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Citation
Gegear, R.J., Foley, L.E., Casselman, A., Reppert, S.M. (2010). Animal cryptochromes mediate magnetoreception by an unconventional photochemical mechanism.  Nature 463(7282): 804--807.
FlyBase ID
FBrf0209965
Publication Type
Research paper
Abstract

Understanding the biophysical basis of animal magnetoreception has been one of the greatest challenges in sensory biology. Recently it was discovered that the light-dependent magnetic sense of Drosophila melanogaster is mediated by the ultraviolet (UV)-A/blue light photoreceptor cryptochrome (Cry). Here we show, using a transgenic approach, that the photoreceptive, Drosophila-like type 1 Cry and the transcriptionally repressive, vertebrate-like type 2 Cry of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) can both function in the magnetoreception system of Drosophila and require UV-A/blue light (wavelength below 420 nm) to do so. The lack of magnetic responses for both Cry types at wavelengths above 420 nm does not fit the widely held view that tryptophan triad-generated radical pairs mediate the ability of Cry to sense a magnetic field. We bolster this assessment by using a mutant form of Drosophila and monarch type 1 Cry and confirm that the tryptophan triad pathway is not crucial in magnetic transduction. Together, these results suggest that animal Crys mediate light-dependent magnetoreception through an unconventional photochemical mechanism. This work emphasizes the utility of Drosophila transgenesis for elucidating the precise mechanisms of Cry-mediated magnetosensitivity in insects and also in vertebrates such as migrating birds.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC2820607 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Language of Publication
    English
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Journal
    Abbreviation
    Nature
    Title
    Nature
    Publication Year
    1869-
    ISBN/ISSN
    0028-0836
    Data From Reference
    Alleles (10)
    Genes (6)
    Natural transposons (1)
    Experimental Tools (1)
    Transgenic Constructs (7)