Browsing by Subject "Photoreceptor"

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  • Donner, Kristian; Yovanovich, Carola (2020)
    From the mid-19th century until the 1980's, frogs and toads provided important research models for many fundamental questions in visual neuroscience. In the present century, they have been largely neglected. Yet they are animals with highly developed vision, a complex retina built on the basic vertebrate plan, an accessible brain, and an experimentally useful behavioural repertoire. They also offer a rich diversity of species and life histories on a reasonably restricted physiological and evolutionary background. We suggest that important insights may be gained from revisiting classical questions in anurans with state-of-the-art methods. At the input to the system, this especially concerns the molecular evolution of visual pigments and photoreceptors, at the output, the relation between retinal signals, brain processing and behavioural decision-making.
  • Alakärppä, Emmi; Taulavuori, Erja; Valledor, Luis; Marttila, Toni; Jokipii-Lukkari, Soile; Karppinen, Katja; Nguyen, Nga; Taulavuori, Kari; Häggman, Hely (2019)
    Plants have evolved a suite of photoreceptors to perceive information from the surrounding light conditions. The aim of this study was to examine photomorphogenic effects of light quality on the growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings representing southern (60 °N) and northern (68 °N) origins in Finland. We measured the growth characteristics and the expression of light-responsive genes from seedlings grown under two LED light spectra: (1) Retarder (blue and red wavelengths in ratio 0.7) inducing compact growth, and (2) Booster (moderate in blue, green and far-red wavelengths, and high intensity of red light) promoting shoot elongation. The results show that root elongation, biomass, and branching were reduced under Retarder spectrum in the seedlings representing both origins, while inhibition in seed germination and shoot elongation was mainly detected in the seedlings of northern origin. The expression of ZTL and HY5 was related to Scots pine growth under both light spectra. Moreover, the expression of PHYN correlated with growth when exposed to Retarder, whereas CRY2 expression was associated with growth under Booster. Our data indicates that blue light and the deficiency of far-red light limit the growth of Scots pine seedlings and that northern populations are more sensitive to blue light than southern populations. Furthermore, the data analyses suggest that ZTL and HY5 broadly participate in the light-mediated growth regulation of Scots pine, whereas PHYN responses to direct sunlight and the role of CRY2 is in shade avoidance. Altogether, our study extends the knowledge of light quality and differential gene expression affecting the early growth of Scots pines representing different latitudinal origins.
  • Hemilä, S.; Lerber, T.; Donner, K. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
    Noise recorded in visual neurons, or variability in psychophysical experiments, may be quantified in terms of quantal fluctuations from an “equivalent” steady illumination. The conversion requires assumptions concerning how photon signals are pooled in space and time, i.e. how to pass from light fluxes to numbers of photon events relevant to the Poisson statistics describing signal/noise. It is usual to approximate real weighting profiles for the integration of photon events in space and time (the sensitivity distribution of the receptive field [RF] and the waveform of the impulse response [IR]) by sharp-bordered apertures of “complete,” equal-weight summation of events. Apertures based on signal-equivalence cannot provide noise-equivalence, however, because greater numbers of events summed with smaller weights (as in reality) have lower variances than smaller numbers summed with full weight. Thus sharp-bordered apertures are necessarily smaller if defined for noise- than for signal-equivalence. We here consider the difference for some commonly encountered RF and IR profiles. Summation areas, expressed as numbers of photoreceptors (cones or rods) contributing with equal weight, are denoted NS for signal and NN for noise; sharply delimited summation times are correspondingly denoted tS and tN. We show that the relation in space is NN = 0.5NS for the Gaussian distribution (e.g. for the RF center mechanism of retinal ganglion cells). For a photoreceptor in an electrically coupled network the difference is even larger, e.g., for rods in the toad retina NN = 0.2NS (NS = 13.7 rods and NN = 2.8 rods). In time, the relation is tN [approximate] 0.7tS for realistic quantal response waveforms of photoreceptors. The surround input in a difference-of-Gaussians RF may either decrease or increase total noise, depending on the degree of correlation of center and surround noise. We introduce a third useful definition of sharp-bordered summation apertures: one that provides the same signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for large-long stimuli as the real integration profiles. The SNR-equivalent summation area is N* = NS 2/NN and summation time t* = tS2/tN.
  • Donner, Kristian (2021)
    Time is largely a hidden variable in vision. It is the condition for seeing interesting things such as spatial forms and patterns, colours and movements in the external world, and yet is not meant to be noticed in itself. Temporal aspects of visual processing have received comparatively little attention in research. Temporal properties have been made explicit mainly in measurements of resolution and integration in simple tasks such as detection of spatially homogeneous flicker or light pulses of varying duration. Only through a mechanistic understanding of their basis in retinal photoreceptors and circuits can such measures guide modelling of natural vision in different species and illuminate functional and evolutionary trade-offs. Temporal vision research would benefit from bridging traditions that speak different languages. Towards that goal, I here review studies from the fields of human psychophysics, retinal physiology and neuroethology, with a focus on fundamental constraints set by early vision.