Violet-light suppression of thermogenesis by Opsin 5

Sep 2, 2020 | Scientific Publication

Here we describe a light-sensing pathway in which POA neurons that express Opn5 regulate thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT). We show that Opn5 is expressed in glutamatergic warm-sensing POA neurons that receive synaptic input from several thermoregulatory nuclei. We further show that Opn5 POA neurons project to BAT and decrease its activity under chemogenetic stimulation. Opn5-null mice show overactive BAT, increased body temperature, and exaggerated thermogenesis when cold-challenged. Moreover, violet photostimulation during cold exposure acutely suppresses BAT temperature in wild-type mice but not in Opn5-null mice. Direct measurements of intracellular cAMP ex vivo show that Opn5 POA neurons increase cAMP when stimulated with violet light. This analysis thus identifies a violet light-sensitive deep brain photoreceptor that normally suppresses BAT thermogenesis

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