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Ling-Jie Cui, Wen-Hao Chen, Ai-Lin Liu, Xu Han, Shi-Xiang Jiang, Fei Yuan, Yong-Mei Zhong, Xiong-Li Yang, Shi-Jun Weng; nGnG Amacrine Cells and Brn3b-negative M1 ipRGCs are Specifically Labeled in the ChAT-ChR2-EYFP Mouse. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(2):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.2.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Experimental access to specific cell subtypes is essential for deciphering the complexity of retinal networks. Here, we characterized the selective labeling, caused by ectopic transgene expression, of two atypical retinal neurons in the ChAT-Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2)-EYFP mouse.
Retinal sections and flat-mounts were prepared for double-staining immunohistochemistry with antibodies against EYFP and various neuronal markers. Sagittal/coronal brain slices were made to visualize EYFP signals in central nuclei. Whole-cell recordings were conducted to test the functionality of ChR2.
Two populations of EYFP-positive retinal cells were observed. The inner nuclear layer (INL)-located one (type I cell) distributed regularly throughout the entire retina, whereas the ganglion cell layer (GCL)-residing one (type II cell) was restricted ventrally. None of them was cholinergic, as evidenced by the complete absence of ChAT immunoreactivity. Type I cells were immunolabeled by the amacrine marker syntaxin. However, the vast majority of them were neither positive to GABA/GAD65, nor to GlyT1/glycine, suggesting that they were non-GABAergic non-glycinergic amacrine cells (nGnG ACs), which was confirmed by double-labeling with the nGnG AC marker PPP1R17. Type II cells were immunopositive to melanopsin, but not to Brn3a or Brn3b. They possessed dendrites stratifying in the outermost inner plexiform layer (IPL) and axons projecting to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) rather than the olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN), suggesting that they belonged to a Brn3b-negative subset of M1-type intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). Glutamatergic transmission-independent photocurrents were elicited in EYFP-positive cells, indicating the functional expression of ChR2.
The ChAT-ChR2-EYFP retina exhibits ectopic, but functional, transgene expression in nGnG ACs and SCN-innervating M1 ipRGCs, thus providing an ideal tool to achieve efficient labeling and optogenetic manipulation of these cells.
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