Analogous Convergence of Sustained and Transient Inputs in Parallel On and Off Pathways for Retinal Motion Computation

Cell Rep. 2016 Mar 1;14(8):1892-900. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.02.001. Epub 2016 Feb 18.


Visual motion information is computed by parallel On and Off pathways in the retina, which lead to On and Off types of starburst amacrine cells (SACs). The approximate mirror symmetry between this pair of cell types suggests that On and Off pathways might compute motion using analogous mechanisms. To test this idea, we reconstructed On SACs and On bipolar cells (BCs) from serial electron microscopic images of a mouse retina. We defined a new On BC type in the course of classifying On BCs. Through quantitative contact analysis, we found evidence that sustained and transient On BC types are wired to On SAC dendrites at different distances from the SAC soma, mirroring our previous wiring diagram for the Off BC-SAC circuit. Our finding is consistent with the hypothesis that On and Off pathways contain parallel correlation-type motion detectors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / physiology*
  • Amacrine Cells / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure