The visual responses of vertebrates are sensitive to the overall composition of retinal interneurons including amacrine cells, which tune the activity of the retinal circuitry. The expression of Paired-homeobox 6 (PAX6) is regulated by multiple cis-DNA elements including the intronic α-enhancer, which is active in GABAergic amacrine cell subsets. Here, we report that the transforming growth factor ß1-induced transcript 1 protein (Tgfb1i1) interacts with the LIM domain transcription factors Lhx3 and Isl1 to inhibit the α-enhancer in the post-natal mouse retina. Tgfb1i1-/- mice show elevated α-enhancer activity leading to overproduction of Pax6ΔPD isoform that supports the GABAergic amacrine cell fate maintenance. Consequently, the Tgfb1i1-/- mouse retinas show a sustained light response, which becomes more transient in mice with the auto-stimulation-defective Pax6ΔPBS/ΔPBS mutation. Together, we show the antagonistic regulation of the α-enhancer activity by Pax6 and the LIM protein complex is necessary for the establishment of an inner retinal circuitry, which controls visual adaptation.
Keywords: LIM domain protein; Pax6; cell fate determination; chromosomes; genes; mouse; neuroscience; retina; visual adaptation.