Sensory neurons downstream of primary receptors are selective for specific stimulus features, and they derive their selectivity both from excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs from other neurons and from their own intrinsic properties. Electrical synapses, formed by gap junctions, modulate sensory circuits. Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are diverse feature detectors carrying visual information to the brain, and receive excitatory input from bipolar cells and inhibitory input from amacrine cells (ACs). Here we describe a RGC that relies on gap junctions, rather than chemical synapses, to convey its selectivity for the orientation of a visual stimulus. This represents both a new functional role of electrical synapses as the primary drivers of feature selectivity and a new circuit mechanism for orientation selectivity in the retina.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology