In the mammalian retina, direction-selectivity is thought to originate in the dendrites of GABAergic/cholinergic starburst amacrine cells, where it is first observed. However, here we demonstrate that direction selectivity in downstream ganglion cells remains remarkably unaffected when starburst dendrites are rendered non-directional, using a novel strategy combining a conditional GABAA α2 receptor knockout mouse with optogenetics. We show that temporal asymmetries between excitation/inhibition, arising from the differential connectivity patterns of starburst cholinergic and GABAergic synapses to ganglion cells, form the basis for a parallel mechanism generating direction selectivity. We further demonstrate that these distinct mechanisms work in a coordinated way to refine direction selectivity as the stimulus crosses the ganglion cell's receptive field. Thus, precise spatiotemporal patterns of inhibition and excitation that determine directional responses in ganglion cells are shaped by two 'core' mechanisms, both arising from distinct specializations of the starburst network.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files
- Gautam Bhagwan Awatramani
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures were performed in accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care and approved by the Animal Care Committee (protocol 2016-015) of the University of Victoria
- Fred Rieke, University of Washington, United States
© 2019, Hanson et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Postsynaptic mitochondria are critical for the development, plasticity, and maintenance of synaptic inputs. However, their relationship to synaptic structure and functional activity is unknown. We examined a correlative dataset from ferret visual cortex with in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of dendritic spines during visual stimulation and electron microscopy reconstructions of spine ultrastructure, investigating mitochondrial abundance near functionally and structurally characterized spines. Surprisingly, we found no correlation to structural measures of synaptic strength. Instead, we found that mitochondria are positioned near spines with orientation preferences that are dissimilar to the somatic preference. Additionally, we found that mitochondria are positioned near groups of spines with heterogeneous orientation preferences. For a subset of spines with a mitochondrion in the head or neck, synapses were larger and exhibited greater selectivity to visual stimuli than those without a mitochondrion. Our data suggest mitochondria are not necessarily positioned to support the energy needs of strong spines, but rather support the structurally and functionally diverse inputs innervating the basal dendrites of cortical neurons.
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