Title

Cryptochrome mediates light-dependent magnetosensitivity in Drosophila

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Reppert Lab; Waddell Lab

Publication Date

7-22-2008

Document Type

Article

Subjects

Animals; Behavior, Animal; Circadian Rhythm; Drosophila melanogaster; Flavoproteins; *Light; *Magnetics; Mutation; Sensation

Disciplines

Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Abstract

Although many animals use the Earth's magnetic field for orientation and navigation, the precise biophysical mechanisms underlying magnetic sensing have been elusive. One theoretical model proposes that geomagnetic fields are perceived by chemical reactions involving specialized photoreceptors. However, the specific photoreceptor involved in such magnetoreception has not been demonstrated conclusively in any animal. Here we show that the ultraviolet-A/blue-light photoreceptor cryptochrome (Cry) is necessary for light-dependent magnetosensitive responses in Drosophila melanogaster. In a binary-choice behavioural assay for magnetosensitivity, wild-type flies show significant naive and trained responses to a magnetic field under full-spectrum light ( approximately 300-700 nm) but do not respond to the field when wavelengths in the Cry-sensitive, ultraviolet-A/blue-light part of the spectrum (<420 >nm) are blocked. Notably, Cry-deficient cry(0) and cry(b) flies do not show either naive or trained responses to a magnetic field under full-spectrum light. Moreover, Cry-dependent magnetosensitivity does not require a functioning circadian clock. Our work provides, to our knowledge, the first genetic evidence for a Cry-based magnetosensitive system in any animal.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Nature. 2008 Aug 21;454(7207):1014-8. Epub 2008 Jul 20. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version

10.1038/nature07183

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nature

PubMed ID

18641630