This paper describes the localization of newly identified visual pigment opsins in the tiered retina of the Japanese yellow swallowtail Papilio xuthus. We first cloned three cDNAs encoding visual pigment opsins, PxRh1, PxRh2 and PxRh3, and then carried out histological in situ hybridization to localize their mRNAs in the retina. By combining the present data with our previous electrophysiological results, we concluded that both PxRh1 and PxRh2 correspond to visual pigments expressed in photoreceptor cells sensitive in the green wavelength region (green receptors), whereas PxRh3 corresponds to a pigment in red receptors. The in situ hybridization studies showed that some photoreceptor cells express two opsin mRNAs. In the ventral half of the eye, all green receptors in the distal tier were labelled by both PxRh1 and PxRh2 probes. The labelling by the PxRh2 and PxRh3 probes was detected throughout the eye in the proximal tier; in 18 % of ommatidia, the probes labelled the same photoreceptor cell. These results suggest that the possible co-localization of two different visual pigments will broaden the sensitivity spectrum of the photoreceptor cells.

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