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Photoreceptor Cells: Specialized cells that detect and transduce light. They are classified into two types based on their light reception structure, the ciliary photoreceptors and the rhabdomeric photoreceptors with Microvilli. Ciliary photoreceptor cells use Opsins that activate a Phosphodiesterase phosphodiesterase cascade. Rhabdomeric photoreceptor cells use opsins that activate a Phospholipase c cascade.

Imaging Ca2+ Dynamics in Cone Photoreceptor Axon Terminals of the Mouse Retina

1Institute for Ophthalmic Research, University of Tübingen, 2Graduate School of Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, University of Tübingen, 3Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience, University of Tübingen, 4Molecular Genetics Laboratory, University of Tübingen, 5Centre for Ophthalmology, University of Tübingen

JoVE 52588

 Neuroscience

The Retina

JoVE 10857

The retina is a layer of nervous tissue at the back of the eye that transduces light into neural signals. This process, called phototransduction, is carried out by rod and cone photoreceptor cells in the back of the retina.

Photoreceptors have outer segments with stacks of membranous disks that contain photopigment molecules—such as rhodopsin in rods. The photopigments absorb light, triggering a cascade of molecular events that results in the cell becoming hyperpolarized (with a more negative membrane potential) relative to when it is in the dark. This hyperpolarization decreases neurotransmitter release. Thus, unlike stimuli for most other sensory neurons, light induces a reduction in neurotransmitter release from photoreceptors. Although rods and cones both detect light, they play distinct roles in vision. Rods are highly sensitive to light, and therefore predominate in low-light conditions, such as at night. Cones are less sensitive and are used for most daytime vision. Cones are densely concentrated in the fovea—a small depression near the center of the retina that contains very few rods—and provide a high level of visual acuity in the area where the eye is focused. Cones also convey color information, because the different types—S (short), M (medium), and L (long) in humans—maximally absorb different wa

 Core: Biology

Photoreceptors and Plant Responses to Light

JoVE 11115

Light plays a significant role in regulating the growth and development of plants. In addition to providing energy for photosynthesis, light provides other important cues to regulate a range of developmental and physiological responses in plants.

What Is a Photoreceptor?

Plants respond to light using a unique set of light-sensitive proteins called photoreceptors. Photoreceptors contain photopigments, which consist of a protein component bound to a non-protein, light-absorbing pigment called the chromophore. There are several different types of photoreceptors, which vary in their amino acid sequences and the type of chromophore present. These types maximally respond to different specific wavelengths of light, ranging from ultraviolet B (280-315 nanometers) to far-red (700-750 nanometers). The chromophore's absorption of light elicits structural changes in the photoreceptor, triggering a series of signal transduction events that result in gene expression changes. The Phytochrome System Many types of photoreceptors are present in plants. Phytochromes are a class of photoreceptors that sense red and far-red light. The phytochrome system acts as a natural light switch, allowing plants to respond to the intensity, duration, and color of environmental light. The phytochrome system plays a s

 Core: Biology

Vision

JoVE 10858

Vision is the result of light being detected and transduced into neural signals by the retina of the eye. This information is then further analyzed and interpreted by the brain. First, light enters the front of the eye and is focused by the cornea and lens onto the retina—a thin sheet of neural tissue lining the back of the eye. Because of refraction through the convex lens of the eye, images are projected onto the retina upside-down and reversed. Light is absorbed by the rod and cone photoreceptor cells at the back of the retina, causing a decrease in their rate of neurotransmitter release. In addition to detecting photons of light, color information is also encoded here, since different types of cones respond maximally to different wavelengths of light. The photoreceptors then send visual information to bipolar cells near the middle of the retina, which is followed by projection to ganglion cells at the front of the retina. Horizontal and amacrine cells mediate lateral interactions between these cell types, integrating information from multiple photoreceptors. This integration aids in the initial processing of visual information, such as detecting simple features, like edges. Along with glial cells, the axons of the retinal ganglion cells make up the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain. The optic nerve partially cro

 Core: Biology

Ophthalmoscopic Examination

JoVE 10146

Source: Richard Glickman-Simon, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, MA


The simplest ophthalmoscopes consist of an aperture to look through, a diopter indicator, and a disc for selecting lenses. The ophthalmoscope is primarily used to examine the fundus, or the…

 Physical Examinations II

Biological Clocks and Seasonal Responses

JoVE 11116

The circadian—or biological—clock is an intrinsic, timekeeping, molecular mechanism that allows plants to coordinate physiological activities over 24-hour cycles called circadian rhythms. Photoperiodism is a collective term for the biological responses of plants to variations in the relative lengths of dark and light periods. The period of light-exposure is called the photoperiod. One example of photoperiodism in plants is seasonal flowering. Scientists believe that plants are cued to flower by the correspondence of their circadian clocks to changes in the photoperiod. They detect these changes using light-sensitive photoreceptor systems. Phytochromes are a group of photoreceptors involved in flowering and other light-mediated processes. The phytochrome system enables plants to compare the duration of dark periods over several days. Short-day (long-night) plants flower after a minimum number of consecutive long nights. Long-day (short-night) plants, by contrast, initiate flowering following a minimum number of consecutive short nights. Phytochromes exist as two interconvertible forms: Pr and Pfr. Pr is converted into Pfr during the day, so Pfr is more abundant in daylight hours. Pfr is converted into Pr at night, so there is more Pr at nighttime. Therefore, plants can determine the length of the day-night cycle by me

 Core: Biology

Color Afterimages

JoVE 10194

Source: Laboratory of Jonathan Flombaum—Johns Hopkins University


Human color vision is impressive. People with normal color vision can tell apart millions of individual hues. Most amazingly, this ability is achieved with fairly simple hardware.


Part of the power of human color vision comes from a…

 Sensation and Perception

Physical Properties Of Minerals I: Crystals and Cleavage

JoVE 10007

Source: Laboratory of Alan Lester - University of Colorado Boulder


The physical properties of minerals comprise various measurable and discernible attributes, including color, streak, magnetic properties, hardness, crystal growth form, and crystal cleavage. Each of these properties are mineral-specific, and they are fundamentally related to a particular mineral’s chemical…

 Earth Science
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