ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-151110-9
Cyp27c1 Red-Shifts the Spectral Sensitivity of Photoreceptors by Converting Vitamin A1 into A2
Enright, J.M., Toomey, M.B., Sato, S.Y., Temple, S.E., Allen, J.R., Fujiwara, R., Kramlinger, V.M., Nagy, L.D., Johnson, K.M., Xiao, Y., How, M.J., Johnson, S.L., Roberts, N.W., Kefalov, V.J., Guengerich, F.P., Corbo, J.C.
Some vertebrate species have evolved means of extending their visual sensitivity beyond the range of human vision. One mechanism of enhancing sensitivity to long-wavelength light is to replace the 11-cis retinal chromophore in photopigments with 11-cis 3,4-didehydroretinal. Despite over a century of research on this topic, the enzymatic basis of this perceptual switch remains unknown. Here, we show that a cytochrome P450 family member, Cyp27c1, mediates this switch by converting vitamin A1 (the precursor of 11-cis retinal) into vitamin A2 (the precursor of 11-cis 3,4-didehydroretinal). Knockout of cyp27c1 in zebrafish abrogates production of vitamin A2, eliminating the animal's ability to red-shift its photoreceptor spectral sensitivity and reducing its ability to see and respond to near-infrared light. Thus, the expression of a single enzyme mediates dynamic spectral tuning of the entire visual system by controlling the balance of vitamin A1 and A2 in the eye.