Spatio-temporal characterization of retinal opsin gene expression during thyroid hormone-induced and natural development of rainbow trout
The abundance and spatial distribution of retinal cone photoreceptors change during thyroid hormone (TH)-induced and natural development of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). These changes are thought to allow the fish to adapt to different photic environments throughout its life history. To date, the ontogeny of rainbow trout cone photoreceptors has been examined using physiological and morphological approaches. In this study, we extended these observations by measuring opsin gene expression in retinal quadrants during natural and TH-induced development. Gene expression during natural development was investigated in retinae from fish at both parr and smolt stages. The role of TH in modulating opsin gene expression was determined in TH-treated parr and control fish sampled after two, nine, and 22 days of treatment. Total RNA was isolated from each retinal quadrant and steady-state opsin mRNA levels were measured using reverse transcriptase real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) analysis. Expression of ultraviolet-sensitive opsin (SWS1), rod opsin (RH1), middle wavelength-sensitive opsin (RH2), and long wavelength-sensitive opsin (LWS) transcripts vary spatially in the parr retina. Smolts, compared to parr, had downregulated SWS1 expression in all quadrants, lower LWS expression dorsally, higher RH1 expression nasally, and higher RH2 expression dorsally. In TH-treated parr, SWS1 opsin expression was downregulated in the nasal quadrants by two days. SWS1 displayed the greatest degree of downregulation in all quadrants after nine days of treatment, with an increase in short wavelength-sensitive (SWS2) and RH2 opsin mRNA expression in the temporal quadrants. This study reveals that opsin genes display spatially significant differences within rainbow trout retina in their level of mRNA expression, and that regulation of opsin expression is a dynamic process that is influenced by TH. This is particularly evident for SWS1 gene expression in parr following TH-induced and natural development.(Received January 25 2006)
(Accepted February 4 2006)
Key Words: opsin; Oncorhynchus mykiss; cone photoreceptor; thyroid hormone; development.
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Craig W. Hawryshyn, Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. E-mail: email@example.com
p1 Current address: University of Michigan, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, 3008 Kraus Natural Sciences Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan.