Failure to maintain eye-specific segregation in nob, a mutant with abnormally patterned retinal activity

Neuron. 2006 Apr 20;50(2):247-59. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.033.


Axon terminals from the two eyes initially overlap in the dorsal-lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) but subsequently refine to occupy nonoverlapping territories. Retinal activity is required to establish and maintain this segregation. We show that despite the presence of retinal activity, segregated projections desegregate when the structure of activity is altered. Early in development, spontaneous retinal activity in the no b-wave (nob) mouse is indistinguishable from that of wild-type mice, and eye-specific segregation proceeds normally. But, around eye-opening, spontaneous and visually evoked activity in nob retinas become abnormal, coincident with a failure to preserve precise eye-specific territories. Dark-rearing studies suggest that altered visual experience is not responsible. Transgenic rescue of the mutated protein (nyctalopin) within nob retinal interneurons, without rescuing expression in either retinal projection neurons or their postsynaptic targets in the dLGN, restores spontaneous retinal activity patterns and prevents desegregation. Thus, normally structured spontaneous retinal activity stabilizes newly refined retinogeniculate circuitry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Geniculate Bodies / growth & development*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation
  • Proteoglycans / genetics
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development*


  • Proteoglycans