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.
© 2018, Monavarfeshani et al.