AMIGO1 Promotes Axon Growth and Territory Matching in the Retina

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Dendrite and axon arbor sizes are critical to neuronal function and vary widely between different neuron types. The relative dendrite and axon sizes of synaptic partners control signal convergence and divergence in neural circuits. The developmental mechanisms that determine cell-type-specific dendrite and axon size and match synaptic partners' arbor territories remain obscure. Here, we discover that retinal horizontal cells express the leucine-rich repeat domain cell adhesion molecule AMIGO1. Horizontal cells provide pathway-specific feedback to photoreceptors-horizontal cell axons to rods and horizontal cell dendrites to cones. AMIGO1 selectively expands the size of horizontal cell axons. When Amigo1 is deleted in all or individual horizontal cells of either sex, their axon arbors shrink. By contrast, horizontal cell dendrites and synapse formation of horizontal cell axons and dendrites are unaffected by AMIGO1 removal. The dendrites of rod bipolar cells, which do not express AMIGO1, shrink in parallel with horizontal cell axons in Amigo1 knockout (Amigo1 KO) mice. This territory matching maintains the function of the rod bipolar pathway, preserving bipolar cell responses and retinal output signals in Amigo1 KO mice. We previously identified AMIGO2 as a scaling factor that constrains retinal neurite arbors. Our current results identify AMIGO1 as a scaling factor that expands retinal neurite arbors and reveal territory matching as a novel homeostatic mechanism. Territory matching interacts with other homeostatic mechanisms to stabilize the development of the rod bipolar pathway, which mediates vision near the threshold.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Neurons send and receive signals through branched axonal and dendritic arbors. The size of these arbors is critical to the function of a neuron. Axons and dendrites grow during development and are stable at maturity. The mechanisms that determine axon and dendrite size are not well understood. Here, we identify a cell surface protein, AMIGO1, that selectively promotes axon growth of horizontal cells, a retinal interneuron. Removal of AMIGO1 reduces the size of horizontal cell axons without affecting the size of their dendrites or the ability of both arbors to form connections. The changes in horizontal cell axons are matched by changes in synaptic partner dendrites to stabilize retinal function. This identifies territory matching as a novel homeostatic plasticity mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2678-2689
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 30 2022


  • arbor size
  • circuit development
  • horizontal cell
  • LRR protein
  • rod bipolar pathway


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