Ocular and extraocular roles of neuropsin in vertebrates

Trends Neurosci. 2022 Mar;45(3):200-211. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2021.11.008. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


The ability to detect and adapt to different levels of ambient light is critical for animal survival. Light detection is the basis of vision, but light also regulates eye development and drives several non-image-forming functions, including synchronizing circadian rhythms to the daily light/dark cycle, restricting pupils in response to changes in light intensity, and modulating mood in response to light. Until the early 2000s, these functions were thought to be solely mediated by ocular photoreceptors. However, neuropsin (OPN5), a UV-sensitive opsin, has been receiving growing attention, as new methods have revealed previously unappreciated functions of OPN5. In fact, OPN5-mediated extraocular and deep-brain photoreception have recently been described for the first time in mammals. This review aims to synthesize current knowledge of the properties and functions of OPN5 across vertebrates.

Keywords: OPN5; UV light; circadian rhythms; neuropsin; opsins; photoreception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Mammals
  • Opsins* / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular*


  • Opsins