Capacitance limits the bandwidth of engineered and biological electrical circuits because it determines the gain–bandwidth product (GBWP). With a fixed GBWP, bandwidth can only be improved by decreasing gain. In engineered circuits, an inductance reduces this limitation through shunt peaking but no equivalent mechanism has been reported for biological circuits. We show that in blowfly photoreceptors a voltage-dependent K+ conductance, the fast delayed rectifier (FDR), produces shunt peaking thereby increasing bandwidth without reducing gain. Furthermore, the FDR's time constant is close to the value that maximizes the photoreceptor GBWP while reducing distortion associated with the creation of a wide-band filter. Using a model of the honeybee drone photoreceptor, we also show that a voltage-dependent Na+ conductance can produce shunt peaking. We argue that shunt peaking may be widespread in graded neurons and dendrites.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3517617.
- Received September 6, 2016.
- Accepted October 11, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.