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Effective sensory processing requires matching the gain of neural responses to the range of signals encountered. For rod vision, gain controls operate at light levels at which photons arrive rarely at individual rods, light levels too low to cause adaptation in rod phototransduction. Under these conditions, adaptation within a conserved pathway in mammalian(More)
A 10 microm spot of argon laser light was focused onto the outer segments of intact mouse rods loaded with fluo-3, fluo-4 or fluo-5F, to estimate dark, resting free Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) and changes in [Ca(2+)](i) upon illumination. Dye concentration was adjusted to preserve the normal physiology of the rod, and the laser intensity was selected(More)
A threshold-like nonlinearity in signal transfer from mouse rod photoreceptors to rod bipolar cells dramatically improves the absolute sensitivity of the rod signals. The work described here reaches three conclusions about the mechanisms generating this nonlinearity. (1) The nonlinearity is caused primarily by saturation of the feedforward rod-to-rod(More)
Vision at absolute threshold is based on signals produced in a tiny fraction of the rod photoreceptors. This requires that the rods signal the absorption of single photons, and that the resulting signals are transmitted across the retina and encoded in the activity sent from the retina to the brain. Behavioral and ganglion cell sensitivity has often been(More)
Why do vertebrates use rods and cones that hyperpolarize, when in insect eyes a single depolarizing photoreceptor can function at all light levels? We answer this question at least in part with a comprehensive assessment of ATP consumption for mammalian rods from voltages and currents and recently published physiological and biochemical data. In darkness,(More)
The retina consists of ordered arrays of individual types of neurons for processing vision. Here, we show that such order is necessary for intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) to function as irradiance detectors. We found that during development, ipRGCs undergo proximity-dependent Bax-mediated apoptosis. Bax mutant mice exhibit(More)
Spontaneous current and voltage fluctuations (dark noise) in the photoreceptor cells of the retina limit the ability of the visual system to detect dim light. We recorded the dark current noise of individual salamander L cones. Previous work showed that the dark noise in these cells arises from thermal activation of the visual pigment. From the temperature(More)
Members of the R7 family of the regulators of G-protein signaling (R7 RGS) proteins form multi-subunit complexes that play crucial roles in processing the light responses of retinal neurons. The disruption of these complexes has been shown to lead to the loss of temporal resolution in retinal photoreceptors and deficient synaptic transmission to downstream(More)
The nervous system frequently integrates parallel streams of information to encode a broad range of stimulus strengths. In mammalian retina it is generally believed that signals generated by rod and cone photoreceptors converge onto cone bipolar cells prior to reaching the retinal output, the ganglion cells. Near absolute visual threshold a specialized(More)
Amphibian and mammalian rods can both detect single photons of light even though they differ greatly in physical dimensions, mammalian rods being much smaller in diameter than amphibian rods. To understand the changes in physiology and biochemistry required by such large differences in outer segment geometry, we developed a computational approach, taking(More)