Project description:In the mammalian retina, bipolar cells and ganglion cells which stratify in sublamina a of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) show OFF responses to light stimuli while those that stratify in sublamina b show ON responses. This functional relationship between anatomy and physiology is a key principle of retinal organization. However, there are at least three types of retinal neurons, including intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) and dopaminergic amacrine cells, which violate this principle. These cell types have light-driven ON responses, but their dendrites mainly stratify in sublamina a of the IPL, the OFF sublayer. Recent anatomical studies suggested that certain ON cone bipolar cells make axonal or ectopic synapses as they descend through sublamina a, thus providing ON input to cells which stratify in the OFF sublayer. Using immunoelectron microscopy with 3-dimensional reconstruction, we have identified axonal synapses of ON cone bipolar cells in the rabbit retina. Ten calbindin ON cone bipolar axons made en passant ribbon synapses onto amacrine or ganglion dendrites in sublamina a of the IPL. Compared to the ribbon synapses made by bipolar terminals, these axonal ribbon synapses were characterized by a broad postsynaptic element that appeared as a monad and by the presence of multiple short synaptic ribbons. These findings confirm that certain ON cone bipolar cells can provide ON input to amacrine and ganglion cells whose dendrites stratify in the OFF sublayer via axonal synapses. The monadic synapse with multiple ribbons may be a diagnostic feature of the ON cone bipolar axonal synapse in sublamina a. The presence of multiple ribbons and a broad postsynaptic density suggest these structures may be very efficient synapses. We also identified axonal inputs to ipRGCs with the architecture described above.
Project description:Amacrine cells constitute a diverse, yet poorly characterized, cell population in the inner retina. Here, the authors sought to characterize the morphology, molecular physiology, and electrophysiology of a subpopulation of EGFP-expressing retinal amacrine cells identified in a novel zebrafish transgenic line.After 7.2 kb of the zebrafish mab21l2 promoter was cloned upstream of EGFP, it was used to create the Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)ucd2 transgenic line. Transgenic EGFP expression was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy in whole mount embryos, followed by detailed analysis of EGFP-expressing amacrine cells using fluorescence microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and electrophysiology.A 7.2-kb fragment of the mab21l2 promoter region is sufficient to drive transgene expression in the developing lens and tectum. Intriguingly, EGFP was also observed in differentiated amacrine cells. EGFP-labeled amacrine cells in Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)ucd2 constitute a novel GABA- and glycine-negative amacrine subpopulation. Morphologically, EGFP-expressing cells stratify in sublamina 1 to 2 (type 1 OFF) or sublamina 3 to 4 (type 1 ON) or branch diffusely (type 2). Electrophysiologically, these cells segregate into amacrine cells with somas in the vitreal part of the INL and linear responses to current injection or, alternatively, amacrine cells with somas proximal to the IPL and active oscillatory voltage signals. CONCLUSIONS; The novel transgenic line Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)ucd2 uncovers a unique subpopulation of retinal amacrine cells.
Project description:A subpopulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) expresses the photopigment melanopsin, rendering these cells intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs). These cells are critical for competent circadian entrainment, pupillary light reflex, and other non-imaging-forming photic responses. Research has now demonstrated the presence of multiple subpopulations of ipRGC based on the dendritic stratification in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), those monostratified in the Off sublamina (M1), those monostratified in the On sublamina (M2,4,5), and those bistratified in both the On and the Off sublaminae (M3). Despite evidence that M1 and M2 cells are distinct subpopulations of ipRGC based on distinct morphological and physiological properties, the inclusion of M3 cells as a distinct subtype has remained controversial. Aside from the identification of M3 cells as a morphological subpopulation of ipRGC, to date there have been no functional descriptions of M3 cell physiology or synaptic inputs. Our data provide the first in-depth description of M3 cell structural and functional properties. We report that M3 cells form a morphologically heterogeneous population but one that is physiologically homogeneous with properties similar to those of M2 cells.
Project description:A key principle of retinal organization is that distinct ON and OFF channels are relayed by separate populations of bipolar cells to different sublaminae of the inner plexiform layer (IPL). ON bipolar cell axons have been thought to synapse exclusively in the inner IPL (the ON sublamina) onto dendrites of ON-type amacrine and ganglion cells. However, M1 melanopsin-expressing ganglion cells and dopaminergic amacrine (DA) cells apparently violate this dogma. Both are driven by ON bipolar cells, but their dendrites stratify in the outermost IPL, within the OFF sublamina. Here, in the mouse retina, we show that some ON cone bipolar cells make ribbon synapses in the outermost OFF sublayer, where they costratify with and contact the dendrites of M1 and DA cells. Whole-cell recording and dye filling in retinal slices indicate that type 6 ON cone bipolars provide some of this ectopic ON channel input. Imaging studies in dissociated bipolar cells show that these ectopic ribbon synapses are capable of vesicular release. There is thus an accessory ON sublayer in the outer IPL.
Project description:Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels constitute a large family of cation permeable ion channels that serve crucial functions in sensory systems by transducing environmental changes into cellular voltage and calcium signals. Within the retina, two closely related members of the melastatin TRP family, TRPM1 and TRPM3, are highly expressed. TRPM1 has been shown to be required for the depolarizing response to light of ON-bipolar cells, but the role of TRPM3 in the retina is unknown. Immunohistochemical staining of mouse retina with an antibody directed against the C-terminus of TRPM3 labeled the inner plexiform layer (IPL) and a subset of cells in the ganglion cell layer. Within the IPL, TRPM3 immunofluorescence was markedly stronger in the OFF sublamina than in the ON sublamina. Electroretinogram recordings showed that the scotopic and photopic a- and b-waves of TRPM3(-/-) mice are normal indicating that TRPM3 does not play a major role in visual processing in the outer retina. TRPM3 activity was measured by calcium imaging and patch-clamp recording of immunopurified retinal ganglion cells. Application of the TRPM3 agonist, pregnenolone sulfate (PS), stimulated increases in intracellular calcium in ~40% of cells from wild type and TRPM1(‑/‑) mice, and the PS-stimulated increases in calcium were blocked by co-application of mefenamic acid, a TRPM3 antagonist. No PS-stimulated changes in fluorescence were observed in ganglion cells from TRPM3(-/-) mice. Similarly, PS-stimulated currents that could be blocked by mefenamic acid were recorded from wild type retinal ganglion cells but were absent in ganglion cells from TRPM3-/- mice.
Project description:In daylight vision, parallel processing starts at the cone synapse. Cone signals flow to On and Off bipolar cells, which are further divided into types according to morphology, immunocytochemistry, and function. The axons of the bipolar cell types stratify at different levels in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) and can interact with costratifying amacrine and ganglion cells. These interactions endow the ganglion cell types with unique functional properties. The wiring that underlies the interactions among bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells is poorly understood. It may be easier to elucidate this wiring if organizational rules can be established. We identify 13 types of cone bipolar cells in the ground squirrel, 11 of which contact contiguous cones, with the possible exception of short-wavelength-sensitive cones. Cells were identified by antibody labeling, tracer filling, and Golgi-like filling following transduction with an adeno-associated virus encoding for green fluorescent protein. The 11 bipolar cell types displayed two organizational patterns. In the first pattern, eight to 10 of the 11 types came in pairs with partially overlapping axonal stratification. Pairs shared morphological, immunocytochemical, and functional properties. The existence of similar pairs is a new motif that might have implications for how signals first diverge from a cone to bipolar cells and then reconverge onto a costratifying ganglion cell. The second pattern is a mirror symmetric organization about the middle of the IPL involving at least seven bipolar cell types. This anatomical symmetry may be associated with a functional symmetry in On and Off ganglion cell responses.
Project description:In the vertebrate retina, establishment of precise synaptic connections among distinct retinal neuron cell types is critical for processing visual information and for accurate visual perception. Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), amacrine cells and bipolar cells establish stereotypic neurite arborization patterns to form functional neural circuits in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), a laminar region that is conventionally divided into five major parallel sublaminae. However, the molecular mechanisms governing distinct retinal subtype targeting to specific sublaminae within the IPL remain to be elucidated. Here we show that the transmembrane semaphorin Sema6A signals through its receptor PlexinA4 (PlexA4) to control lamina-specific neuronal stratification in the mouse retina. Expression analyses demonstrate that Sema6A and PlexA4 proteins are expressed in a complementary fashion in the developing retina: Sema6A in most ON sublaminae and PlexA4 in OFF sublaminae of the IPL. Mice with null mutations in PlexA4 or Sema6A exhibit severe defects in stereotypic lamina-specific neurite arborization of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-expressing dopaminergic amacrine cells, intrinsically photosensitive RGCs (ipRGCs) and calbindin-positive cells in the IPL. Sema6A and PlexA4 genetically interact in vivo for the regulation of dopaminergic amacrine cell laminar targeting. Therefore, neuronal targeting to subdivisions of the IPL in the mammalian retina is directed by repulsive transmembrane guidance cues present on neuronal processes.
Project description:Connexin-36 (Cx36) is the major constituent of mammalian retinal gap junctions positioned in key signal pathways. Here, we examined the laminar and large-scale topographical distribution of Cx36 punctate immunolabels in the retina of the cat, a classical model of the mammalian visual system. Calretinin-immunoreactive (CaR-IR) cell populations served to outline the nuclear and plexiform layers and to stain specific neuronal populations. CaR-IR cells included horizontal cells in the outer retina, numerous amacrine cells, and scattered cells in the ganglion cell layer. Cx36-IR plaques were found among horizontal cell dendrites albeit without systematic colocalization of the two labels. Diffuse Cx36 immunoreactivity was found in the cytoplasm of AII amacrine cells, but no colocalization of Cx36 plaques was observed with either the perikarya or the long varicose dendrites of the CaR-IR non-AII amacrine cells. Cx36 puncta were seen throughout the entire inner plexiform layer showing their highest density in the ON sublamina. The densities of AII amacrine cell bodies and Cx36 plaques in the ON sublamina were strongly correlated across a wide range of eccentricities suggesting their anatomical association. However, the high number of plaques per AII cell suggests that a considerable fraction of Cx36 gap junctions in the ON sublamina is formed by other cell types than AII amacrine cells drawing attention to extensive but less studied electrically coupled networks.
Project description:The vertebrate retina is a distinctly laminar structure. Functionally, the inner plexiform layer, in which bipolar cells synapse onto amacrine and ganglion cells, is subdivided into two sublaminae. Cells that depolarize at light offset ramify in sublamina a; those that depolarize at light onset ramify in sublamina b. The separation of ON and OFF pathways appears to be a fundamental principle of retinal organization that is reflected throughout the entire visual system. We show three clear exceptions to this rule, in which the axons of calbindin-positive ON cone bipolar cells make ribbon synapses as they pass through the OFF layers with three separate cell types: (1) dopaminergic amacrine cells, (2) intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells, and (3) bistratified diving ganglion cells. The postsynaptic location of the AMPA receptor GluR4 at these sites suggests that ON bipolar cells can make functional synapses as their axons pass through the OFF layers of the inner plexiform layer. These findings resolve a long-standing question regarding the anomalous ON inputs to dopaminergic amacrine cells and suggest that certain ON bipolar cell axons can break the stratification rules of the inner plexiform layer by providing significant synaptic output before their terminal specializations. These outputs are not only to dopaminergic amacrine cells but also to at least two ON ganglion cell types that have dendrites that arborize in sublamina a.
Project description:A subset of ganglion cells in the mammalian retina express the photopigment melanopsin and are intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs). These cells are implicated in non-image-forming visual responses to environmental light, such as the pupillary light reflex, seasonal adaptations in physiology, photic inhibition of nocturnal melatonin release, and modulation of sleep, alertness, and activity. Morphological studies have confirmed the existence of at least three distinct subpopulations of ipRGCs, but studies of the physiology of ipRGCs at the single cell level have focused mainly on M1 cells, the dendrites of which stratify solely in sublamina a (OFF sublamina) of the retinal inner plexiform layer (IPL). Little work has been done to compare the functional properties of M1 cells to those of M2 cells, the dendrites of which stratify solely in sublamina b (ON sublamina) of the IPL. The goal of the current study was to compare the morphology, intrinsic light response, and intrinsic membrane properties of M1 and M2 cells in the mouse retina. Here we demonstrate additional morphological differences between M1 and M2 cells as well as distinct physiological characteristics of both the intrinsic light responses and intrinsic membrane properties. M2 cells displayed a more complex dendritic arborization and higher input resistance, yet showed lower light sensitivity and lower maximal light responses than M1 cells. These data indicate morphological and functional heterogeneity among ipRGCs.