Department of Neurobiology
Medical Subject Headings
Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Choice Behavior; Cryptochromes; Drosophila; Humans; *Light; *Magnetics; Motor Activity; Retina; Sensation
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Humans are not believed to have a magnetic sense, even though many animals use the Earth's magnetic field for orientation and navigation. One model of magnetosensing in animals proposes that geomagnetic fields are perceived by light-sensitive chemical reactions involving the flavoprotein cryptochrome (CRY). Here we show using a transgenic approach that human CRY2, which is heavily expressed in the retina, can function as a magnetosensor in the magnetoreception system of Drosophila and that it does so in a light-dependent manner. The results show that human CRY2 has the molecular capability to function as a light-sensitive magnetosensor and reopen an area of sensory biology that is ready for further exploration in humans.
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Citation: Nat Commun. 2011 Jun 21;2:356. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1364. Link to article on publisher's site