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Ciliary and rhabdomeric photoreceptor-cell circuits form a spectral depth gauge in marine zooplankton.

eLife | May 29, 2018

Ciliary and rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells represent two main lines of photoreceptor-cell evolution in animals. The two cell types coexist in some animals, however how these cells functionally integrate is unknown. We used connectomics to map synaptic paths between ciliary and rhabdomeric photoreceptors in the planktonic larva of the annelid Platynereis and found that ciliary photoreceptors are presynaptic to the rhabdomeric circuit. The behaviors mediated by the ciliary and rhabdomeric cells also interact hierarchically. The ciliary photoreceptors are UV-sensitive and mediate downward swimming in non-directional UV light, a behavior absent in ciliary-opsin knockout larvae. UV avoidance overrides positive phototaxis mediated by the rhabdomeric eyes such that vertical swimming direction is determined by the ratio of blue/UV light. Since this ratio increases with depth, Platynereis larvae may use it as a depth gauge during vertical migration. Our results revealed a functional integration of ciliary and rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells in a zooplankton larva.

Pubmed ID: 29809157 RIS Download

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Associated grants

  • Agency: FP7 Ideas: European Research Council, Id: Grant Agreement 33701
  • Agency: European Research Council, Id: 337011
  • Agency: NEI NIH HHS, Id: R01 EY016400
  • Agency: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Id: Open-access funding
  • Agency: Austrian Science Fund, Id: P28970
  • Agency: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Id: JE 777/3-1

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