The mouse retina contains two classes of cone photopigment with respective peak sensitivities in the middle (M) wavelengths and in the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the spectrum. To examine the functional roles subserved by the UV pigment, the absorption of light by the mouse lens was measured and voltage versus intensity (V-log I) functions were derived from recordings of the flicker ERG made under test conditions designed to maximize the relative sensitivities of the two pigment types. These V-log I data accurately predict ERG-based spectral sensitivity functions, but they fail to provide a similarly accurate account of behaviorally based measurements of spectral sensitivity in that the ERG spectral sensitivity function has much higher sensitivity in the UV wavelengths than does the behavioral spectral sensitivity function. The disparity between these two is argued to be a consequence of the widespread receptor co-expression of the two types of cone pigment in the mouse and of the pattern of retinal wiring that is thought to be characteristic of all mammalian retinas.
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