Gap junctional coupling between retinal amacrine and ganglion cells underlies coherent activity integral to global object perception [Neuroscience]
Coherent spike activity occurs between widely separated retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in response to a large, contiguous object, but not to disjointed objects. Since the large spatial separation between the RGCs precludes common excitatory inputs from bipolar cells, the mechanism underlying this long-range coherence remains unclear. Here, we show that electrical coupling between RGCs and polyaxonal amacrine cells in mouse retina forms the synaptic mechanism responsible for long-range coherent activity in the retina. Pharmacological blockade of gap junctions or genetic ablation of connexin 36 (Cx36) subunits eliminates the long-range correlated spiking between RGCs. Moreover, we find that blockade of gap junctions or ablation of Cx36 significantly reduces the ability of mice to discriminate large, global objects from small, disjointed stimuli. Our results indicate that synchronous activity of RGCs, derived from electrical coupling with amacrine cells, encodes information critical to global object perception.
Publisher URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Pnas-RssFeedOfEarlyEditionArticles/~3/IIENFKSPM1w/1708261114.short
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