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Crayfish have two classes of photoreceptors in the retinas of their reflecting superposition eyes. Long-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors, comprised of microvilli from R1-7 cells, make up the main rhabdoms. Eighth retinular cells, located distal to the main rhabdoms, house short-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors. While the opsin involved in long-wavelength sensitivity has long been known, we present the first description of the short-wavelength-sensitive opsin in the retina of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. The expression patterns of these SWS and LWS opsin proteins in the retina are consistent with the previously described locations of SWS and LWS receptors. Crayfish also have a well-characterized extraocular photoreceptor, called the caudal photoreceptor, located in the sixth abdominal ganglion. To search for retinal opsins in the caudal photoreceptor (and elsewhere in the CNS), we used RT-PCR and immunohistochemical labeling. We found both SWS and LWS opsin transcripts not only in the sixth abdominal ganglion, but also in all ganglia of the nerve cord. Immunolabeling shows that both opsins are expressed in nerve fibers that extend from the brain through the entire length of the CNS. Thus, the same two photopigments are used both for vision in the retina and for extraocular functions throughout the CNS of crayfish.


Alexandra C N Kingston, Thomas W Cronin. Short- and long-wavelength-sensitive opsins are involved in photoreception both in the retina and throughout the central nervous system of crayfish. Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology. 2015 Dec;201(12):1137-45

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PMID: 26445969

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