Tetrachromatic input to turtle horizontal cells

Vis Neurosci. 2001 Sep-Oct;18(5):759-65. doi: 10.1017/s0952523801185093.


Recent physiological experiments support behavioral and morphological evidence for a fourth type of cone in the turtle retina, maximally sensitive in the ultraviolet (UV). This cone type has not yet been included in the models proposed for connectivity between cones and horizontal cells. In this study, we examined the inputs of UV, S, M, and L cones to horizontal cells. We used the high-resolution Dynamic Constant Response Method to measure the spectral sensitivity of horizontal cells without background light and after adaptation to UV, blue (B), green (G), and red (R) light. We concluded the following: (1) Tetrachromatic input to a Y/B horizontal cell was identified. The spectral-sensitivity curves of the cell in three of the adaptation conditions were well represented by L-, M-, and S-cone functions. Adaptation to blue light revealed a peak at 372 nm, the same wavelength location as that determined behaviorally in the turtle. A porphyropsin template could be closely fitted to the sensitivity band in that region, strong evidence for input from a UV cone. (2) The spectral-sensitivity functions of R/G horizontal cells were well represented by the L- and M-cone functions. There was no indication of UV- or S-cone inputs into these cells. (3) The spectral sensitivities of the monophasic horizontal cells were dominated by the L cone. However, the shape of the spectral-sensitivity function depended on the background wavelength, indicating secondary M-cone input. Connectivity models of the outer retina that predict input from all cone types are supported by the finding of tetrachromatic input into Y/B horizontal cells. In contrast, we did not find tetrachromatic input to R/G and monophasic horizontal cells. Chromatic adaptation revealed the spectral-sensitivity function of the turtle UV cone peaking at 372 nm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular / physiology
  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Turtles / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology