• opsin 5;
  • chicken;
  • development;
  • retina;
  • amacrine cells;
  • ganglion cells


The opsin gene family encodes G protein–coupled seven-transmembrane proteins that bind to a retinaldehyde chromophore for photoreception. It has been reported that opsin 5 is expressed in mammalian neural tissue, but its function has been elusive. As a first step to understand the function for opsin 5 in the developing eye, we searched for chicken opsin 5-related genes in the genome by a bioinformatic approach and isolated opsin 5 cDNA fragments from the embryonic retina by RT-PCR. We found that there are three opsin 5–related genes, designated cOpn5m (chicken opsin 5, mammalian type), cOpn5L1 (chicken opsin 5-like 1), and cOpn5L2 (chicken opsin 5-like 2), in the chicken genome. Quantitative PCR analysis has revealed that cOpn5m is the most abundant in the developing and early posthatching neural retina. In situ hybridization analysis has shown that cOpn5m is specifically expressed in subsets of differentiating ganglion cells and amacrine cells. These results suggest that the mammalian type opsin 5 may contribute to the development of these retinal cells in the chicken. Developmental Dynamics 237:1910–1922, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.