vertebrate melanopsins and related opsins, member of the class A family of seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors
This group represent the Gq-coupled rhodopsin subfamily consists of melanopsins, insect photoreceptors R1-R6, invertebrate Gq opsins as well as their closely related opsins. Melanopsins (also called Opsin-4) are the primary photoreceptor molecules for non-visual functions such as the photo-entrainment of the circadian rhythm and pupillary constriction in mammals. Mammalian melanopsins are expressed only in the inner retina, whereas non-mammalian vertebrate melanopsins are localized in various extra-retinal tissues such as iris, brain, pineal gland, and skin. The outer photoreceptors (R1-R6) are the insect Drosophila equivalent to the vertebrate rods and are responsible for image formation and motion detection. The invertebrate G(q) opsins includes the arthropod and mollusk visual opsins as well as invertebrate melanopsins, which are also found in vertebrates. Arthropods possess color vision by the use of multiple opsins sensitive to different light wavelengths. Members of this subfamily belong to the class A of the G protein-coupled receptors and have seven-transmembrane (TM) alpha-helices interconnected by three extracellular and three intracellular loops.