A cre mouse line for probing irradiance- and direction-encoding retinal networks

Shai Sabbah, Daniel Berg, Carin Papendorp, Kevin L. Briggman, David M. Berson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Cell type-specific Cre driver lines have revolutionized the analysis of retinal cell types and circuits. We show that the transgenic mouse Rbp4-Cre selectively labels several retinal neuronal types relevant to the encoding of absolute light intensity (irradiance) and visual motion. In the ganglion cell layer (GCL), most marked cells are wide-field spiking polyaxonal amacrine cells (ACs) with sustained irradiance-encoding ON responses that persist during chemical synaptic blockade. Their arbors spread about 1 mm across the retina and are restricted to the inner half of the ON sublamina of the inner plexiform layer (IPL). There, they costratify with dendrites of M2 intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), to which they are tracer coupled. We propose that synaptically driven and intrinsic photo-currents of M2 cells pass through gap junctions to drive AC light responses. Also marked in this mouse are two types of RGCs. R-cells have a bistratified dendritic arbor, weak directional tuning, and irradiance-encoding ON responses. However, they also receive excitatory OFF input, revealed during ON-channel blockade. Serial blockface electron microscopic (SBEM) reconstruction confirms OFF bipolar input, and reveals that some OFF input derives from a novel type of OFF bipolar cell (BC). R-cells innervate specific layers of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) and superior colliculus (SC). The other marked RGC type (RDS) is bistratified, transient, and ON-OFF direction selective (DS). It apparently innervates the nucleus of the optic tract (NOT). The Rbp4-Cre mouse will be valuable for targeting these cell types for further study and for selectively manipulating them for circuit analysis.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0065-17.2017
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Sabbah et al.


  • Amacrine cells
  • Bipolar cells
  • Direction-selective ganglion cells
  • Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells
  • Retina


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