Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 181–194

GABAC receptors in the vertebrate retina

  • Peter D. Lukasiewicz

DOI: 10.1007/BF02755587

Cite this article as:
Lukasiewicz, P.D. Mol Neurobiol (1996) 12: 181. doi:10.1007/BF02755587


In the central nervous system (CNS), the inhibitory transmitter GABA interacts with three subtypes of GABA receptors, type A, type B, and type C. Historically, GABA receptors have been classified as either the inotropic GABAA receptors or the metabotropic GABAB receptors. Over the past 10 yr, studies have shown that a third class, called the GABAC receptor, also exists. GABAC receptors are found primarily in the vertebrate retina and to some extent in other parts of the CNS. Although GABAA and GABAC receptors both gate chloride channels, they are pharmacologically, molecularly, and functionally distinct. The ρ subunit of the GABAC receptor, which has about 35% amino acid homology to GABAA receptor subunits, was cloned from the retina and, when expressed inXenopus oocytes, has properties similar to retinal GABAC receptors. There are probably distinct roles for GABAC receptors in the retina, because they are found on only a subset of neurons, whereas GABAA receptors are ubiquitous. This article reviews recent electrophysiological and molecular studies that have characterized the unique properties of GABAC receptors and describes the roles that these receptors may play in visual information processing in the retina.

Index Entries

GABAGABAC receptorretinaρ1 receptorρ2 receptorhorizontal cellsbipolar cellsbicuculline-insensitive

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter D. Lukasiewicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and of Anatomy & NeurobiologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis