Biophysics of structure and mechanism

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 171–180

Ultraviolet sensitivity of fly photoreceptors R7 and R8: Evidence for a sensitising function

  • R. C. Hardie
  • K. Kirschfeld

DOI: 10.1007/BF00537814

Cite this article as:
Hardie, R.C. & Kirschfeld, K. Biophys. Struct. Mechanism (1983) 9: 171. doi:10.1007/BF00537814


Responses to continuous spectral scans in the ultraviolet (uv) have been measured intracellularly from the central retinula cells R7 and R8 in the fly (Musca, female). The spectral sensitivities thus obtained have a resolution limited by the bandwidth of the light supplied by the mono-chromator (0.3–1.5 nm).

One class of R7 cells, classified as 7y (Kirschfeld et al. 1978) shows three conspicuous peaks of sensitivity at 337, 355 and 373 nm (Fig. 3a). The underlying R8 cells (8y) also show three peaks but at slightly shorter wavelengths — 334, 350, and 369 nm (Fig. 3c), coinciding with those seen in the peripheral photoreceptors R1–6 (Gemperlein et al. 1980; Kirschfeld et al. 1982). Another class of R7 cells (7p) showed a spectral sensitivity function with a single peak at 330 nm. The underlying R8 cells (8p) also show a single-peaked function with maximum at 460 nm (Fig. 3b and d).

The results are interpreted as providing evidence for the hypothesis that uv sensitivity in 7y and 8y cells is conferred by a uv absorbing sensitising pigment similar to that demonstrated in R1-6 cells. The spectra of both 7p and 8p cells can be simply interpreted as deriving directly from the absorption of a rhodopsin with the appropriate λ max.

Key words

Musca-photoreceptors R7 and R8 uv sensitivity Sensitising pigment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. Hardie
    • 1
  • K. Kirschfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für biologische KybernetikTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations