Frequency characteristics in the visual system of Drosophila: genetic dissection of electroretinogram components.
Various drosophila mutants were used to dissect the electroretinogram (ERG) frequency response into components of different origins. The ommochrome granules in the receptor cell body are known to migrate in response to light, limiting the amount of light entering the rhabdomere. Comparison between the ERG frequency responses of the wild type and the mutant lacking the ommochrome granules indicates that the pigment migration reduces the amplitude gain at frequencies below 0.5 Hz. The ERG of drosophila compound eyes consists of contributions from receptor cells and the second-order cells in the lamina. Mutants with defective laminae showed a high-frequency cutoff with a corner frequency of about 20 Hz, while in wild type the response peaked in that frequency region. These results suggest that the lamina contributes mainly to the high-frequency components of the ERG transfer function. The shot noise model (Dodge et al., 1968) has been tested in drosophila by comparing the frequency response of the superimposed on the intracellular receptor potential. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the receptor potential consists of a summation of small discrete potentials (bumps). In a mutant in which the bumps exhibit latency dispersion in response to a dim flash, the receptor showed a poor high-frequency response, the corner frequency being lowered to about 1-2 Hz. The slope of the cutoff was approximately 20 dB/dec indicating that the latency dispersion in this mutant is the major limiting factor in temporal resolution. Light-evoked high frequency oscillations have been observed in the ERG of another mutant. The oscillation was found sharply turned to light flickering at about 55 Hz.
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