An Amacrine Cell Circuit for Signaling Steady Illumination in the Retina

Cell Rep. 2015 Dec 29;13(12):2663-70. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.11.062. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Decades of research have focused on the circuit connectivity between retinal neurons, but only a handful of amacrine cells have been described functionally and placed in the context of a specific retinal circuit. Here, we identify a circuit where inhibition from a specific amacrine cell plays a vital role in shaping the feature selectivity of a postsynaptic ganglion cell. We record from transgenically labeled CRH-1 amacrine cells and identify a postsynaptic target for CRH-1 amacrine cell inhibition in an atypical retinal ganglion cell (RGC) in mouse retina, the Suppressed-by-Contrast (SbC) RGC. Unlike other RGC types, SbC RGCs spike tonically in steady illumination and are suppressed by both increases and decreases in illumination. Inhibition from GABAergic CRH-1 amacrine cells shapes this unique contrast response profile to positive contrast. We show the existence and impact of this circuit, with both paired recordings and cell-type-specific ablation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / cytology
  • Amacrine Cells / metabolism
  • Amacrine Cells / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synaptic Transmission