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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The pineal organ is the first differentiated light receptor in the embryonic salmon, Salmo salar L.

The initial appearance of S-antigen, alpha-transducin, opsin and 5-HT during embryogenesis of the pineal organ and retina was studied by means of immunocytochemistry in the Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. The presence of these substances may be taken as a good indication of photoreceptor differentiation; alpha-transducin and S-antigen are involved in the phototransduction process, opsin is the proteinaceous component of the photopigment rhodopsin, and 5-HT is a neurotransmitter or neurohormone produced by pineal photoreceptors. Two days after the retinal pigment layer became visible in the eggs, the outer segments of a few pineal photosensory cells showed immunoreactivity to opsin and alpha-transducin. At the same time S-antigen and serotonin were present in pineal cells of the photoreceptor type. The number of immunoreactive cells in the pineal organ increased up to hatching. In the differentiating retina of the salmon, no immunoreactivity to antibodies raised against the mentioned substances were detectable until after hatching. These results indicate that in ontogeny the developing pineal organ of the salmon embryo has the ability to perceive light information much earlier than the retina.[1]


  1. The pineal organ is the first differentiated light receptor in the embryonic salmon, Salmo salar L. Ostholm, T., Brännäs, E., van Veen, T. Cell Tissue Res. (1987) [Pubmed]
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