Small-molecule antagonists of melanopsin-mediated phototransduction

Kenneth A. Jones, Megumi Hatori, Ludovic S. Mure, Jayne R. Bramley, Roman Artymyshyn, Sang Phyo Hong, Mohammad Marzabadi, Huailing Zhong, Jeffrey Sprouse, Quansheng Zhu, Andrew T.E. Hartwick, Patricia J. Sollars, Gary E. Pickard, Satchidananda Panda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Melanopsin, expressed in a subset of retinal ganglion cells, mediates behavioral adaptation to ambient light and other non-image-forming photic responses. This has raised the possibility that pharmacological manipulation of melanopsin can modulate several central nervous system responses, including photophobia, sleep, circadian rhythms and neuroendocrine function. Here we describe the identification of a potent synthetic melanopsin antagonist with in vivo activity. New sulfonamide compounds inhibiting melanopsin (opsinamides) compete with retinal binding to melanopsin and inhibit its function without affecting rod- and cone-mediated responses. In vivo administration of opsinamides to mice specifically and reversibly modified melanopsin-dependent light responses, including the pupillary light reflex and light aversion. The discovery of opsinamides raises the prospect of therapeutic control of the melanopsin phototransduction system to regulate light-dependent behavior and remediate pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-635
Number of pages6
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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