Amino acid signatures in the primate retina

J Neurosci. 1996 Nov 1;16(21):6807-29. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-21-06807.1996.


Pattern recognition of amino acid signals partitions virtually all of the macaque retina into 16 separable biochemical theme classes, some further divisible by additional criteria. The photoreceptor-->bipolar cell-->ganglion cell pathway is composed of six separable theme classes, each possessing a characteristic glutamate signature. Neuronal aspartate and glutamine levels are always positively correlated with glutamate signals, implying that they largely represent glutamate precursor pools. Amacrine cells may be parsed into four glycine-dominated (including one glycine/GABA immunoreactive population) and four GABA-dominated populations. Horizontal cells in central retina possess a distinctive GABA signature, although their GABA content is constitutively lower than that of amacrine cells and shows both regional and sample variability. Finally, a taurine-glutamine signature defines Müller's cells. We thus have established the fundamental biochemical signatures of the primate retina along with multiple metabolic subtypes for each neurochemical class and demonstrated that virtually all neuronal space can be accounted for by cells bearing characteristic glutamate, GABA, or glycine signatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / analysis
  • Glutamic Acid / analysis
  • Glutamine / analysis
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Photoreceptor Cells / chemistry
  • Protein Precursors / analysis
  • Retina / chemistry*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / chemistry
  • Taurine / analysis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis


  • Amino Acids
  • Protein Precursors
  • Glutamine
  • Taurine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glycine