Bipolar cell-photoreceptor connectivity in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) retina

J Comp Neurol. 2012 Nov 1;520(16):3786-802. doi: 10.1002/cne.23168.


Bipolar cells convey luminance, spatial, and color information from photoreceptors to amacrine and ganglion cells. We studied the photoreceptor connectivity of 321 bipolar cells in the adult zebrafish retina. 1,1'-Dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) was inserted into whole-mounted transgenic zebrafish retinas to label bipolar cells. The photoreceptors that connect to these DiI-labeled cells were identified by transgenic fluorescence or their positions relative to the fluorescent cones, as cones are arranged in a highly ordered mosaic: rows of alternating blue- (B) and ultraviolet-sensitive (UV) single cones alternate with rows of red-(R) and green-sensitive (G) double cones. Rod terminals intersperse among cone terminals. As many as 18 connectivity subtypes were observed, 9 of which-G, GBUV, RG, RGB, RGBUV, RGRod, RGBRod, RGBUVRod, and RRod bipolar cells-accounted for 96% of the population. Based on their axon terminal stratification, these bipolar cells could be further subdivided into ON, OFF, and ON-OFF cells. The dendritic spread size, soma depth and size, and photoreceptor connections of the 308 bipolar cells within the nine common connectivity subtypes were determined, and their dendritic tree morphologies and axonal stratification patterns compared. We found that bipolar cells with the same axonal stratification patterns could have heterogeneous photoreceptor connectivity whereas bipolar cells with the same dendritic tree morphology usually had the same photoreceptor connectivity, although their axons might stratify on different levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / ultrastructure*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology*