments show that single mutations S180A, H197Y, Y277F, T285A, A308S, and double mutations S 180A/H197Y shift the lambda(max) of the pigments by -7, -28, -8, -15, -27, and 11 nm, respectively.

Molecular and Functional Diversity of Visual Pigments: Clues from the Photosensitive Opsin-Like Proteins of the Animal Model Hydra

The cnidarian Hydra, the first metazoan owning a nervous system, is proposed as a powerful tool of investigation to study molecular and functional differences between these pigment families, giving new insights on the molecular biology of Hydra photoreception and on comparative physiology of visual pigments.

Gene duplication and differential gene expression play an important role in the diversification of visual pigments in fish.

The role that opsin duplication and differential gene expression have played in the diversification of visual pigments is reviewed and the findings in cichlids are compared to five other taxonomic groups to highlight the ways that their similarities and differences may provide new insights into the molecular genetic basis of sensory adaptation and diversification.

The Visual Ecology of Avian Photoreceptors

  • N. Hart
  • Biology
    Progress in Retinal and Eye Research
  • 2001



Molecular genetic basis of adaptive selection: examples from color vision in vertebrates.

The identification of potentially important amino acid changes of pigments that are potentially important in changing the wavelength of maximal absorption (lambda max) are identified using evolutionary biological means and the effects of these mutations on the shift in lambda max are determined.


Thanks to the molecular characterization of the opsin genes, it is now possible to study the types of opsins associated with certain environmental conditions, and these surveys will provide important first molecular clues to how animals adapt to their environments with respect to their coloration and behavior.

Molecular bases of color vision in vertebrates.

A large number of amino acid changes have been introduced into the bovine rod-specific visual pigment (rhodopsin) by several groups of vision scientists and it is not immediately clear how these mutagenesis results are helpful in elucidating the molecular basis for the divergence of λmax values of visual pigments in nature.

Ectopic expression of ultraviolet-rhodopsins in the blue photoreceptor cells of Drosophila: visual physiology and photochemistry of transgenic animals

It is shown that it is possible to coexpress two different visual pigments functionally in the same cell and produce photoreceptors that display the summed spectral response of the individual pigments.

The molecular basis for UV vision in birds: spectral characteristics, cDNA sequence and retinal localization of the UV-sensitive visual pigment of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus).

This is the first UV opsin from an avian species to be sequenced and expressed in a heterologous system and yielded an absorption spectrum typical of a UV photopigment, with lambdamax 365+/-3 nm.

Design, chemical synthesis, and expression of genes for the three human color vision pigments.

The spectra are the first to be obtained from isolated human color vision pigments and confirm the original identification of the three color vision genes, which was based on genetic evidence.

Properties and Photoactivity of Rhodopsin Mutants

Systematic analysis of the chromophore-binding pocket in rhodopsin and cone pigments has led to an improved understanding of the mechanism of the opsin-shift, and of particular molecular determinants underlying color vision in humans.

The molecular genetics of red and green color vision in mammals.

The additive effects of these amino acid changes fully explain the red-green color vision in a wide range of mammalian species, goldfish, American chameleon (Anolis carolinensis), and pigeon (Columba livia).

Cloning and expression of a Xenopus short wavelength cone pigment.

The short wavelength visual pigment from Xenopus responsible for vision in the blue/violet portion of the spectrum was characterized by sequence spectroscopic analysis and permitted for the first time determination of the extinction coefficient, reactivity to hydroxylamine and presence of a Schiff base.