Immunocytochemical description of five bipolar cell types of the mouse retina

J Comp Neurol. 2003 Jan 20;455(4):463-76. doi: 10.1002/cne.10491.


With the ever-growing number of transgenic mice being used in vision research, a precise knowledge of the cellular organization of the mouse retina is required. As with the cat, rabbit, rat, and primate retinae, as many as 10 cone bipolar types and one rod bipolar type can be expected to exist in the mouse retina; however, they still have to be defined. In the current study, several immunocytochemical markers were applied to sections of mouse retina, and the labeling of bipolar cells was studied using confocal microscopy and electron microscopy. By using antibodies against the neurokinin-3 receptor NK3R; the plasma membrane calcium ATPase1 (PMCA1); and the calcium (Ca)-binding proteins CaB1, CaB5, caldendrin, and recoverin, three different OFF-cone bipolar cells could be identified. One type of ON-cone bipolar cell was identified through its immunoreactivity for CaB5 and PMCA1. Rod bipolar cells, comparable in morphology to those of other mammalian retinae, expressed protein kinase Calpha and CaB5. It was also shown that putative OFF-cone bipolar cells receive light signals through flat contacts at the cone pedicle base, whereas ON-cone bipolar signaling involves invaginating contacts. The distribution of the kainate receptor subunit GluR5 was studied by confocal and electron microscopy. GluR5 was expressed at flat bipolar cell contacts; however, it appears to be involved with only certain types of OFF-cone bipolar cells. This suggests that different bipolar cell types receive their light signals through different sets of glutamate receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / analysis
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / biosynthesis
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Plasma Membrane Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Protein Kinase C / analysis
  • Protein Kinase C / biosynthesis
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / analysis
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / analysis
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / biosynthesis
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Gluk1 kainate receptor
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3
  • Prkca protein, mouse
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • Plasma Membrane Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Atp2b1 protein, mouse
  • Atp2b1 protein, rat
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases