Local and global interneuron function in the retina

Drinnenberg, Antonia. Local and global interneuron function in the retina. 2017, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_12492

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Brain regions consist of intricate neuronal circuits with diverse interneuron types. In order to gain mechanistic insights into brain function, it is essential to understand the computational purpose of the different types of interneurons. How does a single interneuron type shape the input-output transformation of a given brain region? Here I investigated how different interneuron types of the retina contribute to retinal computations. I developed approaches to systematically and quantitatively investigate the function of retinal interneurons by combining precise circuit perturbations with a system-wide read-out of activity. I studied the functional roles of a locally acting interneuron type, starburst amacrine cells, and of a globally acting type, horizontal cells. In Chapter 1, I show how a defined genetic perturbation in starburst amacrine cells, the mutation of the FRMD7 gene, leads to specific effects in the direction-selective output channels of the retina. Our findings provide a link between a specific neuronal computation and a human disease, and present an entry point for understanding the molecular pathways responsible for generating neuronal circuit asymmetries. Chapter 2 addresses how mutated FRMD7 in starburst cells and the genetic ablation of starburst cells affect the computation of visual motion in the retina and in primary visual cortex. Chapter 3 addresses how horizontal cells mediate rod depolarization under bright daylight conditions. In Chapter 4, I combined the precise, yet retina-wide, perturbation of horizontal cells with a system-level readout of the retinal output. I uncovered that horizontal cells can differentially shape the response dynamics of individual retinal output channels. Our combined experimental and theoretical work shows how the inhibitory feedback at the first visual synapse shapes functional diversity in the retina.
Advisors:Roska, Botond and Da Silveira, Rava A.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Friedrich Miescher Institut FMI > Neurobiology > Structure and function of neural circuits (Roska)
UniBasel Contributors:Roska, Botond
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:12492
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (187 Seiten)
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:08 Feb 2020 14:48
Deposited On:19 Mar 2018 14:11

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