Journal of Neurocytology

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 651–666 | Cite as

Identification and localization of an immunoreactiveAMPA-type glutamate receptor subunit (GluR4) with respect to identified photoreceptor synapses in the outer plexiform layer of goldfish retina

  • K. Schultz
  • D. J. Goldman
  • T. Ohtsuka
  • J. Hirano
  • L. Barton
  • W. K. Stell


L-glutamate, the main excitatory synaptic transmitter in the retina, is released from photoreceptors and evokes responses in second-order retinal neurons (horizontal, bipolar cells) which utilize both ionotropic and metabotropic types of glutamate receptors. In the present study, to elucidate the functional roles of glutamate receptors in synaptic transmission, we have identified a specific ionotropic receptor subunit (GluR4) and determined its localization with respect to photoreceptor cells in the outer plexiform layer of the goldfish retina by light and pre-embedding electron-microscopical immunocytochemistry. We screened antisera to mammalian AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate)-preferring ionotropic glutamate receptors (GluR 1–4) of goldfish retina by light- and electron-microscopical immunocytochemistry. Only immunoreactive (IR) GluR4 was found in discrete clusters in the outer plexiform layer. The cones contacted in this manner were identified as long-wavelength (“red”) and intermediate-wavelength (“green”) cones, which were strongly immunoreactive to monoclonal antibody FRet 43 and antisera to goldfish red and green-cone opsins; and short-wavelength (“blue”) cones, which were weakly immunoreactive to FRet 43 but strongly immunoreactive with antiserum to blue-cone opsin. Immunoblots of goldfish retinal homogenate with anti-GluR4 revealed a single protein at Mr=110 kDa. Preadsorption of GluR4 antiserum with either the immunizing rat peptide, or its goldfish homolog, reduced or abolished staining in retinal sections and blots. Therefore, we have detected and localized genuine goldfish GluR4 in the outer plexiform layer of the goldfish retina. We characterized contacts between photoreceptor cells and GluR4-IR second-order neurons in the electron microscope. IR-GluR4 was localized to invaginating central dendrites of triads in ribbon synapses of red cones, semi-invaginating dendrites in other cones and rods, and dendrites making wide-cleft basal junctions in rods and cones; the GluR4-IR structures are best identified as dendrites of OFF-bipolar cells. The results of our studies indicate that in goldfish retina GluR4-expressing neurons are postsynaptic to all types of photoreceptors and that transmission from photoreceptors to OFF-bipolars is mediated at least in part by AMPA-sensitive receptors containing GluR4 subunits.


Glutamate Receptor Receptor Subunit Photoreceptor Cell Outer Plexiform Layer Excitatory Synaptic Transmitter 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Schultz
    • 3
  • D. J. Goldman
    • 2
  • T. Ohtsuka
    • 4
  • J. Hirano
    • 5
  • L. Barton
  • W. K. Stell
    • 1
  1. 1.Lions' Sight Centre, Departments of Anatomy and SurgeryOphthalmology, and Neuroscience Research GroupUniversity of Calgary Faculty of MedicineCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Biological ChemistryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurobiology, FB7University of OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of BiologyToho UniversityTokyo
  5. 5.International Marine CentreTorregrande OristanoItaly

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