Send to

Choose Destination
Neuron. 2013 Feb 6;77(3):503-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.11.028.

Apoptosis regulates ipRGC spacing necessary for rods and cones to drive circadian photoentrainment.

Author information

Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


The retina consists of ordered arrays of individual types of neurons for processing vision. Here, we show that such order is necessary for intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) to function as irradiance detectors. We found that during development, ipRGCs undergo proximity-dependent Bax-mediated apoptosis. Bax mutant mice exhibit disrupted ipRGC spacing and dendritic stratification with an increase in abnormally localized synapses. ipRGCs are the sole conduit for light input to circadian photoentrainment, and either their melanopsin-based photosensitivity or ability to relay rod/cone input is sufficient for circadian photoentrainment. Remarkably, the disrupted ipRGC spacing does not affect melanopsin-based circadian photoentrainment but severely impairs rod/cone-driven photoentrainment. We demonstrate reduced rod/cone-driven cFos activation and electrophysiological responses in ipRGCs, suggesting that impaired synaptic input to ipRGCs underlies the photoentrainment deficits. Thus, for irradiance detection, developmental apoptosis is necessary for the spacing and connectivity of ipRGCs that underlie their functioning within a neural network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center