ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-160622-5
Recruitment of Rod Photoreceptors from Short-Wavelength-Sensitive Cones during the Evolution of Nocturnal Vision in Mammals
Kim, J.W., Yang, H.J., Oel, A.P., Brooks, M.J., Jia, L., Plachetzki, D.C., Li, W., Allison, W.T., Swaroop, A.
Date: 2016
Source: Developmental Cell   37: 520-532 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Allison, Ted, Jia, Li, Li, Wei, Oel, Phil
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors/metabolism
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Lineage/genetics
  • Cell Lineage/radiation effects
  • Chickens
  • Chromatin/metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic/radiation effects
  • Eye Proteins/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/radiation effects
  • Light*
  • Mammals/genetics
  • Mammals/metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Night Vision/radiation effects*
  • Opsins/metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid/genetics
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells/metabolism*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells/radiation effects
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells/metabolism*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells/radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
PubMed: 27326930 Full text @ Dev. Cell
Vertebrate ancestors had only cone-like photoreceptors. The duplex retina evolved in jawless vertebrates with the advent of highly photosensitive rod-like photoreceptors. Despite cones being the arbiters of high-resolution color vision, rods emerged as the dominant photoreceptor in mammals during a nocturnal phase early in their evolution. We investigated the evolutionary and developmental origins of rods in two divergent vertebrate retinas. In mice, we discovered genetic and epigenetic vestiges of short-wavelength cones in developing rods, and cell-lineage tracing validated the genesis of rods from S cones. Curiously, rods did not derive from S cones in zebrafish. Our study illuminates several questions regarding the evolution of duplex retina and supports the hypothesis that, in mammals, the S-cone lineage was recruited via the Maf-family transcription factor NRL to augment rod photoreceptors. We propose that this developmental mechanism allowed the adaptive exploitation of scotopic niches during the nocturnal bottleneck early in mammalian evolution.