Synaptic and Circuit Mechanisms of Orientation Selectivity in Mouse Retina

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The mammalian retina harbors more than 30 output channels, each playing a distinct role in processing visual images. A comprehensive understanding of the retinal code primarily relies on the functional knowledge of individual output neurons or retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Despite recent technical advances in imaging and genetics, the function of some neuron types still remains elusive. We have discovered two new types of RGCs in the mouse retina which perform a fundamental visual computation: orientation selectivity (OS). Reconstructions of dendritic trees of these OS ganglion cells have helped us understand the relation between ganglion cell morphology and OS computation. Furthermore, detailed measurements of synaptic conductances coupled with pharmacological manipulations in these RGCs have shed light into novel circuits in the inner retina. In the process, we have discovered an OS amacrine cell which contributes to feature selectivity in one of the OS RGCs. Overall, this work has discovered new and unconventional mechanisms and offers insights into the mechanism of the OS computation at the earliest stage of the visual system.

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  • 11/20/2019
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