Immunocytochemical identification of photoreceptor proteins in hypothalamic cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons of the larval lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)
García-Fernández JM., Foster RG.
Antibodies directed against different visual pigment opsins, and an antibody raised against the C terminal of the α-subunit of retinal G protein (transducin) labelled cerebrospinal fluid-contacting cells located within the hypothalamus (postoptic commissural nucleus and ventral hypothalamic nucleus) of ammocoete lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). These antibodies also labelled photoreceptor cells within the retina and the pineal and parapineal organs, but no other areas of the brain. Despite considerable behavioural and physiological evidence for the existence of deep brain photoreceptors, numerous studies have failed to identify photoreceptor proteins within the basal brain. The results presented in this paper support our recent results in the lizard Anolis carolinensis, suggesting that a group of cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons within the vertebrate brain have a photosensory capacity. We speculate that these cells mediate extraocular and extrapineal photoreception in nonmammalian vertebrates. © 1994 Springer-Verlag.