M1 ipRGCs influence visual function through retrograde signaling in the retina

Cameron L. Prigge, Po Ting Yeh, Nan Fu Liou, Chi Chan Lee, Shih Feng You, Lei Lei Liu, David S. McNeill, Kylie S. Chew, Samer Hattar, Shih Kuo Chen, Dao Qi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Melanopsin-expressing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs, with five subtypes named M1-M5) are a unique subclass of RGCs with axons that project directly to many brain nuclei involved in non-image-forming functions such as circadian photoentrainment and the pupillary light reflex. Recent evidence suggests that melanopsin-based signals also influence image-forming visual function, including light adaptation, but the mechanisms involved are unclear. Intriguingly, a small population ofM1ipRGCs have intraretinal axon collaterals that project toward the outer retina. Using genetic mouse models, we provide three lines of evidence showing that these axon collaterals make connections with upstream dopaminergic amacrine cells (DACs): (1) ipRGC signaling to DACs is blocked by tetrodotoxin both in vitro and in vivo, indicating that ipRGC-to-DAC transmission requires voltage-gated Na+ channels; (2) this transmission is partly dependent on N-type Ca2+ channels, which are possibly expressed in the axon collateral terminals of ipRGCs; and (3) fluorescence microscopy reveals that ipRGC axon collaterals make putative presynaptic contact with DACs. We further demonstrate that elimination of M1 ipRGCs attenuates light adaptation, as evidenced by an impaired electroretinogram b-wave from cones, whereas a dopamine receptor agonist can potentiate the cone-driven b-wave of retinas lacking M1 ipRGCs. Together, the results strongly suggest that ipRGCs transmit luminance signals retrogradely to the outer retina through the dopaminergic system and in turn influence retinal light adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7184-7197
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 6 2016


  • Amacrine cell
  • Dopamine
  • Ganglion cell
  • Melanopsin
  • Retina
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'M1 ipRGCs influence visual function through retrograde signaling in the retina'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this