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Cryptochrome 1 mediates light-dependent inclination magnetosensing in monarch butterflies

Guijun Wan, Ashley N. Hayden, Samantha E. Iiams, Christine Merlin
2021 Nature Communications  
AbstractMany animals use the Earth's geomagnetic field for orientation and navigation. Yet, the molecular and cellular underpinnings of the magnetic sense remain largely unknown. A biophysical model proposed that magnetoreception can be achieved through quantum effects of magnetically-sensitive radical pairs formed by the photoexcitation of cryptochrome (CRY) proteins. Studies in Drosophila are the only ones to date to have provided compelling evidence for the ultraviolet (UV)-A/blue
more » ... )-A/blue light-sensitive type 1 CRY (CRY1) involvement in animal magnetoreception, and surprisingly extended this discovery to the light-insensitive mammalian-like type 2 CRYs (CRY2s) of both monarchs and humans. Here, we show that monarchs respond to a reversal of the inclination of the Earth's magnetic field in an UV-A/blue light and CRY1, but not CRY2, dependent manner. We further demonstrate that both antennae and eyes, which express CRY1, are magnetosensory organs. Our work argues that only light-sensitive CRYs function in animal light-dependent inclination-based magnetic sensing.
doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21002-z pmid:33536422 fatcat:wz7op7agfvhvjdcui6jwcvvsli