Local retinal circuits of melanopsin-containing ganglion cells identified by transsynaptic viral tracing.
Viney TJ., Balint K., Hillier D., Siegert S., Boldogkoi Z., Enquist LW., Meister M., Cepko CL., Roska B.
Intrinsically photosensitive melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) control important physiological processes, including the circadian rhythm, the pupillary reflex, and the suppression of locomotor behavior (reviewed in ). ipRGCs are also activated by classical photoreceptors, the rods and cones, through local retinal circuits [2, 3]. ipRGCs can be transsynaptically labeled through the pupillary-reflex circuit with the derivatives of the Bartha strain of the alphaherpesvirus pseudorabies virus(PRV) [4, 5] that express GFP [6-12]. Bartha-strain derivatives spread only in the retrograde direction . There is evidence that infected cells function normally for a while during GFP expression . Here we combine transsynaptic PRV labeling, two-photon laser microscopy, and electrophysiological techniques to trace the local circuit of different ipRGC subtypes in the mouse retina and record light-evoked activity from the transsynaptically labeled ganglion cells. First, we show that ipRGCs are connected by monostratified amacrine cells that provide strong inhibition from classical-photoreceptor-driven circuits. Second, we show evidence that dopaminergic interplexiform cells are synaptically connected to ipRGCs. The latter finding provides a circuitry link between light-dark adaptation and ipRGC function.