Department of Neurobiology; Reppert Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program
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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DOI of Published Version
Nat Commun. 2011 Jun 21;2:356. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1364. Link to article on publisher's site
Foley LE, Gegear RJ, Reppert SM. (2011). Human cryptochrome exhibits light-dependent magnetosensitivity. Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Student Publications. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1364. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/gsbs_sp/1770