This study will make a full description of the blue/green (S/M) color opponent ganglion cells in the rabbit retina. This description is intended to be full both in complete sampling of all such ganglion cells and also in depth of characterization of each type of S/M ganglion cell. Decades of early work in many species have led to description of usually only a single type, an S-ON and, much less often, an S-OFF type in addition or instead. Negative evidence coupled with recent discovery of an S-OFF ganglion cells produced by inversion of the S-ON bipolar cell signal has led to widespread rejection of the possibility of S-OFF pathways initiated by an S- OFF bipolar cell. Recent work has considerably advanced our understanding of the mechanisms of color opponency in the midget and small bistratified ganglion cells of primates. However, these 2 color opponent ganglion cells are often considered unique primate inventions, as they have no obvious parallels in other mammals. Further, the total number of chromatic ganglion cells and whether they suffice to produce cortical color mechanisms remains controversial. We will sample at least 3 S/M ganglion cell types that we have discovered in the rabbit retina, determine the nature of their inputs from other retinal neurons and how these interact to obtain very specific attributes of these color opponent cells, including their spatial and chromatic receptive field properties, the influence of surround stimuli and their anatomical underpinnings. These findings will be highly relevant to the understanding of color pathways as they underpin later central processing. S cone pathways in particular have been recently implicated in surprising areas not selective for color, including areas involved in form and motion vision, and which may be responsible for blindsight. S cone pathways are also important in research into migraine and glaucoma.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this project is to begin understand the number and types of blue-green ganglion cells in mammals. Color vision is a critical part of our visual processing pathways in almost all vertebrates as they search for food and mates and avoid predators. How these pathways are constructed is still poorly understood. These blue-green pathways may be pivotal in such important functions as detection of form, especially shadows and defeating camouflage and in blindsight. Blue-green sensitive ganglion cells serve important roles in migraine and in early detection of glaucoma.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Greenwell, Thomas
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University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Marshak, David W; Chuang, Alice Z; Dolino, Drew M et al. (2015) Synaptic connections of amacrine cells containing vesicular glutamate transporter 3 in baboon retinas. Vis Neurosci 32:E006
Marshak, David W; Mills, Stephen L (2014) Short-wavelength cone-opponent retinal ganglion cells in mammals. Vis Neurosci 31:165-75
Mills, Stephen L; Tian, Lian-Ming; Hoshi, Hideo et al. (2014) Three distinct blue-green color pathways in a mammalian retina. J Neurosci 34:1760-8
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Hoshi, Hideo; Liu, Wei-Li; Massey, Stephen C et al. (2009) ON inputs to the OFF layer: bipolar cells that break the stratification rules of the retina. J Neurosci 29:8875-83

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