Processing of single-photon responses in the mammalian On and Off retinal pathways at the sensitivity limit of vision

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Takeshita , D , Smeds , L & Ala-Laurila , P 2017 , ' Processing of single-photon responses in the mammalian On and Off retinal pathways at the sensitivity limit of vision ' , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Biological Sciences , vol. 372 , no. 1717 , 20160073 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0073

Title: Processing of single-photon responses in the mammalian On and Off retinal pathways at the sensitivity limit of vision
Author: Takeshita, Daisuke; Smeds, Lina; Ala-Laurila, Petri
Contributor organization: Biosciences
Date: 2017-04-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Biological Sciences
ISSN: 0962-8436
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0073
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/248090
Abstract: Visually guided behaviour at its sensitivity limit relies on single-photon responses originating in a small number of rod photoreceptors. For decades, researchers have debated the neural mechanisms and noise sources that underlie this striking sensitivity. To address this question, we need to understand the constraints arising from the retinal output signals provided by distinct retinal ganglion cell types. It has recently been shown in the primate retina that On and Off parasol ganglion cells, the cell types likely to underlie light detection at the absolute visual threshold, differ fundamentally not only in response polarity, but also in the way they handle single-photon responses originating in rods. The On pathway provides the brain with a thresholded, low-noise readout and the Off pathway with a noisy, linear readout. We outline the mechanistic basis of these different coding strategies and analyse their implications for detecting the weakest light signals. We show that high-fidelity, nonlinear signal processing in the On pathway comes with costs: more single-photon responses are lost and their propagation is delayed compared with the Off pathway. On the other hand, the responses of On ganglion cells allow better intensity discrimination compared with the Off ganglion cell responses near visual threshold. This article is part of the themed issue 'Vision in dim light'.
Subject: visual sensitivity
On and Off retinal ganglion cells
scotopic vision
visual threshold
physical limits
linear and nonlinear signal processing
MULTIPLE PHOSPHORYLATION SITES
GANGLION-CELLS
PRIMATE RETINA
ABSOLUTE THRESHOLD
MACAQUE MONKEY
CAT RETINA
Y-CELL
CONTRAST SENSITIVITY
VISUAL SENSITIVITY
RECEPTIVE-FIELD
1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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