Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26985724
Neuron 2016 Mar;89(6):1317-30
The starburst amacrine cell in the mouse retina presents an opportunity to examine the precise role of sensory input location on neuronal computations. Using visual receptive field mapping, glutamate uncaging, two-photon Ca(2+) imaging, and genetic labeling of putative synapses, we identify a unique arrangement of excitatory inputs and neurotransmitter release sites on starburst amacrine cell dendrites: the excitatory input distribution is skewed away from the release sites. By comparing computational simulations with Ca(2+) transients recorded near release sites, we show that this anatomical arrangement of inputs and outputs supports a dendritic mechanism for computing motion direction. Direction-selective Ca(2+) transients persist in the presence of a GABA-A receptor antagonist, though the directional tuning is reduced. These results indicate a synergistic interaction between dendritic and circuit mechanisms for generating direction selectivity in the starburst amacrine cell.