Specific wiring of distinct amacrine cells in the directionally selective retinal circuit permits independent coding of direction and size

Alex Hoggarth, Amanda J. McLaughlin, Kara Ronellenfitch, Stuart Trenholm, Rishi Vasandani, Santhosh Sethuramanujam, David Schwab, Kevin L. Briggman, Gautam B. Awatramani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Local and global forms of inhibition controlling directionally selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) in the mammalian retina are well documented. It is established that local inhibition arising from GABAergic starburst amacrine cells (SACs) strongly contributesto direction selectivity. Here, we demonstrate thatincreasing ambient illumination leads to the recruitment of GABAergic wide-field amacrine cells (WACs) endowing the DS circuit with an additional feature: size selectivity. Using a combination of electrophysiology, pharmacology, and light/electron microscopy, we show that WACs predominantly contact presynaptic bipolar cells, which drive direct excitation and feedforward inhibition (through SACs) to DSGCs, thus maintaining the appropriate balance of inhibition/excitation required for generating DS. This circuit arrangement permits high-fidelitydirection coding over a range of ambient lightlevels, over which size selectivity is adjusted. Together, these results provide novel insights into the anatomical and functional arrangement of multiple inhibitory interneurons within a single computational module in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-291
Number of pages16
JournalNeuron
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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