Pineal opsin (P-opsin), an opsin from chick that is highly expressed in pineal but is not detectable in retina, was cloned by the polymerase chain reaction. It is likely that the P-opsin lineage diverged from the retinal opsins early in opsin evolution. The amino acid sequence of P-opsin is 42 to 46 percent identical to that of the retinal opsins. P-opsin is a seven-membrane spanning, G protein-linked receptor with a Schiff-base lysine in the seventh membrane span and a Schiff-base counterion in the third membrane span. The primary sequence of P-opsin suggests that it will be maximally sensitive to ∼500-nanometer light and produce a slow and prolonged phototransduction response consistent with the nonvisual function of pineal photoreception.
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