Predicting and Manipulating Cone Responses to Naturalistic Inputs

Juan M. Angueyra, Jacob Baudin, Gregory W. Schwartz, Fred Rieke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Primates explore their visual environment by making frequent saccades, discrete and ballistic eye movements that direct the fovea to specific regions of interest. Saccades produce large and rapid changes in input. The magnitude of these changes and the limited signaling range of visual neurons mean that effective encoding requires rapid adaptation. Here, we explore how macaque cone photoreceptors maintain sensitivity under these conditions. Adaptation makes cone responses to naturalistic stimuli highly nonlinear and dependent on stimulus history. Such responses cannot be explained by linear or linear-nonlinear models but are well explained by a biophysical model of phototransduction based on well-established biochemical interactions. The resulting model can predict cone responses to a broad range of stimuli and enables the design of stimuli that elicit specific (e.g., linear) cone photocurrents. These advances will provide a foundation for investigating the contributions of cone phototransduction and post-transduction processing to visual function.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We know a great deal about adaptational mechanisms that adjust sensitivity to slow changes in visual inputs such as the rising or setting sun. We know much less about the rapid adaptational mechanisms that are essential for maintaining sensitivity as gaze shifts around a single visual scene. We characterize how phototransduction in cone photoreceptors adapts to rapid changes in input similar to those encountered during natural vision. We incorporate these measurements into a quantitative model that can predict cone responses across a broad range of stimuli. This model not only shows how cone phototransduction aids the encoding of natural inputs but also provides a tool to identify the role of the cone responses in shaping those of downstream visual neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1254-1274
Number of pages21
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 16 2022


  • neural coding
  • photoreceptors
  • phototransduction
  • retina
  • sensory processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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