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Using immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis, we demonstrate that melanopsin is localised in cells around the central pore of lateral line neuromasts in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Since melanopsin is a known photoreceptor pigment with diverse functions in vertebrates, we suggest that the lateral line of Xenopus laevis, which is primarily a mechanoreceptor, might also be light sensitive. Potential functions of such photosensitivity are discussed, including its role in mediating locomotor responses following dermal illumination.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Biol

Publication Date





2826 - 2829


Lateral line, Mechanoreceptor, Melanopsin, Multimodality, Photosensitivity, Phototaxis, Animals, Lateral Line System, Light, Mechanoreceptors, Rod Opsins, Xenopus laevis