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Review
. 2006 Jun 1;83(3):163-71.
doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2006.01.005. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

Photosensory Transduction in Unicellular Eukaryotes: A Comparison Between Related Ciliates Blepharisma Japonicum and Stentor Coeruleus and Photoreceptor Cells of Higher Organisms

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Review

Photosensory Transduction in Unicellular Eukaryotes: A Comparison Between Related Ciliates Blepharisma Japonicum and Stentor Coeruleus and Photoreceptor Cells of Higher Organisms

Katarzyna Sobierajska et al. J Photochem Photobiol B. .

Abstract

Blepharisma japonicum and Stentor coeruleus are related ciliates, conspicuous by their photosensitivity. They are capable of avoiding illuminated areas in the surrounding medium, gathering exclusively in most shaded places (photodispersal). Such behaviour results mainly from motile photophobic response occurring in ciliates. This light-avoiding response is observed during a relatively rapid increase in illumination intensity (light stimulus) and consists of cessation of cell movement, a period of backward movement (ciliary reversal), followed by a forward swimming, usually in a new direction. The photosensitivity of ciliates is ascribed to their photoreceptor system, composed of pigment granules, containing the endogenous photoreceptor -- blepharismin in Blepharisma japonicum, and stentorin in Stentor coeruleus. A light stimulus, applied to both ciliates activates specific stimulus transduction processes leading to the electrical changes at the plasma membrane, correlated with a ciliary reversal during photophobic response. These data indicate that both ciliates Blepharisma japonicum and Stentor coeruleus, the lower eukaryotes, are capable of transducing the perceived light stimuli in a manner taking place in some photoreceptor cells of higher eukaryotes. Similarities and differences concerning particular stages of light transduction in eukaryotes at different evolutional levels are discussed in this article.

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