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Double cones and the diverse connectivity of photoreceptors and bipolar cells in an avian retina

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Günther,  Anja
Department of Computational Neuroethology, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;
Electron Microscopy and Analytics, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Haverkamp,  Silke
Department of Computational Neuroethology, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Irsen,  Stephan
Electron Microscopy and Analytics, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Briggman,  Kevin L.
Department of Computational Neuroethology, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Günther, A., Dedek, K., Haverkamp, S., Irsen, S., Briggman, K. L., & Mouritsen, H. (2021). Double cones and the diverse connectivity of photoreceptors and bipolar cells in an avian retina. The Journal of Neuroscience, JN-RM-2495-20. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2495-20.2021.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-6806-D
Abstract
Double cones are the most common photoreceptor cell type in most avian retinas, but their precise functions remain a mystery. Among their suggested functions are luminance detection, polarized light detection, and light-dependent, radical-pair-based magnetoreception. To better understand the function of double cones, it will be crucial to know how they are connected to the neural network in the avian retina. Here we use serial sectioning, multi-beam scanning electron microscopy (ssmSEM) to investigate double cone anatomy and connectivity with a particular focus on their contacts to other photoreceptor and bipolar cells in the chicken retina. We found that double cones are highly connected with neighbouring double cones and with other photoreceptor cells through telodendria-to-terminal and telodendria-to-telodendria contacts. We also identified 15 bipolar cell types based on their axonal stratifications, photoreceptor contact pattern, soma position, and dendritic and axonal field mosaics. Thirteen of these 15 bipolar cell types contacted at least one or both members of the double cone. All bipolar cells were bi- or multistratified. We also identified surprising contacts between other cone types and between rods and cones. Our data indicate a much more complex connectivity network in the outer plexiform layer of the avian retina than originally expected.