LRRTM1 underlies synaptic convergence in visual thalamus

Elife. 2018 Feb 9:7:e33498. doi: 10.7554/eLife.33498.


It has long been thought that the mammalian visual system is organized into parallel pathways, with incoming visual signals being parsed in the retina based on feature (e.g. color, contrast and motion) and then transmitted to the brain in unmixed, feature-specific channels. To faithfully convey feature-specific information from retina to cortex, thalamic relay cells must receive inputs from only a small number of functionally similar retinal ganglion cells. However, recent studies challenged this by revealing substantial levels of retinal convergence onto relay cells. Here, we sought to identify mechanisms responsible for the assembly of such convergence. Using an unbiased transcriptomics approach and targeted mutant mice, we discovered a critical role for the synaptic adhesion molecule Leucine Rich Repeat Transmembrane Neuronal 1 (LRRTM1) in the emergence of retinothalamic convergence. Importantly, LRRTM1 mutant mice display impairment in visual behaviors, suggesting a functional role of retinothalamic convergence in vision.

Keywords: mouse; neuroscience; retinal ganglion cell; retinogeniculate; synaptogenesis; thalamus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology*
  • Thalamus / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • LRRTM1 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules