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The amplitudes of unit events in Limulus photoreceptors are modulated from an input that resembles the overall response

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Light adaptation is a gain-control process that endows photoreceptors with large dynamic range. In invertebrates, this process appears to be mediated by a negative feedback that sets the amplitude of the isolated photon responses (bumps) by modulating an enzyme's rate of catalysis. This paper reports measurements of the feedback dynamics of Limulus from the responses to small modulations in light intensity. The responses show a noise that apparently arises from the random arrival of photons. We use a dynamic noiseanalysis technique to extract the cells's frequencyresponse transfer function for bump amplitude. Its ratio to the transfer function for the summed response of the cell has a simple form at low frequencies. This indicates that the origin of the feedback responsible for the adaptation is at a stage temporally close to the final conductance response. Moreover, the form of the transfer function suggests feedback by a chemical agent which is removed by a single enzymatic-like stage at low light intensity and by several such stages in parallel but with a spread of time constants at high intensity.

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This work was supported by grants from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Jerusalem, Israel and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, by NIH grant EY 1428, and by NSF grant DMS 8505442

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Grzywacz, N.M., Hillman, P. & Knight, B.W. The amplitudes of unit events in Limulus photoreceptors are modulated from an input that resembles the overall response. Biol. Cybern. 66, 437–441 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00197724

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  • Enzyme
  • Catalysis
  • Light Intensity
  • Transfer Function
  • Time Constant