Avian ultraviolet/violet cones identified as probable magnetoreceptors

Background: The Radical-Pair-Model postulates that the reception of magnetic compass directions in birds is based on spin-chemical reactions in specialized photopigments in the eye, with cryptochromes discussed as candid
Background: The Radical-Pair-Model postulates that the reception of magnetic compass directions in birds is based on spin-chemical reactions in specialized photopigments in the eye, with cryptochromes discussed as candidate molecules. But so far, the exact subcellular characterization of these molecules in the retina remained unknown. Methodology/Principal Findings: We here describe the localization of cryptochrome 1a (Cry1a) in the retina of European robins, Erithacus rubecula, and domestic chickens, Gallus gallus, two species that have been shown to use the magnetic field for compass orientation. In both species, Cry1a is present exclusively in the ultraviolet/violet (UV/V) cones that are distributed across the entire retina. Electron microscopy shows Cry1a in ordered bands along the membrane discs of the outer segment, and cell fractionation reveals Cry1a in the membrane fraction, suggesting the possibility that Cry1a is anchored along membranes. Conclusions/Significance: We provide first structural evidence that Cry1a occurs within a sensory structure arranged in a way that fulfils essential requirements of the Radical-Pair-Model. Our findings, identifying the UV/V-cones as probable magnetoreceptors, support the assumption that Cry1a is indeed the receptor molecule mediating information on magnetic directions, and thus provide the Radical-Pair-Model with a profound histological background.
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Metadaten
Author:Christine Nießner, Susanne Denzau, Julia Christina Groß, Leo Peichl, Hans-Joachim Bischof, Gerta Fleissner, Wolfgang Wiltschko, Roswitha Wiltschko
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30-113979
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020091
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020091
ISSN:1749-8090
ISSN:1932-6203
Parent Title (English):PLoS ONE
Parent Title (English):PLoS one
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2011/09/01
Year of first Publication:2011
Publishing Institution:Univ.-Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Release Date:2011/09/01
Volume:6
Issue:5. e20091
Note:
Copyright: © 2011 Nießner et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Source:PLoS ONE 6(5): e20091. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020091
HeBIS PPN:274974207
Institutes:Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlungen:Universitätspublikationen
Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0

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