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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41467-021-21680-9

Rapid multi-directed cholinergic transmission in the central nervous system

02 Mar 2021-Nature Communications (Springer Science and Business Media LLC)-Vol. 12, Iss: 1, pp 1374-1374
Abstract: In many parts of the central nervous system, including the retina, it is unclear whether cholinergic transmission is mediated by rapid, point-to-point synaptic mechanisms, or slower, broad-scale ‘non-synaptic’ mechanisms. Here, we characterized the ultrastructural features of cholinergic connections between direction-selective starburst amacrine cells and downstream ganglion cells in an existing serial electron microscopy data set, as well as their functional properties using electrophysiology and two-photon acetylcholine (ACh) imaging. Correlative results demonstrate that a ‘tripartite’ structure facilitates a ‘multi-directed’ form of transmission, in which ACh released from a single vesicle rapidly (~1 ms) co-activates receptors expressed in multiple neurons located within ~1 µm of the release site. Cholinergic signals are direction-selective at a local, but not global scale, and facilitate the transfer of information from starburst to ganglion cell dendrites. These results suggest a distinct operational framework for cholinergic signaling that bears the hallmarks of synaptic and non-synaptic forms of transmission. Cholinergic neurons may transmit information via fast synaptic, point-to-point signaling or diffuse, slow extra-synaptic signaling. The authors show that ACh from a single vesicle triggers synchronous miniature currents in two neurons, showing that ACh can spread significant distances to drive rapid ‘synaptic’ signals.

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Topics: Cholinergic (59%), Cholinergic neuron (55%), Acetylcholine (52%)
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5 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEURON.2021.07.008
15 Sep 2021-Neuron
Abstract: The ability to encode the direction of image motion is fundamental to our sense of vision. Direction selectivity along the four cardinal directions is thought to originate in direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) because of directionally tuned GABAergic suppression by starburst cells. Here, by utilizing two-photon glutamate imaging to measure synaptic release, we reveal that direction selectivity along all four directions arises earlier than expected at bipolar cell outputs. Individual bipolar cells contained four distinct populations of axon terminal boutons with different preferred directions. We further show that this bouton-specific tuning relies on cholinergic excitation from starburst cells and GABAergic inhibition from wide-field amacrine cells. DSGCs received both tuned directionally aligned inputs and untuned inputs from among heterogeneously tuned glutamatergic bouton populations. Thus, directional tuning in the excitatory visual pathway is incrementally refined at the bipolar cell axon terminals and their recipient DSGC dendrites by two different neurotransmitters co-released from starburst cells.

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Topics: Axon terminal (53%), Retina (51%), Axon (51%)

1 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1002/CNE.25156
Abstract: In primates, broad thorny retinal ganglion cells are highly sensitive to small, moving stimuli. They have tortuous, fine dendrites with many short, spine-like branches that occupy three contiguous strata in the middle of the inner plexiform layer. The neural circuits that generate their responses to moving stimuli are not well-understood, and that was the goal of this study. A connectome from central macaque retina was generated by serial block-face scanning electron microscopy, a broad thorny cell was reconstructed, and its synaptic inputs were analyzed. It received fewer than 2% of its inputs from both ON and OFF types of bipolar cells; the vast majority of its inputs were from amacrine cells. The presynaptic amacrine cells were reconstructed, and seven types were identified based on their characteristic morphology. Two types of narrow-field cells, knotty bistratified type 1 and wavy multistratified type 2, were identified. Two types of medium-field amacrine cells, ON starburst and spiny, were also presynaptic to the broad thorny cell. Three types of wide-field amacrine cells, wiry type 2, stellate wavy and semilunar type 2, also made synapses onto the broad thorny cell. Physiological experiments using a macaque retinal preparation in vitro confirmed that broad thorny cells received robust excitatory input from both the ON and the OFF pathways. Given the paucity of bipolar cell inputs, it is likely that amacrine cells provided much of the excitatory input, in addition to inhibitory input. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Topics: Retinal ganglion (59%), Retina (57%), Inner plexiform layer (56%)

1 Citations


Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.05.03.442480
Jain1, Laura Hanson1, Santhosh Sethuramanujam1, Ronald G. Gregg2  +5 moreInstitutions (4)
04 May 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Retinal ON starburst amacrine cells (SACs) play a critical role in computing stimulus direction, partly in service of image stabilization by optokinetic nystagmus. ON SAC responses are sculpted by rich GABAergic innervation, mostly from neighbouring SACs. Surprisingly, however, we find that glycinergic narrow field amacrine cells (NACs) serve as their dominant source of inhibition during sustained activity. Although NAC inputs constitute only ~5% of inhibitory synapses to ON SACs, their distinct input patterns enable them to drive glycine inhibition during the both light increments and decrements. NAC to ON SAC inhibition appears to be mediated by ultra-slow non-canonical glycine receptors containing the α4 subunit, which effectively summate during repetitive stimulation. Glycinergic inhibition strongly decreases the output gain of the SACs, ensuring that their direction-selective output is maintained over their operating range. These results reveal an unexpected role for glycinergic pathways and receptor kinetics in modulating direction selectivity in the retina.

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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3389/FNCEL.2021.660773
Abstract: A presynaptic neuron can increase its computational capacity by transmitting functionally distinct signals to each of its postsynaptic cell types. To determine whether such computational specialization occurs over fine spatial scales within a neurite arbor, we investigated computation at output synapses of the starburst amacrine cell (SAC), a critical component of the classical direction-selective (DS) circuit in the retina. The SAC is a non-spiking interneuron that co-releases GABA and acetylcholine and forms closely spaced (<5 μm) inhibitory synapses onto two postsynaptic cell types: DS ganglion cells (DSGCs) and neighboring SACs. During dynamic optogenetic stimulation of SACs in mouse retina, whole-cell recordings of inhibitory postsynaptic currents revealed that GABAergic synapses onto DSGCs exhibit stronger low-pass filtering than those onto neighboring SACs. Computational analyses suggest that this filtering difference can be explained primarily by presynaptic properties, rather than those of the postsynaptic cells per se. Consistent with functionally diverse SAC presynapses, blockade of N-type voltage-gated calcium channels abolished GABAergic currents in SACs but only moderately reduced GABAergic and cholinergic currents in DSGCs. These results jointly demonstrate how specialization of synaptic outputs could enhance parallel processing in a compact interneuron over fine spatial scales. Moreover, the distinct transmission kinetics of GABAergic SAC synapses are poised to support the functional diversity of inhibition within DS circuitry.

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Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.07.21.453225
22 Jul 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: The detection of motion direction is a fundamental visual function and a classic model for neural computation1,2. In the non-primate mammalian retina, direction selectivity arises in starburst amacrine cell (SAC) dendrites, which provide selective inhibition to ON and ON-OFF direction selective retinal ganglion cells (dsRGCs)3,4. While SACs are present in primates5, their connectivity is unknown and the existence of primate dsRGCs remains an open question. Here we present a connectomic reconstruction of the primate ON SAC circuit from a serial electron microscopy volume of macaque central retina. We show that the structural basis for the SAC’s ability to compute and confer directional selectivity on post-synaptic RGCs6 is conserved in primates and that SACs selectively target a single ganglion cell type, a candidate homolog to the mammalian ON-sustained dsRGCs that project to the accessory optic system and contribute to gaze-stabilizing reflexes7,8. These results indicate that the capacity to compute motion direction is present in the retina, far earlier in the primate visual system than classically thought, and they shed light on the distinguishing features of primate motion processing by revealing the extent to which ancestral motion circuits are conserved.

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Topics: Retinal ganglion (59%), Amacrine cell (53%), Retina (53%)
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64 results found


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/NATURE09818
10 Mar 2011-Nature
Abstract: The proper connectivity between neurons is essential for the implementation of the algorithms used in neural computations, such as the detection of directed motion by the retina. The analysis of neuronal connectivity is possible with electron microscopy, but technological limitations have impeded the acquisition of high-resolution data on a large enough scale. Here we show, using serial block-face electron microscopy and two-photon calcium imaging, that the dendrites of mouse starburst amacrine cells make highly specific synapses with direction-selective ganglion cells depending on the ganglion cell's preferred direction. Our findings indicate that a structural (wiring) asymmetry contributes to the computation of direction selectivity. The nature of this asymmetry supports some models of direction selectivity and rules out others. It also puts constraints on the developmental mechanisms behind the formation of synaptic connections. Our study demonstrates how otherwise intractable neurobiological questions can be addressed by combining functional imaging with the analysis of neuronal connectivity using large-scale electron microscopy.

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717 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.NEURON.2012.08.036
04 Oct 2012-Neuron
Abstract: Acetylcholine in the brain alters neuronal excitability, influences synaptic transmission, induces synaptic plasticity, and coordinates firing of groups of neurons. As a result, it changes the state of neuronal networks throughout the brain and modifies their response to internal and external inputs: the classical role of a neuromodulator. Here, we identify actions of cholinergic signaling on cellular and synaptic properties of neurons in several brain areas and discuss consequences of this signaling on behaviors related to drug abuse, attention, food intake, and affect. The diverse effects of acetylcholine depend on site of release, receptor subtypes, and target neuronal population; however, a common theme is that acetylcholine potentiates behaviors that are adaptive to environmental stimuli and decreases responses to ongoing stimuli that do not require immediate action. The ability of acetylcholine to coordinate the response of neuronal networks in many brain areas makes cholinergic modulation an essential mechanism underlying complex behaviors.

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Topics: Cholinergic (62%), Acetylcholine (58%), Synaptic plasticity (54%) ... read more

690 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/NATURE10674
15 Dec 2011-Nature
Abstract: Learning causes a change in how information is processed by neuronal circuits. Whereas synaptic plasticity, an important cellular mechanism, has been studied in great detail, we know much less about how learning is implemented at the level of neuronal circuits and, in particular, how interactions between distinct types of neurons within local networks contribute to the process of learning. Here we show that acquisition of associative fear memories depends on the recruitment of a disinhibitory microcircuit in the mouse auditory cortex. Fear-conditioning-associated disinhibition in auditory cortex is driven by foot-shock-mediated cholinergic activation of layer 1 interneurons, in turn generating inhibition of layer 2/3 parvalbumin-positive interneurons. Importantly, pharmacological or optogenetic block of pyramidal neuron disinhibition abolishes fear learning. Together, these data demonstrate that stimulus convergence in the auditory cortex is necessary for associative fear learning to complex tones, define the circuit elements mediating this convergence and suggest that layer-1-mediated disinhibition is an important mechanism underlying learning and information processing in neocortical circuits.

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Topics: Auditory cortex (57%), Disinhibition (54%), Poison control (51%) ... read more

669 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/NATURE00931
22 Aug 2002-Nature
Abstract: The detection of image motion is fundamental to vision. In many species, unique classes of retinal ganglion cells selectively respond to visual stimuli that move in specific directions. It is not known which retinal cell first performs the neural computations that give rise to directional selectivity in the ganglion cell. A prominent candidate has been an interneuron called the 'starburst amacrine cell'. Using two-photon optical recordings of intracellular calcium concentration, here we find that individual dendritic branches of starburst cells act as independent computation modules. Dendritic calcium signals, but not somatic membrane voltage, are directionally selective for stimuli that move centrifugally from the cell soma. This demonstrates that direction selectivity is computed locally in dendritic branches at a stage before ganglion cells.

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Topics: Retinal ganglion (65%), Amacrine cell (64%), Retina (57%) ... read more

501 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/385630A0
13 Feb 1997-Nature
Abstract: The classical view of fast chemical synaptic transmission is that released neurotransmitter acts locally on postsynaptic receptors and is cleared from the synaptic cleft within a few milliseconds by diffusion and by specific reuptake mechanisms. This rapid clearance restricts the spread of neurotransmitter and, combined with the low affinities of many ionotropic receptors, ensures that synaptic transmission occurs in a point-to-point fashion. We now show, however, that when transmitter release is enhanced at hippocampal mossy fibre synapses, the concentration of glutamate increases and its clearance is delayed; this allows it to spread away from the synapse and to activate presynaptic inhibitory metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). At normal levels of glutamate release during low-frequency activity, these presynaptic receptors are not activated. When glutamate concentration is increased by higher-frequency activity or by blocking glutamate uptake, however, these receptors become activated, leading to a rapid inhibition of transmitter release. This effect may be related to the long-term depression of mossy fibre synaptic responses that has recently been shown after prolonged activation of presynaptic mGluRs (refs 2, 3). The use-dependent activation of presynaptic mGluRs that we describe here thus represents a negative feedback mechanism for controlling the strength of synaptic transmission.

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482 Citations


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