Target-Specific Glycinergic Transmission from VGluT3-Expressing Amacrine Cells Shapes Suppressive Contrast Responses in the Retina

Nai Wen Tien, Tahnbee Kim, Daniel Kerschensteiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neurons that release more than one transmitter exist throughout the CNS. Yet, how these neurons deploy multiple transmitters and shape the function of specific circuits is not well understood. VGluT3-expressing amacrine cells (VG3-ACs) provide glutamatergic input to ganglion cells activated by contrast and motion. Using optogenetics, we find that VG3-ACs provide selective glycinergic input to a retinal ganglion cell type suppressed by contrast and motion (SbC-RGCs). Firing of SbC-RGCs is suppressed at light ON and OFF over a broad range of stimulus sizes. Anatomical circuit reconstructions reveal that VG3-ACs form inhibitory synapses preferentially on processes that link ON and OFF arbors of SbC-RGC dendrites. Removal of VG3-ACs from mature circuits reduces inhibition and attenuates spike suppression of SbC-RGCs in a contrast- and size-selective manner, illustrating the modularity of retinal circuits. VG3-ACs thus use dual transmitters in a target-specific manner and shape suppressive contrast responses in the retina by glycinergic transmission. Tien et al. show that VG3-ACs deploy dual transmitters (glycine and glutamate) in a target-specific manner and form glycinergic synapses on the link processes connecting ON and OFF arbors of SbC-RGC dendrites. Cell-type-specific deletion in mature circuits reveals contrast- and size-selective influences of VG3-ACs on SbC-RGC responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1375
Number of pages7
JournalCell Reports
Volume15
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - May 17 2016

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