The murine cone photoreceptor: a single cone type expresses both S and M opsins with retinal spatial patterning

Neuron. 2000 Sep;27(3):513-23. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)00062-3.


Mice express S and M opsins that form visual pigments for the detection of light and visual signaling in cones. Here, we show that S opsin transcription is higher than that of M opsin, which supports ultraviolet (UV) sensitivity greater than midwavelength sensitivity. Surprisingly, most cones coexpress both S and M opsins in a common cone cell type throughout the retina. All cones express M opsin, but the levels are graded from dorsal to ventral. The levels of S opsin are relatively constant. However, in the far dorsal retina, S opsin is repressed stochastically, such that some cones express M opsin only. These observations indicate that two different mechanisms control M and S opsin expression. We suggest that a common cone type is patterned across the retinal surface to produce phenotypic cone subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Rod Opsins / biosynthesis*
  • Rod Opsins / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rod Opsins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF190670
  • GENBANK/AF190672
  • GENBANK/AF191080
  • GENBANK/AF191081
  • GENBANK/AF191082
  • GENBANK/AF191083
  • GENBANK/AF191084
  • GENBANK/AF191085
  • GENBANK/AF195071