Retinal TrkB receptors regulate neural development in the inner, but not outer, retina.
ABSTRACT BDNF signaling through its TrkB receptor plays a pivotal role in activity-dependent refinement of synaptic connectivity of retinal ganglion cells. Additionally, studies using TrkB knockout mice have suggested that BDNF/TrkB signaling is essential for the development of photoreceptors and for synaptic communication between photoreceptors and second order retinal neurons. Thus the action of BDNF on refinement of synaptic connectivity of retinal ganglion cells could be a direct effect in the inner retina, or it could be secondary to its proposed role in rod maturation and in the formation of rod to bipolar cell synaptic transmission. To address this matter we have conditionally eliminated TrkB within the retina. We find that rod function and synaptic transmission to bipolar cells is not compromised in these conditional knockout mice. Consistent with previous work, we find that inner retina neural development is regulated by retinal BDNF/TrkB signaling. Specifically we show here also that the complexity of neuronal processes of dopaminergic cells is reduced in conditional TrkB knockout mice. We conclude that retinal BDNF/TrkB signaling has its primary role in the development of inner retinal neuronal circuits, and that this action is not a secondary effect due to the loss of visual signaling in the outer retina.
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ABSTRACT: Neuronal connections are often arranged in layers, which are divided into sublaminae harboring synapses with similar response properties. It is still debated how fine-grained synaptic layering is established during development. Here we investigated two stratified areas of the zebrafish visual pathway, the inner plexiform layer (IPL) of the retina and the neuropil of the optic tectum, and determined if activity is required for their organization. The IPL of 5-day-old zebrafish larvae is composed of at least nine sublaminae, comprising the connections between different types of amacrine, bipolar, and ganglion cells (ACs, BCs, GCs). These sublaminae were distinguished by their expression of cell type-specific transgenic fluorescent reporters and immunohistochemical markers, including protein kinase Cbeta (PKC), parvalbumin (Parv), zrf3, and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). In the tectum, four retinal input layers abut a laminated array of neurites of tectal cells, which differentially express PKC and Parv. We investigated whether these patterns were affected by experimental disruptions of retinal activity in developing fish. Neither elimination of light inputs by dark rearing, nor a D, L-amino-phosphono-butyrate-induced reduction in the retinal response to light onset (but not offset) altered IPL or tectal lamination. Moreover, thorough elimination of chemical synaptic transmission with Botulinum toxin B left laminar synaptic arrays intact. Our results call into question a role for activity-dependent mechanisms - instructive light signals, balanced on and off BC activity, Hebbian plasticity, or a permissive role for synaptic transmission - in the synaptic stratification we examined. We propose that genetically encoded cues are sufficient to target groups of neurites to synaptic layers in this vertebrate visual system.Neural Development 01/2009; 3:36. · 3.70 Impact Factor
Article: Expression and cell localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB during zebrafish retinal development.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling through TrkB regulates different aspects of neuronal development, including survival, axonal and dendritic growth, and synapse formation. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the functional significance of BDNF and TrkB in the retina, the cell types in the retina that express BDNF and TrkB, and the variations in their levels of expression during development, remain poorly defined. The goal of the present study is to determine the age-dependent changes in the levels of expression and localization of BDNF and TrkB in the zebrafish retina. Zebrafish retinas from 10 days post-fertilization (dpf) to 180 dpf were used to perform PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Both BDNF and TrkB mRNAs, and BDNF and full-length TrkB proteins were detected at all ages sampled. The localization of these proteins in the retina was very similar at all time points studied. BDNF immunoreactivity was found in the outer nuclear layer, the outer plexiform layer and the inner plexiform layer, whereas TrkB immunoreactivity was observed in the inner plexiform layer and, to a lesser extent, in the ganglion cell layer. These results demonstrate that the pattern of expression of BDNF and TrkB in the retina of zebrafish remains unchanged during postembryonic development and adult life. Because TrkB expression in retina did not change with age, cells expressing TrkB may potentially be able to respond during the entire lifespan of zebrafish to BDNF either exogenously administered or endogenously produced, acting through paracrine mechanisms.Journal of Anatomy 09/2010; 217(3):214-22. · 2.37 Impact Factor
Article: TrkB (tropomyosin-related kinase B) controls the assembly and maintenance of GABAergic synapses in the cerebellar cortex.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Inhibitory interneurons play a critical role in coordinating the activity of neural circuits. To explore the mechanisms that direct the organization of inhibitory circuits, we analyzed the involvement of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in the assembly and maintenance of GABAergic inhibitory synapses between Golgi and granule cells in the mouse cerebellar cortex. We show that TrkB acts directly within each cell-type to regulate synaptic differentiation. TrkB is required not only for assembly, but also maintenance of these synapses and acts, primarily, by regulating the localization of synaptic constituents. Postsynaptically, TrkB controls the localization of a scaffolding protein, gephyrin, but acts at a step subsequent to the localization of a cell adhesion molecule, Neuroligin-2. Importantly, TrkB is required for the localization of an Ig superfamily cell adhesion molecule, Contactin-1, in Golgi and granule cells and the absence of Contactin-1 also results in deficits in inhibitory synaptic development. Thus, our findings demonstrate that TrkB controls the assembly and maintenance of GABAergic synapses and suggest that TrkB functions, in part, through promoting synaptic adhesion.Journal of Neuroscience 02/2011; 31(8):2769-80. · 7.11 Impact Factor