Central regulation of photosensitive membrane turnover in the lateral eye of Limulus. I. Octopamine primes the retina for daily transient rhabdom shedding.
Limulus lateral eyes shed and renew a portion of their photosensitive membrane (rhabdom) daily. Shedding, in many species including Limulus, is regulated by complex interactions between circadian rhythms and light. Little is known about how circadian clocks and photoreceptors communicate to regulate shedding. Limulus photoreceptors do not contain an endogenous circadian oscillator, but rely upon efferent outflow from a central clock for circadian timing. To investigate whether the putative efferent neurotransmitter octopamine (OA) communicates circadian rhythms that prime the lateral eye for transient rhabdom shedding, we decoupled photoreceptors from the clock by transecting the lateral optic nerve (contains the retinal efferent fibers). Overnight (6 h) intraretinal injections of 40 microM OA restored transient shedding to lateral eyes with transected nerves to levels comparable to those of intact internal control eyes. To determine whether OA acts alone in communicating circadian rhythms that prime the lateral eye for transient shedding, we "primed" eyes with intact nerves for transient shedding with exogenous OA during subjective day. In nature, lateral eyes shed their rhabdoms only once a day at dawn following overnight efferent priming. Eyes in animals placed in darkness during subjective day, when the retinal efferents are quiescent, and injected for 6 h with 40 microM OA shed their rhabdoms in response to a second introduction to light. Untreated control eyes of the same animals did not. The same results were observed in vitro in lateral eyes treated similarly. Octopamine is the only efferent neurotransmitter/messenger required to make lateral eyes competent for transient shedding. Phentolamine, an OA receptor antagonist, reduced the number of photoreceptors primed for transient shedding and the amount of rhabdom shed in those photoreceptors suggesting that OA acts via a specific OA receptor.
Khadilkar, RV; Mytinger, JR; Thomason, LE; Runyon, SL; Washicosky, KJ; Jinks, RN
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