The first stage of cardinal direction selectivity is localized to the dendrites of retinal ganglion cells

Neuron. 2013 Sep 18;79(6):1078-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Aug 22.


Inferring the direction of image motion is a fundamental component of visual computation and essential for visually guided behavior. In the retina, the direction of image motion is computed in four cardinal directions, but it is not known at which circuit location along the flow of visual information the cardinal direction selectivity first appears. We recorded the concerted activity of the neuronal circuit elements of single direction-selective (DS) retinal ganglion cells at subcellular resolution by combining GCaMP3-functionalized transsynaptic viral tracing and two-photon imaging. While the visually evoked activity of the dendritic segments of the DS cells were direction selective, direction-selective activity was absent in the axon terminals of bipolar cells. Furthermore, the glutamate input to DS cells, recorded using a genetically encoded glutamate sensor, also lacked direction selectivity. Therefore, the first stage in which extraction of a cardinal motion direction occurs is the dendrites of DS cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Follistatin-Related Proteins / genetics
  • Follistatin-Related Proteins / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Optogenetics
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rabies virus / physiology
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / classification
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • Follistatin-Related Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase