The contribution of pigment transitions to sensitivity changes in the barnacle photoreceptor and the correlation with the prolonged depolarizing afterpotential
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A conditioning light can cause a decrease (adaptation) or an increase (facilitation) in the sensitivity of barnacle photoreceptors, as measured by the amplitude of the late receptor potential (LRP). We show that a net transfer of visual pigment from the rhodopsin (R) to the metarhodopsin (M) state induces a large facilitation whereas the reverse transfer results in a much smaller facilitation or even an adaptation. These effects were not due to the response to the conditioning light but to the pigment reactions. When the conditioning light did not alter the pigment population (i.e., M → M, R → R) it was followed by an intermediate degree of facilitation. These conclusions are correct for cells which have relatively low sensitivity. In sensitive cells, all pigment transitions produce adaptation.
LRP facilitation and the prolonged depolarizing afterpotential (PDA) show several common characteristics with respect to pigment transitions: 1.Their magnitude increases with the amount of pigment transferred from R to M. 2. Both are depressed by the M → R transition. 3. Their production is impeded by the M → R transition. 4. The PDA itself is facilitated by the R → M transition and this facilitation decays with a time course comparable to that of LRP facilitation. These results suggest that there may be an underlying process common to LRP facilitation and PDA.
Key wordsPhotoreceptor Visual pigment Adaptation Facilitation
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