Cryptochrome: A photoreceptor with the properties of a magnetoreceptor?

Thorsten Ritz, T. Yoshii, C. Helfrich-Foerster, Margaret Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It was recently discovered that the photoreceptor cryptochrome is involved in mediating magnetosensitive entrainment of the internal clock of fruit flies.1 This discovery follows other recent studies implicating a role of cryptochrome in mediating magnetic sensitivity in orientation responses of fruit flies2,3 and growth responses of plants.4 Such widespread use of the same molecule for mediating magnetic sensitivity might suggest that cryptochrome is in some way optimal for detecting the magnetic field of the earth and that the magnetoreception function cannot be easily taken over by other molecules. This raises the question what properties might set cryptochromes apart from other molecules in terms of their ability to detect the geomagnetic field. Here, we will discuss possible answers to this question. We will first review the likely biophysical mechanism by which magnetic fields can be detected by a photoreceptor and discuss what constitutes an optimal photo-magneto-receptor. We will then discuss in how far cryptochrome matches the profile of an optimal molecule and what further steps are required for more conclusive answers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biological rhythms
  • Cryptochrome
  • Drosophila
  • Magnetosensitivity
  • Radical pairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cryptochrome: A photoreceptor with the properties of a magnetoreceptor?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this