Emerging evidence indicates rods can communicate with retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) via pathways that do not involve gap-junctions. Here we investigated the significance of such pathways for central visual responses, using mice lacking a key gap junction protein (Cx36(-/-)) and carrying a mutation that disrupts cone phototransduction (Gnat2(cpfl3)). Electrophysiological recordings spanning the lateral geniculate revealed rod-mediated ON and OFF visual responses in virtually every cell from all major anatomical sub-compartments of this nucleus. Hence, we demonstrate that one or more classes of RGC receive input from Cx36-independent rod pathways and drive extensive ON and OFF responses across the visual thalamus.
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