Expression and light-triggered movement of rhodopsins in the larval visual system of mosquitoes

Manuel Rocha, Kyle J. Kimler, Matthew T. Leming, Xiaobang Hu, Michelle A. Whaley, Joseph E. O'Tousa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


During the larval stages, the visual system of the mosquito Aedes aegypti contains five stemmata, often referred to as larval ocelli, positioned laterally on each side of the larval head. Here we show that stemmata contain two photoreceptor types, distinguished by the expression of different rhodopsins. The rhodopsin Aaop3 (GPROP3) is expressed in the majority of the larval photoreceptors. There are two small clusters of photoreceptors located within the satellite and central stemmata that express the rhodopsin Aaop7 (GPROP7) instead of Aaop3. Electroretinogram analysis of transgenic Aaop7 Drosophila indicates that Aaop3 and Aaop7, both classified as longwavelength rhodopsins, possess similar but not identical spectral properties. Light triggers an extensive translocation of Aaop3 from the photosensitive rhabdoms to the cytoplasmic compartment, whereas light-driven translocation of Aaop7 is limited. The results suggest that these photoreceptor cell types play distinct roles in larval vision. An additional component of the larval visual system is the adult compound eye, which starts to develop at the anterior face of the larval stemmata during the 1st instar stage. The photoreceptors of the developing compound eye show rhodopsin expression during the 4th larval instar stage, consistent with indications from previous reports that the adult compound eye contributes to larval and pupal visual capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1392
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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