Cone contacts, mosaics, and territories of bipolar cells in the mouse retina

J Neurosci. 2009 Jan 7;29(1):106-17. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4442-08.2009.


We report a quantitative analysis of the different bipolar cell types of the mouse retina. They were identified in wild-type mice by specific antibodies or in transgenic mouse lines by specific expression of green fluorescent protein or Clomeleon. The bipolar cell densities, their cone contacts, their dendritic coverage, and their axonal tiling were measured in retinal whole mounts. The results show that each and all cones are contacted by at least one member of any given type of bipolar cell (not considering genuine blue cones). Consequently, each cone feeds its light signals into a minimum of 10 different bipolar cells. Parallel processing of an image projected onto the retina, therefore, starts at the first synapse of the retina, the cone pedicle. The quantitative analysis suggests that our proposed catalog of 11 cone bipolar cells and one rod bipolar cell is complete, and all major bipolar cell types of the mouse retina appear to have been discovered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIIbeta Subunit / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT3 / genetics
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells* / classification
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells* / cytology
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells* / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptotagmin II / metabolism


  • CLM-1 protein, mouse
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIIbeta Subunit
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Gluk1 kainate receptor
  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT3
  • Synaptotagmin II
  • Syt2 protein, mouse
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases