In the transient receptor potential (trp) mutant of Drosophila, the receptor potential appears almost normal in response to a flash but quickly decays to baseline during prolonged illumination. Photometric and early receptor potential measurements of the pigment suggest that the pigment is normal and that the decay of the trp response during illumination does not arise from a reduction in the available photopigment molecules. However, there is reduction in pigment concentration with age. Light adaptation cannot account for the decay of the trp response during illumination: in normal Drosophila a dim background light shortens the latency and rise time of the response and also shifts the intensity response function (V-log I curve) to higher levels of light intensity with relatively little reduction in the maximal amplitude (Vmax) of response. In the trp mutant, a dim background light or short, strong adapting light paradoxically lengthens the latency and rise time of the response and substantially reduces Vmax without a pronounced shift of the V-log I curve along the I axis. The effect of adapting light on the latency and V-log I curve seen in trp are associated with a reduction in effective stimulus intensity (reduction in excitation efficiency) rather than with light adaptation. Removing extracellular Ca+2 reduces light adaptation in normal Drosophila, as evidenced by the appearance of "square" responses to strong illumination. In the trp mutant, removing extracellular Ca+2 does not prevent the decay of the response during illumination.

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