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J Neurosci. 1999 Feb 15;19(4):1203-16.

The photovoltage of macaque cone photoreceptors: adaptation, noise, and kinetics.

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  • 1Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0730, USA.


Whole-cell voltage and current recordings were obtained from red and green cone photoreceptors in isolated retina from macaque monkey. It was demonstrated previously that the cone photovoltage is generated from two sources, phototransduction current in the cone outer segment and photocurrent from neighboring rods. Rod signals are likely transmitted to cones across the gap junctions between rods and cones. In this study, the "pure" cone and rod components of the response were extracted with rod-adapting backgrounds or by subtracting the responses to flashes of different wavelength equated in their excitation of either rods or cones. For dim flashes, the pure cone component was similar in waveform to the cone outer segment current, and the rod component was similar to the photovoltage measured directly in rods. With bright flashes, the high frequencies of the rod signal were filtered out by the rod/cone network. The two components of the cone photovoltage adapted separately to background illumination. The amplitude of the rod component was halved by backgrounds eliciting approximately 100 photoisomerizations sec-1 per rod; the cone component was halved by backgrounds of 8700 photoisomerizations sec-1 per cone. Coupling between rods and cones was not modulated by either dim backgrounds or dopamine. Voltage noise in dark-adapted cones was dominated by elementary events other than photopigment isomerizations. The dark noise was equivalent in magnitude to a steady light eliciting approximately 3800 photoisomerizations sec-1 per cone, a value significantly higher than the psychophysical estimates of cone "dark light."

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