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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Retinal waves regulate afferent terminal targeting in the early visual pathway.


PMID 26038569

Abstract

Current models of retinogeniculate development have proposed that connectivity between the retina and the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) is established by gradients of axon guidance molecules, to allow initial coarse connections, and by competitive Hebbian-like processes, to drive eye-specific segregation and refine retinotopy. Here we show that when intereye competition is eliminated by monocular enucleation, blocking cholinergic stage II retinal waves disrupts the intraeye competition-mediated expansion of the retinogeniculate projection and results in the permanent disorganization of its laminae. This disruption of stage II retinal waves also causes long-term impacts on receptive field size and fine-scale retinotopy in the dLGN. Our results reveal a novel role for stage II retinal waves in regulating retinogeniculate afferent terminal targeting by way of intraeye competition, allowing for correct laminar patterning and the even allocation of synaptic territory. These findings should contribute to answering questions regarding the role of neural activity in guiding the establishment of neural circuits.