[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the retina, synaptic transmission between photoreceptors and downstream ON-bipolar neurons (ON-BCs) is mediated by a GPCR pathway, which plays an essential role in vision. However, the mechanisms that control signal transmission at this synapse and its relevance to behavior remain poorly understood. In this study we used a genetic system to titrate the rate of GPCR signaling in ON-BC dendrites by varying the concentration of key RGS proteins and measuring the impact on transmission of signal between photoreceptors and ON-BC neurons using electroretinography and single cell recordings. We found that sensitivity, onset timing, and the maximal amplitude of light-evoked responses in rod- and cone-driven ON-BCs are determined by different RGS concentrations. We further show that changes in RGS concentration differentially impact visually guided-behavior mediated by rod and cone ON pathways. These findings illustrate that neuronal circuit properties can be modulated by adjusting parameters of GPCR-based neurotransmission at individual synapses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The time course of signaling via heterotrimeric G proteins is controlled through their activation by G-protein coupled receptors and deactivation through the action of GTPase accelerating proteins (GAPs). Here we identify RGS7 and RGS11 as the key GAPs in the mGluR6 pathway of retinal rod ON bipolar cells that set the sensitivity and time course of light-evoked responses. We showed using electroretinography and single cell recordings that the elimination of RGS7 did not influence dark-adapted light-evoked responses, but the concurrent elimination of RGS11 severely reduced their magnitude and dramatically slowed the onset of the response. In RGS7/RGS11 double-knockout mice, light-evoked responses in rod ON bipolar cells were only observed during persistent activation of rod photoreceptors that saturate rods. These observations are consistent with persistently high G-protein activity in rod ON bipolar cell dendrites caused by the absence of the dominant GAP, biasing TRPM1 channels to the closed state.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2012; 109(20):7905-10. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1202332109 · 9.81 Impact Factor