Three distinct opsin-encoding cDNAs, designated MANOP1, MANOP2 and MANOP3, were isolated from the retina of the sphingid moth Manduca sexta. MANOP1 codes for a protein with 377 amino acid residues. It is similar in sequence to members of a phylogenetic group of long-wavelength-sensitive arthropod photopigments, most closely resembling the opsins of ants, a praying mantis, a locust and the honeybee. MANOP2 and MANOP3 opsins have 377 and 384 residues respectively. They belong to a related group of insect visual pigments that include the ultraviolet-sensitive rhodopsins of flies as well as other insect rhodopsins that are also thought to absorb at short wavelengths. The retina of Manduca sexta contains three rhodopsins, P520, P450 and P357, with absorbance peaks, respectively, at green, blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. There is evidence that MANOP1 encodes the opsin of P520. We suggest that MANOP2 encodes P357 and that MANOP3, representing a class of blue-sensitive insect photopigments, encodes P450.

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