Evidence that each S cone in macaque fovea drives one narrow-field and several wide-field blue-yellow ganglion cells

J Neurosci. 2004 Sep 22;24(38):8366-78. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1063-04.2004.


A rule of retinal wiring is that many receptors converge onto fewer bipolar cells and still fewer ganglion cells. However, for each S cone in macaque fovea, there are two S-cone ON bipolar cells and two blue-yellow (BY) ganglion cells. To understand this apparent rule reversal, we reconstructed synaptic patterns of divergence and convergence and determined the basic three-tiered unit of connectivity that repeats across the retina. Each foveal S cone diverges to four S-cone ON bipolar cells but contacts them unequally, providing 1-16 ribbon synapses per cell. Next, each bipolar cell diverges to two BY ganglion cells and also contacts them unequally, providing approximately 14 and approximately 28 ribbon synapses per cell. Overall, each S cone diverges to approximately six BY ganglion cells, dominating one and contributing more modestly to the others. Conversely, of each pair of BY ganglion cells, one is dominated by a single S cone and one is diffusely driven by several. This repeating circuit extracts blue/yellow information on two different spatiotemporal scales and thus parallels the circuits for achromatic, spatial vision, in which each cone dominates one narrow-field ganglion cell (midget) and contributes some input to several wider-field ganglion cells (parasol). Finally, because BY ganglion cells have coextensive +S and -(L+M) receptive fields, and each S cone contributes different weights to different BY ganglion cells, the coextensive receptive fields must be already present in the synaptic terminal of the S cone. The S-cone terminal thus constitutes the first critical locus for BY color vision.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Fovea Centralis / cytology
  • Fovea Centralis / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology