1. In Drosophila the retinula cells and the cells in the lamina ganglionaris contribute to the ERG. This is due to extracellular resistance barriers across these cells ; one of these is situated near the proximal ends of the rhabdomeres separating the retinula cell layer from the rest of the fly, the other is situated either within several layers or homogeneously distributed throughout the lamina. Because of their different origin, two components of the ERG, the receptor potential and the lamina potential can be separated experimentally.
2. At high light intensity the receptor potential is larger than the lamina potential. However, under stimulus conditions where the receptor potential is very small (a) at low light intensity, (b) at high intensity but low flash contrast (ΔI/I), (c) at high frequency of stimulation, the lamina potential exceeds the receptor potential. It is suggested that these properties reflect summation and adaptation of the sensory input within the lamina. The shape of the lamina potential has, under these conditions, the characteristics of a high-pass filter and may improve the fly's response to high stimulus frequencies.
3. The ERGS of the mutants ebony, tan and opm 2 have normal or nearly normal receptor potentials but at the same time demonstrate severe defects in the lamina potentials. In ebony a fast on-effect at high intensity, and in tan a delayed off-effect at high intensity, are still present. The mutant opm 2 shows very little lamina activity at all. The difference of the defects in the three mutants argues against non-specific current leaks in or around the lamina. Therefore it is most likely that the lamina properties of summation, adaptation, and high-pass filtering, are largely lost in the three mutants. This is supported by behavioural experiments.