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Encyclopedia > Photoreceptor cell
Functional parts of the rods (rods) and cones (cones)
Functional parts of the rods (rods) and cones (cones)[1]

A photoreceptor, or photoreceptor cell, is a specialized type of neuron found in the eye's retina that is capable of phototransduction. More specifically, the photoreceptor absorbs photons from the visual field, and through a specific and complex biochemical pathway, signals this information through a change in its membrane potential. Ultimately, this information will be used by the visual system to form a complete representation of the visual world. Described here is a vertebrate photoreceptor. Invertebrate photoreceptor in organisms such as insects and molluscs are different in both their morphological organization and their underlying biochemical pathways. A photoreceptor, or photoreceptor cell, is a specialized type of neuron found in the eyes retina that is capable of phototransduction. ... Rods and Cones is a live digital single by Blue Man Group, released on the iTunes Store on July 11, 2006. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Rod cells, or rods, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that can function in less intense light than can the other type of photoreceptor, cone cells. ... Normalized responsivity spectra of human cone cells, S, M, and L types Cone cells, or cones, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye which function best in relatively bright light. ... This article is about cells in the nervous system. ... For other uses, see Eye (disambiguation). ... Human eye cross-sectional view. ... Visual phototransduction is a process by which light is converted into electrical signals in the rod cells and cone cells of the retina of the eye. ... In physics, the photon (from Greek φως, phōs, meaning light) is the quantum of the electromagnetic field; for instance, light. ... Membrane potential (or transmembrane potential or transmembrane potential difference or transmembrane potential gradient), is the electrical potential difference (voltage) across a cells plasma membrane. ... The visual system is the part of the nervous system which allows organisms to see. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Three wasp ocelli (centre) and dorsal part of compound eyes An ocellus (plural: ocelli) is a type of photoreceptor organ in animals. ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera... Classes Caudofoveata Aplacophora Polyplacophora - Chitons Monoplacophora Bivalvia - Bivalves Scaphopoda - Tusk shells Gastropoda - Snails and Slugs Cephalopoda - Squids, Octopuses, etc. ...


In vertebrates, photoreceptors come in two types: rods and cones, with major functional differences between the two. Cones are adapted to detect colors, and function well in bright light; rods are more sensitive, but do not detect color well, being adapted for low light. The human retina contains about 120 million rod cells and 6 million cone cells. The number and ratio of rods to cones varies among animals, dependent on whether the animal is primarily diurnal or nocturnal. Certain owls have a tremendous number of rods in their retinas — the eyes of the tawny owl are approximately 100 times more sensitive at night than those of humans.[2] Rod cells, or rods, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that can function in less intense light than can the other type of photoreceptor, cone cells. ... Normalized responsivity spectra of human cone cells, S, M, and L types Cone cells, or cones, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye which function best in relatively bright light. ... A diurnal animal (dÄ«-Å­rnÉ™l) is an animal that is active during the daytime and sleeps during the night. ... A nocturnal animal is one that sleeps during the day and is active at night - the opposite of the human (diurnal) schedule. ... Binomial name Strix aluco Linnaeus, 1758 The Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) is a species of owl resident in much of Europe and southern Russia. ...

Contents

Histology

Photoreceptors have the same basic structure. Closest to the visual field (and farthest from the brain) is the axon terminal, which releases a neurotransmitter called glutamate to bipolar cells. Farther back is the Cell body, which contains the cell's organelles. Farther back still is the inner segment, a specialized part of the cell full of mitochondria. The chief function of the inner segment is to provide ATP (energy) for the sodium-potassium pump. Finally, closest to the brain (and farthest from the visual field) is the outer segment, the part of the photoreceptor that actually absorbs light. Outer segments are actually modified cilia that contain disks filled with opsin, the molecule that absorbs photons, as well as voltage-gated sodium channels. An axon or nerve fiber, is a long, slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neurons cell body or soma. ... Chemical structure of D-aspartic acid, a common amino acid neurotransmitter. ... Glutamate is the anion of glutamic acid. ... As a part of the retina, the bipolar cell exists between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. ... The soma, or perikaryon, is the bulbous end of a neuron, containing the cell nucleus. ... Schematic of typical animal cell, showing subcellular components. ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell being used to describe the smallest unit of a living organism Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green) The cell is the... Electron micrograph of a mitochondrion showing its mitochondrial matrix and membranes In cell biology, a mitochondrion (plural mitochondria) is a membrane-enclosed organelle that is found in most eukaryotic cells. ... Adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide that is most important as a molecular currency of intracellular energy transfer. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... The human brain In animals, the brain (enkephalos) (Greek for in the skull), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for behavior. ... The term visual field is sometimes used as a synonym to field of view, though they do not designate the same thing. ... For other uses, see Light (disambiguation). ... cross-section of two cilia, showing 9+2 structure A cilium (plural cilia) is a fine projection from a eukaryotic cell that constantly beats in one direction. ... A rhodopsin molecule in the cell membrane. ... Sodium channels are integral membrane proteins that exist in a cells plasma membrane and regulate the flow of sodium (Na+) ions into it. ...


The membranous photoreceptor protein opsin contains a pigment molecule called retinal. In rod cells, these together are called rhodopsin. In cone cells there are different types of opsins that combine with retinal to form pigments called photopsins. Three different classes of photopsins react to different ranges of light frequency, a differentation which eventually allows the nervous system to distinguish color. The function of the photoreceptor cell is to convert the light energy of the photon into a form of energy communicable to the nervous system and more readily usable to the organism: this conversion is called signal transduction. A rhodopsin molecule in the cell membrane. ... Retinal, technically called retinene1 or retinaldehyde, is a light-sensitive retinene molecule found in the photoreceptor cells of the retina. ... A rhodopsin molecule (yellow) with bound retinal (orange), embedded in a cell membrane (lipids shown as green, head groups as red/blue). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In biology, signal transduction refers to any process by which a cell converts one kind of signal or stimulus into another, most often involving ordered sequences of biochemical reactions inside the cell, that are carried out by enzymes and linked through second messengers resulting in what is thought of as...


Humans

In humans, the visual system uses millions of photoreceptors to view, perceive, and analyze the visual world. With the exception of melanopsin-containing photosensitive ganglion cells, ocular photoreceptors are the only neurons in humans capable of phototransduction. All photoreceptors in humans are found in the outer nuclear layer in the retina at the back of each eye, while the bipolar and ganglion cells that transmit information from photoreceptors to the brain are in front of them. This inverted arrangement significantly reduces acuity,[citation needed] as light must travel through the axons and cell bodies of other neurons before reaching the photoreceptors. The retina contains two specializations to deal with this issue. First, a region at the center of the retina, called the fovea, containing only photoreceptors, is used for high visual acuity. Second, each retina contains a blind spot, an area where axons from the ganglion cells can go back through the retina to the brain. Human eye cross-sectional view. ... The fovea, a part of the eye, is a spot located in the center of the macula. ... Blind spot can refer to: In ophthalmology, Scotoma, an obscuration of the visual field Optic disc, also known as the anatomical blind spot, the specific region of the retina where the optic nerve and blood vessels pass through to connect to the back of the eye Blind spot (vision), also...

Normalized typical human cone (and rod) absorbances (not responses) to different wavelengths of light
Normalized typical human cone (and rod) absorbances (not responses) to different wavelengths of light[3]

Humans have two types of photoreceptors: rods and cones. Both transduce light into a change in membrane potential through the same signal transduction pathway (see below). However, they differ in the nature of the opsin they contain, and their function. Rods are used primarily to see at low levels of light, while cones are used to determine color, depth, and intensity. Furthermore, there are three types of cones, which differ in the spectrum of wavelengths of photons over which they absorb (see graph). Because cones respond to both the wavelength and intensity of light, a single cone cannot tell color; instead, color vision requires interactions of more than one type of cone (see below), primarily by comparing responses across different cone types. Image File history File links Cone-response. ... Image File history File links Cone-response. ... Rod cells, or rods, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that can function in less intense light than can the other type of photoreceptor, cone cells. ... Normalized responsivity spectra of human cone cells, S, M, and L types Cone cells, or cones, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye which function best in relatively bright light. ... Membrane potential (or transmembrane potential or transmembrane potential difference or transmembrane potential gradient), is the electrical potential difference (voltage) across a cells plasma membrane. ... In biology, signal transduction refers to any process by which a cell converts one kind of signal or stimulus into another, most often involving ordered sequences of biochemical reactions inside the cell, that are carried out by enzymes and linked through second messengers resulting in what is thought of as... Color is an important part of the visual arts. ... Distance is a numerical description of how far apart objects are at any given moment in time. ... In physics, intensity is a measure of the time-averaged energy flux. ... The wavelength is the distance between repeating units of a wave pattern. ... Color vision is the capacity of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths (or frequencies) of the light they reflect or emit. ...


Phototransduction

Phototransduction is the complex process whereby the energy of a photon is used to change the inherent membrane potential of the photoreceptor -- and thereby signal to the nervous system that light is in the visual field. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... The Human Nervous System. ...


Dark current

Unstimulated (in the dark), the voltage-gated sodium channels in the outer segment are open because cyclic GMP (cGMP) is bound to them. Hence, positively charged sodium ions enter the photoreceptor, depolarizing it to about -40 mV (resting potential in other nerve cells is usually -65 mV). This depolarizing current is often known as dark current. Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a second messenger derived from GTP. Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a cyclic nucleotide derived from guanosine triphosphate (GTP). ... For sodium in the diet, see Edible salt. ... This article is about the electrically charged particle. ... In biology, depolarization is the event a cell undergoes when its membrane potential grows more positive with respect to the extracellular solution. ... The resting potential of a cell is the membrane potential that would be maintained if there were no action potentials, synaptic potentials, or other active changes in the membrane potential. ... Electric current is the flow (movement) of electric charge. ... Dark current is the constant response exhibited by a receptor of radiation during periods when it is not actively being exposed to light. ...


Signal transduction pathway

The signal transduction pathway is the mechanism by which the energy of a photon signals a mechanism in the cell that leads to its electrical polarization. This polarization ultimately leads to either the transmittance or inhibition of a neural signal that will be fed to the brain via the optic nerve. The steps in phototransduction that take place in the vertebrate photoreceptors eye, which constitute a signal transduction pathway, are then: In biology, signal transduction refers to any process by which a cell converts one kind of signal or stimulus into another, most often involving ordered sequences of biochemical reactions inside the cell, that are carried out by enzymes and linked through second messengers resulting in what is thought of as... This article is about the anatomical structure. ...

  1. The rhodopsin or iodopsin in the outer segment absorbs a photon, changing the configuration of a retinal Schiff base cofactor inside the protein from the cis-form to the trans-form, causing the retinal to change shape.
  2. This results in a series of unstable intermediates, the last of which binds stronger to the G protein in the membrane and activates transducin, a protein inside the cell. This is the first amplification step - each photoactivated rhodopsin triggers activation of about 100 transducins. (The shape change in the opsin activates a G protein called transducin.)
  3. Each transducin then activates the enzyme cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase (PDE). (Transducin, in turn, activates the enzyme phosphodiesterase.)
  4. PDE then catalyzes the hydrolysis of cGMP. This is the second amplification step, where a single PDE hydrolyses about 1000 cGMP molecules. (The enzyme hydrolyzes the second messenger cGMP to GMP)
  5. With the intracellular concentration of cGMP reduced, the net result is closing of cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels in the photoreceptor membrane because cGMP was keeping the channels open. (Because cGMP acts to keep Na+ ion channels open, the conversion of cGMP to GMP closes the channels.)
  6. As a result, sodium ions can no longer enter the cell, and the photoreceptor hyperpolarizes (its charge inside the membrane becomes more negative). (The closing of Na+ channels hyperpolarizes the cell.)
  7. This hyperpolarization means that less glutamate is released to the bipolar cell than before (see below). (The hyperpolarization of the cell slows the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which can either excite or inhibit the postsynaptic bipolar cells.)
  8. Reduction in the release of glutamate means one population of bipolar cells will be depolarized and a separate population of bipolar cells will be hyperpolarized, depending on the nature of receptors (ionotropic or metabotropic) in the postsynaptic terminal (see receptive field).

Thus, a photoreceptor actually releases less neurotransmitter when stimulated by light. A rhodopsin molecule (yellow) with bound retinal (orange), embedded in a cell membrane (lipids shown as green, head groups as red/blue). ... Normalised absorption spectra of the three human photopsins and of human rhodopsin (dashed). ... Retinal, technically called retinene1 or retinaldehyde, is a light-sensitive retinene molecule found in the photoreceptor cells of the retina. ... a mixture of 4,4-diaminodiphenyl ether 1 (1. ... A cofactor is any substance that needs to be present in addition to an enzyme to catalyze a certain reaction. ... G-proteins, short for guanine nucleotide binding proteins, are a family of proteins involved in second messenger cascades. ... Drawing of a cell membrane A component of every biological cell, the cell membrane (or plasma membrane) is a thin and structured bilayer of phospholipid and protein molecules that envelopes the cell. ... Transducin is the name given to the G-protein alpha-subunits that are naturally expressed in vertebrate retina rods and cones. ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... G-proteins, short for guanine nucleotide binding proteins, are a family of proteins involved in second messenger cascades. ... Transducin is the name given to the G-protein alpha-subunits that are naturally expressed in vertebrate retina rods and cones. ... Transducin is the name given to the G-protein alpha-subunits that are naturally expressed in vertebrate retina rods and cones. ... Ribbon diagram of the enzyme TIM, surrounded by the space-filling model of the protein. ... A phosphodiesterase (PDE) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphodiester bonds. ... A phosphodiesterase (PDE) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphodiester bonds. ... In biology, second messengers are low-weight diffusible molecules that are used in signal transduction to relay signals within a cell. ... Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a second messenger derived from GTP. Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a cyclic nucleotide derived from guanosine triphosphate (GTP). ... There are several meanings for GMP: Good Manufacturing Practice, a guideline for manufacturers of medications (including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology products, and active pharmaceutical ingredients) to assure that medications are of the required quality. ... A Cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel is any ion channel that opens in the presence of cyclic nucleotides. ... Ion channels are pore-forming proteins that help to establish and control the small voltage gradient that exists across the plasma membrane of all living cells (see cell potential) by allowing the flow of ions down their electrochemical gradient. ... Hyperpolarization has several meanings: In biology, hyperpolarization occurs when a cells membrane potential dips below its resting level. ... In biology, hyperpolarization is any change in a cells membrane potential that makes it more polarized. ... Glutamate is the anion of glutamic acid. ... As a part of the retina, the bipolar cell exists between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. ... ... Metabotropic receptor is a transmembrane receptor, which starts some intracellular biochemical cascade after its activation by an agonistic ligand. ... The receptive field of a sensory neuron is a region of space in which the presence of a stimulus will alter the firing of that neuron. ...


ATP provided by the inner segment powers the sodium-potassium pump. This pump is necessary to reset the initial state of the outer segment by taking the sodium ions that are entering the cell and pumping them back out.


Although photoreceptors are neurons, they do not conduct action potentials. A. A schematic view of an idealized action potential illustrates its various phases as the action potential passes a point on a cell membrane. ...


Advantages

Phototransduction is unique in that the stimulus (in this case, light) actually reduces the cell's response or firing rate, which is unusual for a sensory system where the stimulus usually increases the cell's response or firing rate. However, this system offers several key advantages. In physiology, a stimulus is a detectable change in the internal or external environment. ...


First, the photoreceptor is depolarized in the dark, which means many sodium ions are flowing into the cell. Thus, the random opening or closing of sodium channels will not affect the membrane potential of the cell; only the closing of a large amount of channels, through absorption of a photon, will affect it and signal that light is in the visual field. Hence, the system is noiseless. Neuronal noise is the term that describes random activity of neurons that presumably is not associated with encoding of behaviorally relevant variables. ...


Second, there is a lot of amplification in two stages of phototransduction: one pigment will activate many molecules of transducin, and one PDE will cleave many cGMPs. This amplification means that even the absorption of one photon will affect membrane potential and signal to the brain that light is in the visual field. This is the main feature which differentiates rod photoreceptors from cone photoreceptors. Rods are extremely sensitive and have the capacity of registering a single photon of light unlike cones. On the other hand, cones are known to have very fast kinetics in terms of rate of amplification of phototransduction unlike rods. Natural Ultramarine pigment in powdered form. ... Transducin is the name given to the G-protein alpha-subunits that are naturally expressed in vertebrate retina rods and cones. ...


Function

Photoreceptors do not signal color; they only signal the presence of light in the visual field. Color is an important part of the visual arts. ... For other uses, see Light (disambiguation). ...


A given photoreceptor responds to both the wavelength and intensity of a light source. For example, red light at a certain intensity can produce the same exact response in a photoreceptor as green light of a different intensity. Therefore, the response of a single photoreceptor is ambiguous when it comes to color. For other uses, see Wavelength (disambiguation). ... In physics, intensity is a measure of the time-averaged energy flux. ...


To determine color, the visual system compares responses across a population of photoreceptors (specifically, the three different cones with differing absorption spectra). To determine intensity, the visual system computes how many photoreceptors are responding. This is the mechanism that allows trichromatic color vision in humans and some other animals. Normalised absorption spectra of human cone (S,M,L) and rod (R) cells Trichromatic color vision is the ability of humans and some other animals to see different colors, mediated by interactions among three types of color-sensing cone cells. ...


Signaling

The photoreceptor signals its absorption of photons through a release of the neurotransmitter glutamate to bipolar cells at its axon terminal. Since the photoreceptor is depolarized in the dark, a high amount of glutamate is being released to bipolar cells in the dark. Absorption of a photon will hyperpolarize the photoreceptor and therefore result in the release of less glutamate at the presynaptic terminal to the bipolar cell. In a synapse between two neurons, the cell that releases the neurotransmitter is referred to as the presynaptic cell. ...


Every photoreceptor releases the same neurotransmitter, glutamate. However, the effect of glutamate differs in the bipolar cells, depending upon the type of receptor imbedded in that cell's membrane. When glutamate binds to an ionotropic receptor, the bipolar cell will depolarize (and therefore will hyperpolarize with light as less glutamate is released). On the other hand, binding of glutamate to a metabotropic receptor results in a hyperpolarization, so this bipolar cell will depolarize to light as less glutamate is released. In biochemistry, a receptor is a protein on the cell membrane or within the cytoplasm or cell nucleus that binds to a specific molecule (a ligand), such as a neurotransmitter, hormone, or other substance, and initiates the cellular response to the ligand. ... Look up cell membrane in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ligand-gated ion channel is a broad term that refers to any ion channel that is gated (i. ... Metabotropic receptor is a subtype of membrane receptors at the surface or in vesicles of eukaryotic cells. ...


In essence, this property allows for one population of bipolar cells that gets excited by light and another population that gets inhibited by it, even though all photoreceptors show the same response to light. This complexity becomes both important and necessary for detecting color, contrast, edges, etc. Left side of the image has low contrast, the right has higher contrast. ... The goal of edge detection is to mark the points in a digital image at which the luminous intensity changes sharply. ...


Further complexity arises from the various interconnections among bipolar cells, horizontal cells, and amacrine cells in the retina. The final result is differing population of ganglion cells in the retina, each which convey different information to the brain, for the final synthesis of a visual world. As a part of the retina, the bipolar cell exists between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. ... This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ... Amacrine cell Retinal cell interneuron interacting at the Inner Plexiform Layer (IPL), the second synaptic retinal layer where bipolar cells and ganglion cells synapse. ...


See also

A circadian rhythm is a roughly-24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria. ... A Mu-opioid G protein-coupled receptor with its agonist Figure 1. ... The human eye is the first element of a sensory system: in this case, vision, for the visual system. ... Photosensitivity is the amount to which an object reacts upon receiving photons of light. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ... As a part of the retina, the bipolar cell exists between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. ... Amacrine cell Retinal cell interneuron interacting at the Inner Plexiform Layer (IPL), the second synaptic retinal layer where bipolar cells and ganglion cells synapse. ... A ganglion cell (or sometimes called a gangliocyte) is a type of neuron located in the retina that receives visual information from photoreceptors via various intermediate cells such as bipolar cells, amacrine cells, and horizontal cells. ...

Bibliography

  • Campbell, Neil A., and Reece, Jane B. (2002). Biology. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings, 1064-1067. ISBN 0-8053-6624-5. 
  • Freeman, Scott (2002). Biological Science (2nd Edition). Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall, 835-837. ISBN 0-13-140941-7. 

References

  1. ^ Human Physiology and Mechanisms of Disease by Arthur C. Guyton (1992) p.373
  2. ^ "Owl Eyesight" at owls.org
  3. ^ Bowmaker J.K. and Dartnall H.J.A., "Visual pigments of rods and cones in a human retina." J. Physiol. 298: pp501–511 (1980).

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