Expression of neuronal connexin36 in AII amacrine cells of the mammalian retina

J Neurosci. 2001 Jan 1;21(1):230-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.21-01-00230.2001.


We have studied the expression pattern of neuronal connexin36 (Cx36) in the mouse and rat retina. In vertical sections of both retinas, a polyclonal antibody directed against Cx36 produced punctate labeling in the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Intense immunoreactivity was localized to the entire OFF sublamina of the IPL, and much weaker staining could be observed in the ON sublamina. Double-labeling experiments in the rat retina with antibodies directed against parvalbumin indicate that Cx36 is expressed on dendrites of AII amacrine cells. Cx36-like immunoreactivity in sublamina a of the IPL did not overlap with lobular appendages or cell bodies of AII amacrine cells. In a mouse retinal slice preparation, AII amacrine and ON cone bipolar cells were intracellularly injected with Neurobiotin and counterstained with antibody against Cx36. Punctate labeling appeared to be in register with dendritic arborization of AII amacrines and cone bipolar cells in the ON sublamina of the IPL. Whereas AII amacrine cells isolated from the rat retina clearly displayed Cx36-like immunoreactivity, isolated ON cone bipolar cells were negative for Cx36. Axon terminals of rod bipolar cells were decorated with Cx36-positive contacts but did not express Cx36 themselves. These results indicate that Cx36 is expressed by AII amacrine cells in homologous and heterologous gap junctions made with AII amacrines and cone bipolar cells, respectively. The heterologous gap junctions appear to be heterotypic, because ON cone bipolar cells do not express Cx36.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Connexins / biosynthesis*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Eye Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism
  • Gap Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure


  • Connexins
  • Eye Proteins
  • connexin 36