Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 161, Issue 6, pp 793–798 | Cite as

Studies of theDrosophila norpA phototransduction mutant

II. Photoreceptor degeneration and rhodopsin maintenance
  • Edward P. Meyertholen
  • Peter J. Stein
  • Marilyn A. Williams
  • Sanford E. Ostroy


ThenorpA H44 phototransduction mutant ofDrosophila melanogaster, an allele that, on eclosion, does not exhibit a receptor potential was found, at later ages, to undergo light and temperature dependent degeneration of its photoreceptors as well as decreases in rhodopsin concentration. Pseudopupil measurements and light and electron microscopy were used to monitor the structure of the photoreceptors. WhennorpA H44 flies were maintained exclusively in the dark, no changes in structure or rhodopsin concentration were observed. When maintained on a 12 h light-12 h dark cycle, structural changes were first observed at 6 days of age for flies maintained at 24 °C or at 12 days of age for flies maintained at 19 °C. When the light-dark cycle was initiated after 10 days in the dark there was a more rapid loss of rhodopsin concentration and pseudopupil. The data suggest that even in the dark, although no obvious changes in structure or rhodopsin concentration were observed, certain processes that support these components had been affected.NorpA P12 , an allele that exhibits small receptor potential amplitudes, also displayed age- and light-dependent photoreceptor degeneration and decreases in rhodopsin concentration, whereas no degeneration or decreases in rhodopsin were observed innorpA P16 , an allele that exhibits receptor potential amplitudes similar to those of wild-type. The data suggest that the processes that affect phototransduction, such as the phosphatidylinositol cycle, have a long-term role in the maintenance of rhodopsin concentration and photoreceptor integrity.


Microscopy Electron Microscopy Structural Change Dark Cycle Obvious Change 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward P. Meyertholen
    • 1
  • Peter J. Stein
    • 1
  • Marilyn A. Williams
    • 1
  • Sanford E. Ostroy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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