Diverse Central Projection Patterns of Retinal Ganglion Cells

Cell Rep. 2017 Feb 21;18(8):2058-2072. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.075.


Understanding how >30 types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the mouse retina each contribute to visual processing in the brain will require more tools that label and manipulate specific RGCs. We screened and analyzed retinal expression of Cre recombinase using 88 transgenic driver lines. In many lines, Cre was expressed in multiple RGC types and retinal cell classes, but several exhibited more selective expression. We comprehensively mapped central projections from RGCs labeled in 26 Cre lines using viral tracers, high-throughput imaging, and a data processing pipeline. We identified over 50 retinorecipient regions and present a quantitative retina-to-brain connectivity map, enabling comparisons of target-specificity across lines. Projections to two major central targets were notably correlated: RGCs projecting to the outer shell or core regions of the lateral geniculate projected to superficial or deep layers within the superior colliculus, respectively. Retinal images and projection data are available online at http://connectivity.brain-map.org.

Keywords: Cre driver; axon projections; connectivity mapping; retinal ganglion cell types.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Integrases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi / metabolism
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases