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Since the beginning of this century evidence has accumulated which demonstrates that non-mammalian vertebrates possess photoreceptors situated deep within the brain. While many attempts have been made to localize these sensory cells, studies have either failed or been inconclusive. In this report we have used several experimental approaches to localize the deep brain photoreceptors of the lizard Anolis carolinensis. Using 3 antibodies that bind vertebrate cone opsins, we have immunolabelled cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-contacting neurons located at the ventricular border within the nucleus ventromedialis of the septum. Western blot analysis indicates that these antibodies recognized a single 40 kD protein in ocular, anterior brain, and pineal extracts. Immunoblots of rodent brain did not show a similar protein band. We have also identified specific retinoids associated with phototransduction (11-cis and all-trans-3,4-didehydroretinaldehyde) within anterior brain extracts. This combined data provides the most detailed analysis of deep brain photoreceptors in any vertebrate. Consequently, we feel Anolis provides an excellent model to study this unexplored sensory system of the vertebrates. © 1993 Springer-Verlag.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Comparative Physiology A

Publication Date





33 - 45