Genetic basis of spectral tuning in the violet-sensitive visual pigment of African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.
Ultraviolet (UV) and violet vision in vertebrates is mediated by UV and violet visual pigments that absorb light maximally (lambdamax) at approximately 360 and 390-440 nm, respectively. So far, a total of 11 amino acid sites only in transmembrane (TM) helices I-III are known to be involved in the functional differentiation of these short wavelength-sensitive type 1 (SWS1) pigments. Here, we have constructed chimeric pigments between the violet pigment of African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) and its ancestral UV pigment. The results show that not only are the absorption spectra of these pigments modulated strongly by amino acids in TM I-VII, but also, for unknown reasons, the overall effect of amino acid changes in TM IV-VII on the lambdamax-shift is abolished. The spectral tuning of the contemporary frog pigment is explained by amino acid replacements F86M, V91I, T93P, V109A, E113D, L116V, and S118T, in which V91I and V109A are previously unknown, increasing the total number of critical amino acid sites that are involved in the spectral tuning of SWS1 pigments in vertebrates to 13.
PubMed ID: 16079229
PMC ID: PMC1456818
Article link: Genetics.
Genes referenced: zswim7