Nocturnal tarsier retina has both short and long/medium-wavelength cones in an unusual topography
Djajadi, Hidayat R.
Daniel E. Possin
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The evolutionary position of tarsiers with respect to primates is still debated. The type of photoreceptors in the nocturnal Tarsius spectrum retina has been compared with the nocturnal New World monkey Aotus trivulgaris and the Old World monkey Macaca nemestrina by using immunocytochemical labeling for antisera known to be specific for primate cone and rod proteins. In all three species, antisera to long/medium (L/M) -wavelength specific cone opsin and cone-specific -transducin detected a single row of cones. Only Macaca and tarsier retina contained cones labeled by antiserum to short (S) -wavelength specific cone opsin. Tarsier rod cell bodies were 6-12 deep, depending on retinal eccentricity. Tarsier central cones had 2- m-wide outer (OS) and inner segments, which came straight off the cell body. Cone morphology differed little from rods except OS were shorter. Macaca cones labeled for 7G6 and calbindin, Aotus cones did not label for calbindin, and Tarsius cones did not label for 7G6 or calbindin. In tarsier retinal whole-mounts, peak cone density ranged from 11,600-14,200/cones mm2. The 11- to 12-mm-wide peak region centered roughly on the optic disc, although foveal counts remain to be completed. Density decreased symmetrically to a far peripheral band of 4,200-7,000/cones mm2. In contrast, S cone density was very low in central retina (0-300/mm2), rose symmetrically with eccentricity, and peaked at 1,100-1,600/mm2 in a 2- to 3-mm-wide zone in the far periphery. In this zone, S cones were 9-14% of all cones. L/M cones were regularly spaced, whereas S cones showed no regular distribution pattern. Although the functional characteristics of the tarsier S and L/M cone systems are yet to be determined, tarsier cone proteins and distribution have some similarities to both New and Old World monkey retinas. J. Comp. Neurol. 424:718-730, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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