A neuronal circuit for colour vision based on rod-cone opponency

M.A. Jösch, M. Meister, Nature 532 (2016) 236–239.

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Abstract
In bright light, cone-photoreceptors are active and colour vision derives from a comparison of signals in cones with different visual pigments. This comparison begins in the retina, where certain retinal ganglion cells have 'colour-opponent' visual responses-excited by light of one colour and suppressed by another colour. In dim light, rod-photoreceptors are active, but colour vision is impossible because they all use the same visual pigment. Instead, the rod signals are thought to splice into retinal circuits at various points, in synergy with the cone signals. Here we report a new circuit for colour vision that challenges these expectations. A genetically identified type of mouse retinal ganglion cell called JAMB (J-RGC), was found to have colour-opponent responses, OFF to ultraviolet (UV) light and ON to green light. Although the mouse retina contains a green-sensitive cone, the ON response instead originates in rods. Rods and cones both contribute to the response over several decades of light intensity. Remarkably, the rod signal in this circuit is antagonistic to that from cones. For rodents, this UV-green channel may play a role in social communication, as suggested by spectral measurements from the environment. In the human retina, all of the components for this circuit exist as well, and its function can explain certain experiences of colour in dim lights, such as a 'blue shift' in twilight. The discovery of this genetically defined pathway will enable new targeted studies of colour processing in the brain.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2016-04-14
Journal Title
Nature
Acknowledgement
This work was supported by grants to M.M. from the NIH and to M.J. from The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization.
Volume
532
Issue
7598
Page
236 - 239
IST-REx-ID

Cite this

Jösch MA, Meister M. A neuronal circuit for colour vision based on rod-cone opponency. Nature. 2016;532(7598):236-239. doi:10.1038/nature17158
Jösch, M. A., & Meister, M. (2016). A neuronal circuit for colour vision based on rod-cone opponency. Nature, 532(7598), 236–239. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature17158
Jösch, Maximilian A, and Markus Meister. “A Neuronal Circuit for Colour Vision Based on Rod-Cone Opponency.” Nature 532, no. 7598 (2016): 236–39. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature17158.
M. A. Jösch and M. Meister, “A neuronal circuit for colour vision based on rod-cone opponency,” Nature, vol. 532, no. 7598, pp. 236–239, 2016.
Jösch MA, Meister M. 2016. A neuronal circuit for colour vision based on rod-cone opponency. Nature. 532(7598), 236–239.
Jösch, Maximilian A., and Markus Meister. “A Neuronal Circuit for Colour Vision Based on Rod-Cone Opponency.” Nature, vol. 532, no. 7598, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, pp. 236–39, doi:10.1038/nature17158.

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