Preservation of light signaling to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in vitamin A-deficient mice

Carol L. Thompson, William S. Blaner, Russell N. Van Gelder, Katherine Lai, Loredana Quadro, Vittorio Colantuoni, Max E. Gottesman, Aziz Sancar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


To investigate the role of retinal-based pigments (opsins) in circadian photoreception in mice, animals mutated in plasma retinol binding protein were placed on a vitamin A-free diet and tested for photic induction of gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. After 10 months on the vitamin A-free diet, the majority of mice contained no detectable retinal in their eyes. These mice demonstrated fully intact photic signaling to the suprachiasmatic nucleus as measured by acute mPer mRNA induction in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in response to bright or dim light. The data suggest that a non-opsin pigment is the primary circadian photoreceptor in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11708-11713
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 25 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Circadian photoreceptor
  • Retinol binding protein


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