Effects of the major glutamate receptor agonists, kainate (KA), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA), quisqualate (QA), N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), L-alpha-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (L-AP4), and trans-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (ACPD) on horizontal cells (HCs) were studied in superfused larval tiger salamander retina. 20 microM of KA, AMPA, and QA mimicked the action of 3 mM glutamate in the absence and presence of 1 mM Co2+. 20 microM 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) blocked the actions of KA and AMPA, but not those of QA and glutamate, indicative of the existence of CNQX-resistant QA receptors in the tiger salamander HCs. Prolonged application of ACPD hyperpolarized the HCs and enhanced the light responses, probably by shifting the resting HC voltage (Er) to a more hyperpolarized position. It is possible that the KA, AMPA, and CNQX-resistant QA receptors are involved in mediating the postsynaptic light responses in HCs, and ACPD receptors are involved in sensitivity adjustment of the HC responses.