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A sensory receptor's adequate stimulus is determined by the signal transduction mechanisms and ion channels incorporated in the sensory receptor's plasma membrane.
Types of adequate sensory stimulus include
- Light – When the adequate stimulus of a sensory receptor is light, the sensory receptors contain pigment molecules whose shape is transformed by light. Changes in these molecules activate ion channels which initiate sensory transduction.
- Sound – When the adequate stimulus of a sensory receptor is sound, the sensory receptors are hair cells (mechanoreceptors). These hair cells contain stereocilia, which when bent, trigger the opening of ion channels. Thus hair cells transform the pressure waves of the sound into receptor potentials to initiate sensory transduction.