Multiple layers of inhibition in the direction coding circuit in mouse retina




Hoggarth, K. Alex

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Local and global forms of inhibition control directionally selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) in the mammalian retina. Specifically, local inhibition arising from GABAergic starburst amacrine cells (SACs) strongly contributes to direction selectivity. In this thesis, I demonstrate that increasing ambient illumination leads to the recruitment of GABAergic wide-field amacrine cells (WACs) endowing the DS circuit with an additional feature: size selectivity. Using a combination of electrophysiology, pharmacology and light/electron microscopy, I demonstrate that WACs predominantly contact presynaptic bipolar cells, which drive direct excitation and feed-forward inhibition (through SACs) to DSGCs, therefore maintaining the appropriate balance of inhibition/excitation required for generating DS. This circuit arrangement permits high-fidelity direction coding over a range of ambient light levels, over which size selectivity is adjusted. Together, these results provide novel insights into the anatomical and functional arrangement of multiple inhibitory interneurons within a single computational module in the retina.



retina, amacrine cell, vision, mouse, surround inhibition, spatiotemporal tuning