1. Neuroscience
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Preserving inhibition with a disinhibitory microcircuit in the retina

  1. Qiang Chen
  2. Robert G Smith  Is a corresponding author
  3. Xiaolin Huang
  4. Wei Wei  Is a corresponding author
  1. The University of Chicago, United States
  2. University of Pennsylvania, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e62618 doi: 10.7554/eLife.62618

Abstract

Previously, we found that in the mammalian retina, inhibitory inputs onto starburst amacrine cells (SACs) are required for robust direction selectivity of On-Off direction-selective ganglion cells (On-Off DSGCs) against noisy backgrounds (Chen et al., 2016). However, the source of the inhibitory inputs to SACs and how this inhibition confers noise resilience of DSGCs are unknown. Here, we show that when visual noise is present in the background, the motion-evoked inhibition to an On-Off DSGC is preserved by a disinhibitory motif consisting of a serially connected network of neighboring SACs presynaptic to the DSGC. This preservation of inhibition by a disinhibitory motif arises from the interaction between visually evoked network dynamics and short-term synaptic plasticity at the SAC-DSGC synapse. While the disinhibitory microcircuit is well studied for its disinhibitory function in brain circuits, our results highlight the algorithmic flexibility of this motif beyond disinhibition due to the mutual influence between network and synaptic plasticity mechanisms.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Qiang Chen

    Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Robert G Smith

    Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    For correspondence
    rob@bip.anatomy.upenn.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5703-1324
  3. Xiaolin Huang

    Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7367-8347
  4. Wei Wei

    Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    For correspondence
    weiw@uchicago.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7771-5974

Funding

NIH (NIH R01 EY024016)

  • Wei Wei

McKnight Foundation (McKnight Scholarship Award)

  • Wei Wei

NIH (EY022070)

  • Robert G Smith

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All procedures to maintain and use mice were in accordance with the University of Chicago Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol number ACUP 72247) and in conformance with the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the Public Health Service Policy.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Andrew J King, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: September 2, 2020
  2. Accepted: December 2, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 3, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: December 10, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Chen 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.

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