Glycinergic Inhibition Targets Specific Off Cone Bipolar Cells in Primate Retina

eNeuro. 2021 Feb 24;8(1):ENEURO.0432-20.2020. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0432-20.2020. Print 2021 Jan-Feb.


Adapting between scotopic and photopic illumination involves switching the routing of retinal signals between rod and cone-dominated circuits. In the daytime, cone signals pass through parallel On and Off cone bipolar cells (CBCs), that are sensitive to increments and decrements in luminance, respectively. At night, rod signals are routed into these cone-pathways via a key glycinergic interneuron, the AII amacrine cell (AII-AC). AII-ACs also provide On-pathway-driven crossover inhibition to Off-CBCs under photopic conditions. In primates, it is not known whether all Off-bipolar cell types receive functional inputs from AII-ACs. Here, we show that select Off-CBC types receive significantly higher levels of On-pathway-driven glycinergic input than others. The rise and decay kinetics of the glycinergic events are consistent with involvement of the α1 glycine receptor (GlyR) subunit, a result supported by a higher level of GLRA1 transcript in these cells. The Off-bipolar types that receive glycinergic input have sustained physiological properties and include the flat midget bipolar (FMB) cells, which provide excitatory input to the Off-midget ganglion cells (GCs; parvocellular pathway). Our results suggest that only a subset of Off-bipolar cells have the requisite receptors to respond to AII-AC input. Taken together with results in mouse retina, our findings suggest a conserved motif whereby signal output from AII-ACs is preferentially routed into sustained Off-bipolar signaling pathways.

Keywords: bipolar cell; glycine receptors; ion channels; macaque; retina; rod pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells
  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Primates
  • Receptors, Glycine / genetics
  • Retina*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells*


  • Receptors, Glycine