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Microsc Res Tech. 2000 Sep 1;50(5):338-46.

Photoreceptor classes and transmission at the photoreceptor synapse in the retina of the clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.


The photoreceptor population in Xenopus consists of a green-sensitive rod (lambda(max) = 523 nm), a blue-sensitive rod (lambda(max) = 445 nm) and three classes of cone. The largest cone is red-sensitive (lambda(max) = 611 nm). The intermediate cone is presumed to be blue-sensitive based on physiological criteria, whereas the miniature cone may be UV-sensitive. Horizontal cells (HC) are of two sorts: axon-bearing and axonless. The axon-bearing HC is of the luminosity type and probably contacts all types of photoreceptor. The axonless HC is of the chromaticity type and contacts only intermediate (blue) cones and at least one type of rod. During development dendrites of HCs and bipolar neurons penetrate photoreceptor bases. A progressive maturation of HC and bipolar synapses with rods and cones occurs between tadpoles stages 37/8 and 46. Neighboring rods and cones are joined by gap junctions. During this same period, the outer segments are laid down and photopigments synthesized. A linear relation was found between the quantum capturing ability of the rod and its absolute threshold. Mature rods of the Xenopus retina release glutamate in a calcium-dependent manner. Glutamate release was found to be a linear function of calcium influx through L-type calcium channels. Both types of HC possess ionotropic glutamate receptors of the AMPA subtype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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