Spatial-temporal patterns of retinal waves underlying activity-dependent refinement of retinofugal projections

Neuron. 2009 Oct 29;64(2):200-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.09.021.


During development, retinal axons project coarsely within their visual targets before refining to form organized synaptic connections. Spontaneous retinal activity, in the form of acetylcholine-driven retinal waves, is proposed to be necessary for establishing these projection patterns. In particular, both axonal terminations of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and the size of receptive fields of target neurons are larger in mice that lack the beta2 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (beta2KO). Here, using a large-scale, high-density multielectrode array to record activity from hundreds of RGCs simultaneously, we present analysis of early postnatal retinal activity from both wild-type (WT) and beta2KO retinas. We find that beta2KO retinas have correlated patterns of activity, but many aspects of these patterns differ from those of WT retina. Quantitative analysis suggests that wave directionality, coupled with short-range correlated bursting patterns of RGCs, work together to refine retinofugal projections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / genetics
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Neurological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Probability
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / deficiency
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • nicotinic receptor beta2