We detected rhodopsin gene expression in the pigeon lateral septom, a photosensitive deep brain region that is responsible for the photoperiodic gonadal response. The nucleotide sequence of the deep brain rhodopsin cDNA clone exactly matched that of the retinal one, indicating that a single rhodopsin gene is transcribed in the two tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis localized rhodopsin in the cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons, which have been assumed to be photoreceptive cells in the deep brain. Pigeon rhodopsin seems to play dual important roles in the visual and non-visual systems, the latter of which contributes to the photoperiodic response.
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