In the vertebrate retina, cone photoreceptors play crucial roles in photopic vision by transmitting light-evoked signals to ON- and/or OFF-bipolar cells. However, the mechanisms underlying selective synapse formation in the cone photoreceptor pathway remain poorly understood. Here, we found that Lrit1, a leucine-rich transmembrane protein, localizes to the photoreceptor synaptic terminal and regulates the synaptic connection between cone photoreceptors and cone ON-bipolar cells. Lrit1-deficient retinas exhibit an aberrant morphology of cone photoreceptor pedicles, as well as an impairment of signal transmission from cone photoreceptors to cone ON-bipolar cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Lrit1 interacts with Frmpd2, a photoreceptor scaffold protein, and with mGluR6, an ON-bipolar cell-specific glutamate receptor. Additionally, Lrit1-null mice showed visual acuity impairments in their optokinetic responses. These results suggest that the Frmpd2-Lrit1-mGluR6 axis regulates selective synapse formation in cone photoreceptors and is essential for normal visual function.
Keywords: ON-bipolar cell; circuit; cone photoreceptor cell; retina; synapse formation; visual acuity.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.