Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 141, Issue 3, pp 303–310 | Cite as

The electrical light response of theLimulus ventral nerve photoreceptor, a superposition of distinct components — Observable by variation of the state of light adaptation

  • Günther Maaz
  • Karoly Nagy
  • Hennig Stieve
  • Josef Klomfaß


Light-initiated two component receptor potentials and the transmembrane currents which generate them were recorded from ventral nerve photoreceptors ofLimulus polyphemus using intracellular microelectrodes. The magnitude and temporal separation of the two components could be manipulated by using pairs of light pulses of variable duration, repetition rate and intensity; the optimal values of these parameters for component separation varied among preparations, but two components could be obtained fromall ventral nerve photoreceptors tested.

Light adaptation reduces the magnitude of the second component,C2, much more strongly than the first component,C1, so thatC2 can be completely suppressed whileC1 persists with a partially reduced magnitude. On the other hand, receptor potentials elicited from dark adapted or moderately light adapted ventral photoreceptors by intense light pulses are dominated by theC2 component. The light-initiated currents recorded under similar conditions, but voltage-clamped, are also dominated by theC2 component. It is conceivable that the plateau of an electrical response to a prolonged light stimulus is dominated by theC1 component, which is less sensitive to light adaptation, whereas the transient phase of the response is dominated byC2.

The light-initiated currents which generate componentsC1 andC2 of the receptor potentials were recorded while the ventral photoreceptor membrane potential was voltage clamped at various levels. The results indicate that the occurrence of the two components in the transient is not dependent on membrane voltage and that the reversal potentials of the two components do not differ significantly on the average in our measurements (6 experiments). Both, chord and slope conductances are much greater (by a factor of ca. 5) forC2 thanC1.


Light Pulse Reversal Potential Receptor Potential Light Stimulus Light Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



receptor potential


prestimulus membrane potential


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther Maaz
    • 1
  • Karoly Nagy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hennig Stieve
    • 1
  • Josef Klomfaß
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Neurobiologie der Kernforschungsanlage JülichJülichFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research CentreHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary

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