Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 215–229 | Cite as

Three visual pigments inDeilephila elpenor (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae)

  • Joachim Schwemer
  • Reinhard Paulsen


Selective irradiation of digitonin extracts (pH 6.1) from dark-adapted eyes of the Sphingid mothDeihphila elpenor revealed three visual pigments with λmax at about 345, 440 and 520 nm. Prom the reaction of the chromophoric group with hydroxylamine it is concluded that these pigments are based on retinaldehyde, and therefore can be classed with rhodopsins. At −15 °C, each of the rhodopsins can completely (P 520) or partially (P 440 and P 345) be converted by light to acid metarhodopsin absorbing maximally at 480 ± 10 nm, which decay at room temperature to retinaldehyde and protein moiety. Spectrophotometric measurements on isolated retinae (pH 7.4) indicate that the metarhodopsins, in contrast to the findings on extracts, are thermostable in the photoreceptor membrane at room temperature. The results are compared with electrophysiological and microspectrophotometrical data. The different properties of the metarhodopsins in detergent solution and in the isolated retina are discussed.


Retina Hydroxylamine Spectrophotometric Measurement Visual Pigment Digitonin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrahamson, E. W., Wiesenfeld, J. R.: The structure, spectra, and reactivity of visual pigments. In: Handbook of sens, physiol., vol. VII/1, Dartnall, H. J. A., ed., p. 69–121. Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer 1972Google Scholar
  2. Autrum, H., Zwehl, V. v.: Die spektrale Empfindlichkeit einzelner Sehzellen des Bienenauges. Z. vergl. Physiol.48, 357–384 (1964)Google Scholar
  3. Brown, P. K., White, R. H.: Rhodopsin of the larval mosquito. J. gen. Physiol.59, 401–414 (1972)Google Scholar
  4. Carlson, S. D., Philipson, B.: Microspeotrophotometry of the dioptric apparatus and compound rhabdom of the moth (Manduca sexta) eye. J. Insect Physiol.18, 1721–1731 (1972)Google Scholar
  5. Dartnall, H. J. A.: The interpretation of spectral sensitivity curves. Brit. med. Bull.9, 24–30 (1953)Google Scholar
  6. Daumer, K.: Reizmetrische Untersuchungen des Farbensehens der Bienen. Z. vergl. Physiol.38, 413–478 (1956)Google Scholar
  7. Ephrussi, B., Beadle, G. W.: A technique of transplantation forDrosophila. Amer. Nat.70, 218–225 (1936)Google Scholar
  8. Frisch, K. v.: Der Farbensinn und Formensinn der Bienen. Zool. Jb. Abt. allg. Zool. u. Physiol.35, 1–182 (1914)Google Scholar
  9. Goldsmith, T. H.: The visual system of the honeybee. Proc. nat. Acad. Sci. (Wash.)44, 123–126 (1958)Google Scholar
  10. Goldsmith, T. H.: The natural history of invertebrate visual pigments. In: Handbook of sens, physiol., vol. VII/1, Dartnall, H. J. A., ed., p. 685–719. Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer 1972Google Scholar
  11. Hamdorf, K., Höglund, G., Langer, H.: Mikrophotometrische Untersuchungen an der Retinula des NachtschmetterlingsDeilephila elpenor. Verh. dtsch. zool. Ges.65, 276–280 (1972)Google Scholar
  12. Hamdorf, K., Höglund, G., Langer, H.: Photoregeneration of visual pigments in a moth. A microphotometric study. J. Comp. Physiol.86, 247–263 (1973)Google Scholar
  13. Hamdorf, K., Schwemer, J., Gogala, M.: Insect visual pigment sensitive to ultraviolet light. Nature (Lond.)231, 458–459 (1971)Google Scholar
  14. Höglund, G., Hamdorf, K., Rosner, G.: Trichromatic visual system in an insect and its sensitivity control by blue light. J. Comp. Physiol.86, 265–279 (1973)Google Scholar
  15. Höglund, G., Struwe, G.: Pigment migration and spectral sensitivity in the compound eye of moths. Z. vergl. Physiol.67, 229–237 (1970)Google Scholar
  16. Knoll, F.: Lichtsinn und Blütenbesuch des Falters vonDeilephila livornica. Z. vergl. Physiol.2, 329–380 (1924)Google Scholar
  17. Kühn, A.: Über den Farbensinn der Bienen. Z. vergl. Physiol.5, 762–800 (1927)Google Scholar
  18. Marak, G. E., Gallik, G. J., Cornesky, R. A.: Light-sensitive pigment in insect heads. Ophthal. Res.1, 65–71 (1970)Google Scholar
  19. Paulsen, R., Schwemer, J.: Studies on the insect visual pigment sensitive to ultraviolet light: Retinal as the chromophoric group. Biochim. biophys. Acta (Amst.)283, 520–529 (1972)Google Scholar
  20. Schwemer, J., Gogala, M., Hamdorf, K.: Der UV-Sehfarbstoff der Insekten: Photochemie in vitro und in vivo. Z. vergl. Physiol.75, 174–188 (1971)Google Scholar
  21. Shichi, H.: Biochemistry of visual pigments II. Phospholipid requirement and opsin conformation for regeneration of bovine rhodopsin. J. biol. Chem.246, 6178–6182 (1971)Google Scholar
  22. Snyder, A. W., Miller, W. H.: Fly colour vision. Vision Res.12, 1389–1396 (1972)Google Scholar
  23. Wolken, J. J., Scheer, I. J.: An eye pigment of the cockroach. Exp. Eye Res.2, 182–188 (1963)Google Scholar
  24. Zorn, M., Futtermann, S.: Properties of rhodopsin dependent on associated phospholipid. J. biol. Chem.246, 881–886 (1971)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Schwemer
    • 1
  • Reinhard Paulsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Tierphysiologie der Ruhr-Universität BochumDeutschland

Personalised recommendations