Document Detail

Coincidence Detection of Single-Photon Responses in the Inner Retina at the Sensitivity Limit of Vision.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25454583     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
BACKGROUND: Vision in starlight relies on our ability to detect single absorbed photons. Indeed, the sensitivity of dark-adapted vision approaches limits set by the quantal nature of light. This sensitivity requires neural mechanisms that selectively transmit quantal responses and suppress noise. Such mechanisms face an inevitable tradeoff because signal and noise cannot be perfectly separated, and rejecting noise also means rejecting signal.
RESULTS: We report measurements of single-photon responses in the output signals of the primate retina. We find that visual signals arising from a few absorbed photons are read out fundamentally differently by primate On and Off parasol ganglion cells, key retinal output neurons. Off parasol cells respond linearly to near-threshold flashes, retaining sensitivity to each absorbed photon but maintaining a high level of noise. On parasol cells respond nonlinearly due to thresholding of their excitatory synaptic inputs. This nonlinearity reduces neural noise but also limits information about single-photon absorptions.
CONCLUSIONS: The long-standing idea that information about each photon absorption is available for behavior at the sensitivity limit of vision is not universally true across retinal outputs. More generally, our work shows how a neural circuit balances the competing needs for sensitivity and noise rejection.
Petri Ala-Laurila; Fred Rieke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-11-6
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1879-0445     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2014 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-12-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  2014-12-3    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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