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J Neurosci. 2010 Jan 13;30(2):568-72. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4738-09.2010.

Blue-yellow opponency in primate S cone photoreceptors.

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Department of Biological Structure and the National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


The neural coding of human color vision begins in the retina. The outputs of long (L)-, middle (M)-, and short (S)-wavelength-sensitive cone photoreceptors combine antagonistically to produce "red-green" and "blue-yellow" spectrally opponent signals (Hering, 1878; Hurvich and Jameson, 1957). Spectral opponency is well established in primate retinal ganglion cells (Reid and Shapley, 1992; Dacey and Lee, 1994; Dacey et al., 1996), but the retinal circuitry creating the opponency remains uncertain. Here we find, from whole-cell recordings of photoreceptors in macaque monkey, that "blue-yellow" opponency is already present in the center-surround receptive fields of S cones. The inward current evoked by blue light derives from phototransduction within the outer segment of the S cone. The outward current evoked by yellow light is caused by feedback from horizontal cells that are driven by surrounding L and M cones. Stimulation of the surround modulates calcium conductance in the center S cone.

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