Light-dependent structural change of chicken retinal cryptochrome4

Ryuji Watari, Chiaki Yamaguchi, Wataru Zemba, Yoko Kubo, Keiko Okano, Toshiyuki Okano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Animals have several classes of cryptochromes (CRYs), some of which function as core elements of circadian clockwork, circadian photoreceptors, and/or light-dependent magnetoreceptors. In addition to the circadian clock genes Cry1 and Cry2, nonmammalian vertebrates have the Cry4 gene, the molecular function of which remains unknown. Here we analyzed chicken CRY4 (cCRY4) expression in the retina with in situ hybridization and found that cCRY4 was likely transcribed in the visual pigment cells, cells in the inner nuclear layer, and retinal ganglion cells. We further developed several monoclonal antibodies to the carboxyl-terminal extension of cCRY4 and localized cCRY4 protein with immunohistochemistry. Consistent with the results of in situ hybridization, cCRY4 immunoreactivity was found in visual pigment cells and cells located at the inner nuclear layer and the retinal ganglion cell layer. Among the antibodies, one termed C1-mAb had its epitope within the carboxylterminal 14-amino acid sequence (QLTRDDADDPMEMK) and associated with cCRY4 in the retinal soluble fraction more strongly in the dark than under blue light conditions. Immunoprecipitation experiments under various light conditions indicated that cCRY4 from the immunocomplex formed in the dark dissociated from C1-mAb during blue light illumination as weak as 25 μW/cm2 and that the release occurred with not only blue but also near UV light. These results suggest that cCRY4 reversibly changes its structure within the carboxyl-terminal region in a light-dependent manner and operates as a photoreceptor or magnetoreceptor with short wavelength sensitivity in the retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42634-42641
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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