Melanopsin Retinal Ganglion Cells Regulate Cone Photoreceptor Lamination in the Mouse Retina

Adele R. Tufford, Jessica R. Onyak, Katelyn B. Sondereker, Jasmine A. Lucas, Aaron M. Earley, Pierre Mattar, Samer Hattar, Tiffany M. Schmidt, Jordan M. Renna, Michel Cayouette*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Newborn neurons follow molecular cues to reach their final destination, but whether early life experience influences lamination remains largely unexplored. As light is among the first stimuli to reach the developing nervous system via intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), we asked whether ipRGCs could affect lamination in the developing mouse retina. We show here that ablation of ipRGCs causes cone photoreceptors to mislocalize at different apicobasal positions in the retina. This effect is partly mediated by light-evoked activity in ipRGCs, as dark rearing or silencing of ipRGCs leads a subset of cones to mislocalize. Furthermore, ablation of ipRGCs alters the cone transcriptome and decreases expression of the dopamine receptor D4, while injection of L-DOPA or D4 receptor agonist rescues the displaced cone phenotype observed in dark-reared animals. These results show that early light-mediated activity in ipRGCs influences neuronal lamination and identify ipRGC-elicited dopamine release as a mechanism influencing cone position. Tufford et al. show that light acting through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) controls cone photoreceptor positioning in the developing mouse retina, using dopamine signaling as a cue. Ablation of ipRGCs disrupts cone positioning and induces changes in the cone transcriptome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2416-2428
Number of pages13
JournalCell reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 22 2018


  • cell migration
  • cone photoreceptors
  • development
  • dopamine
  • intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells
  • lamination
  • melanopsin
  • mouse
  • neuronal layers
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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