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Sensitivity and adaptation in R7, an ultraviolet photoreceptor, in theDrosophila retina

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Receptor deficient mutants and chromatic adaptation were used to isolate the contribution of R7 to the electroretinogram (ERG) ofDrosophila. R7 was found to be a single-peaked ultraviolet (UV) receptor (Fig. 1). Photoconversion of the UV absorbing rhodopsin (R) to its stable 470–495 nm metarhodopsin (M) was shown to elicit a long-lived negative (depolarizing) afterpotential (Fig. 3) while inactivating R7. Photoreconversion ofM toR reactivates R7 (Fig. 2) and repolarizes the ERG (Fig. 3). The intensities of light needed to elicit afterpotentials by photointerconverting R7 photopigment were found to be about 2 log units greater than for R1-6 photopigment (Fig. 4). Vitamin A deprivation decreases R7 (as well as R8) sensitivity by about 2 log units (through decreased photopigment levels) without changing spectral sensitivity shape (Fig. 5). Vitamin A deprivation further eliminates the light-induced inactivation of R7 allowing experiments designed to characterize the in vivo spectral absorption of R7M. R7M was found to have UV and 495 nm maxima (Fig. 6). No polarization sensitivity was detected in the R7 ERG component. The adaptational properties of R7 are similar to the properties previously established for R1-6 but different from the properties of R8.

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Supported by NSF grants BMS-74-12817 and BNS 76-11921. I thank M. Chapin, R. Greenberg, K. Hu, A. Ivanyshyn, D. Lakin, G. Pransky, D. Sawyer, J. Walker and W. Zitzmann for technical assistance.

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Stark, W.S. Sensitivity and adaptation in R7, an ultraviolet photoreceptor, in theDrosophila retina. J. Comp. Physiol. 115, 47–59 (1977).

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  • Retina
  • Spectral Sensitivity
  • Spectral Absorption
  • Deficient Mutant
  • Polarization Sensitivity