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J Neurophysiol November 1, 1976; 39 (6): 1272-87.

Photoreceptor thresholds and visual pigment levels in normal and vitamin A-deprived Xenopus tadpoles.

Witkovsky P , Gallin E , Hollyfield JG , Ripps H , Bridges CD .

1. Measurements of the aspartate-isolated PIII component of the electroretinogram (ERG) were used to estimate photoreceptor threshold in dark-adapted tadpoles of the clawed toad, Xenopus laevis raised on a normal diet. Spectral sensitivity functions established that the rod mechanism governed absolute dark thresholds from stage 40 to the end of premetamorphic development. 2. Parallel measures of rod outer-segment dimensions and visual pigment levels demonstrated a) that visual pigment concentration remained constant at all tadpole stages, and b) that the fall in threshold over the course of premetamorphic development depended exclusively on the increased probability of quantal absorption that accompanied the growth of the rod outer segments. 3. When tadpoles were obtained from vitamin A-deficient females and raised subsequently on a vitamin A-free diet, the first appearance of the ERG was delayed and its absolute threshold raised, with respect to controls. 4. Histological examination of vitamin A-deprived retinas indicated that rod outer segments retained their structural integrity in spite of up to a 75% loss of visual pigment. 5. The threshold rise which accompanied a fall in visual pigment levels, whether effected by dietary deficiency or by bleaching, was greater than could be attributed solely to a reduction in the probability of quantal absorption.

PubMed ID: 993831
Article link: J Neurophysiol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: erg