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Photoreceptor processing speed and input resistance changes during light adaptation correlate with spectral class in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens.

Skorupski, P; Chittka, L (2011) Photoreceptor processing speed and input resistance changes during light adaptation correlate with spectral class in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens. PLoS One, 6 (10). e25989 -e25989 (8). ISSN 1932-6203
SGUL Authors: Skorupski, Peter

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Colour vision depends on comparison of signals from photoreceptors with different spectral sensitivities. However, response properties of photoreceptor cells may differ in ways other than spectral tuning. In insects, for example, broadband photoreceptors, with a major sensitivity peak in the green region of the spectrum (>500 nm), drive fast visual processes, which are largely blind to chromatic signals from more narrowly-tuned photoreceptors with peak sensitivities in the blue and UV regions of the spectrum. In addition, electrophysiological properties of the photoreceptor membrane may result in differences in response dynamics of photoreceptors of similar spectral class between species, and different spectral classes within a species. We used intracellular electrophysiological techniques to investigate response dynamics of the three spectral classes of photoreceptor underlying trichromatic colour vision in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens, and we compare these with previously published data from a related species, Bombus terrestris. In both species, we found significantly faster responses in green, compared with blue- or UV-sensitive photoreceptors, although all 3 photoreceptor types are slower in B. impatiens than in B. terrestris. Integration times for light-adapted B. impatiens photoreceptors (estimated from impulse response half-width) were 11.3 ± 1.6 ms for green photoreceptors compared with 18.6 ± 4.4 ms and 15.6 ± 4.4 for blue and UV, respectively. We also measured photoreceptor input resistance in dark- and light-adapted conditions. All photoreceptors showed a decrease in input resistance during light adaptation, but this decrease was considerably larger (declining to about 22% of the dark value) in green photoreceptors, compared to blue and UV (41% and 49%, respectively). Our results suggest that the conductances associated with light adaptation are largest in green photoreceptors, contributing to their greater temporal processing speed. We suggest that the faster temporal processing of green photoreceptors is related to their role in driving fast achromatic visual processes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: PMCID: PMC3203109. Copyright: © 2011 Skorupski, P. and Chittka, L. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Adaptation, Ocular, Animals, Bees, Color Perception, Electric Conductivity, Photoreceptor Cells
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education (IMBE)
Academic Structure > Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education (IMBE) > Centre for Biomedical Education (INMEBE)
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
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1 October 2011Published
PubMed ID: 22046251
Web of Science ID: 22046251
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