The overall objective of this new research project is to understand detailed synaptic mechanisms underlying rod and cone signaling pathways in the mammalian retina. Anatomical studies have suggested that rod and cone channels in the mammalian retina follow a specific set of circuitry rules: rods make synapses only on rod depolarizing bipolar cells (DBCRS), and DBCRS do not make output synapses directly on ganglion cells (GCs), but indirectly through AII amacrine cells (AIIACs). AIIACs send rod-mediated signals to ON and OFF GCs by """"""""piggybacking"""""""" on the cone depolarizing and hyperpolarizing bipolar cells (DBCCS and HBCCS), which synapse on ON and OFF GCs, respectively. In this research proposal, we plan to systematically investigate these mammalian-specific synaptic circuits by using the mouse retina as a model system. In addition to using whole-cell voltage clamp (with dye-filling), anatomical and pharmacological techniques, we will take advantage of four strains of pathway-specific mutant mice to elucidate how mammalian rod and cone signals are transmitted to BCs, ACs and GCs, and to determine whether the mammalian-specific circuitry rules are totally valid, as recent evidence and our preliminary results suggest that the strict rod/cone input rules may not hold for all mammalian retinal neurons. We will test the overall hypothesis that """"""""subpopulations of mouse DBCRS receive direct synaptic inputs from cones and subpopulations of mouse DBCCS and HBCCS receive direct synaptic inputs from rods, the rod- and cone-mediated signals are further mixed by AIIACs before sending to GCs, and the AC-mediated inhibitory synaptic inputs to BCs and GCs carry mixed rod/cone signals"""""""". This application has 3 specific aims focused on studying rod and cone contributions to light-evoked cation and chloride currents (?Ic and ?Ic1, representing glutamatergic and GABAergic/glycinergic synaptic inputs, respectively) in: (1) seven types of bipolar cells (HBCMC/RS, HBCMCS, HBCSCS, DBCC2/MCS, DBCC1/MC/RS, DBCR2S, DBCR1S);(2) AII amacrine cells;and (3) three types of alpha ganglion cells (ON, sOFF and tOFF 1GCs) in the dark-adapted mouse retina. Results obtained will increase our understanding of how parallel channels, such as the rod/cone signaling pathways, process, segregate and integrate information in the eye and in the brain. Since many visual disorders are associated with abnormalities in the rod and cone signaling pathways, this research project will help to identify cellular and synaptic sites responsible for the pathogenesis of these eye diseases.

Public Health Relevance

The eye is the """"""""window"""""""" of the brain and human eyes can register an enormous range of light intensities (from objects under starlit sky to snow under bright sun light) by dividing the labor into two parts: rod photoreceptors encode dim images and cone photoreceptors encode bright and color images. Understanding how rod and cone signals are processed by retinal synaptic pathways is a fundamental and essential step for unraveling mechanisms of visual perception and brain operation. Certain forms of macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, congenital stationary night blindness and glaucoma are associated with dysfunction of the rod and cone signaling pathways, and thus results obtained from this project will provide crucial information on how specific defects in the rod and cone synaptic pathways mediate these eye disorders.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01EY019908-02
Application #
8008785
Study Section
Biology and Diseases of the Posterior Eye Study Section (BDPE)
Program Officer
Greenwell, Thomas
Project Start
2010-01-01
Project End
2012-12-31
Budget Start
2011-01-01
Budget End
2011-12-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$368,400
Indirect Cost
Name
Baylor College of Medicine
Department
Ophthalmology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
051113330
City
Houston
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77030
Cowan, Cameron S; Abd-El-Barr, Muhammad; van der Heijden, Meike et al. (2016) Connexin 36 and rod bipolar cell independent rod pathways drive retinal ganglion cells and optokinetic reflexes. Vision Res 119:99-109
He, Feng; Agosto, Melina A; Anastassov, Ivan A et al. (2016) Phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate is light-regulated and essential for survival in retinal rods. Sci Rep 6:26978
Cowan, Cameron S; Sabharwal, Jasdeep; Wu, Samuel M (2016) Space-time codependence of retinal ganglion cells can be explained by novel and separable components of their receptive fields. Physiol Rep 4:
Wang, Jing; Jacoby, Roy; Wu, Samuel M (2016) Physiological and morphological characterization of ganglion cells in the salamander retina. Vision Res 119:60-72
van der Heijden, Meike E; Shah, Priya; Cowan, Cameron S et al. (2016) Effects of Chronic and Acute Intraocular Pressure Elevation on Scotopic and Photopic Contrast Sensitivity in Mice. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 57:3077-87
Khan, A Kareem; Tse, Dennis Y; van der Heijden, Meike E et al. (2015) Prolonged elevation of intraocular pressure results in retinal ganglion cell loss and abnormal retinal function in mice. Exp Eye Res 130:29-37
Eblimit, Aiden; Nguyen, Thanh-Minh T; Chen, Yiyun et al. (2015) Spata7 is a retinal ciliopathy gene critical for correct RPGRIP1 localization and protein trafficking in the retina. Hum Mol Genet 24:1584-601
Pang, Ji-Jie; Frankfort, Benjamin J; Gross, Ronald L et al. (2015) Elevated intraocular pressure decreases response sensitivity of inner retinal neurons in experimental glaucoma mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:2593-8
Xiong, Wei-Hong; Pang, Ji-Jie; Pennesi, Mark E et al. (2015) The Effect of PKCα on the Light Response of Rod Bipolar Cells in the Mouse Retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 56:4961-74
Tse, Dennis Y; Lotfi, Parisa; Simons, David L et al. (2015) Electrophysiological and Histological Characterization of Rod-Cone Retinal Degeneration and Microglia Activation in a Mouse Model of Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIB. Sci Rep 5:17143

Showing the most recent 10 out of 26 publications