The AII amacrine cells are critical elements in the primary rod pathway of the mammalian retina, acting as an obligatory conduit of rod signals to both on- and off-center ganglion cells. In addition to the chemical synaptic circuitry they subserve, AII cells form two types of electrical synapses corresponding to gap junctions formed between neighboring AII cells as well as junctions formed between AII cells and on-center cone bipolar cells. Our recent results indicate that coupling between AII cells and cone bipolar cells forms an obligatory synapse for transmission of scotopic visual signals to on-center ganglion cells. In contrast, AII-AII cell coupling acts to maintain the sensitivity of the primary rod pathway by allowing for summation of synchronous activity and the attenuation of asynchronous background noise. Further, the conductance of AII-AII cell gap junctions is highly dynamic, regulated by ambient light conditions, thereby preserving the fidelity of rod signaling over the scotopic operating range from starlight to twilight.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems