The visual system consists of two major subsystems, image-forming circuits that drive conscious vision and non-image-forming circuits for behaviors such as circadian photoentrainment. While historically considered non-overlapping, recent evidence has uncovered crosstalk between these subsystems. Here, we investigated shared developmental mechanisms. We revealed an unprecedented role for light in the maturation of the circadian clock and discovered that intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are critical for this refinement process. In addition, ipRGCs regulate retinal waves independent of light, and developmental ablation of a subset of ipRGCs disrupts eye-specific segregation of retinogeniculate projections. Specifically, a subset of ipRGCs, comprising ~200 cells and which project intraretinally and to circadian centers in the brain, are sufficient to mediate both of these developmental processes. Thus, this subset of ipRGCs constitute a shared node in the neural networks that mediate light-dependent maturation of the circadian clock and light-independent refinement of retinogeniculate projections.
Detailed analysis of the synaptic inputs to the primate DB1 bipolar cell has been precluded by the absence of a suitable immunohistochemical marker. Here we demonstrate that antibodies for the EF-hand calcium-binding protein, secretagogin, strongly label the DB1 bipolar cell as well as a mixed population of GABAergic amacrine cells in the macaque retina. Using secretagogin as a marker, we show that the DB1 bipolar makes synaptic contact with both L/M as well as S-cone photoreceptors and only minimal contact with rod photoreceptors. Electron microscopy showed that the DB1 bipolar makes flat contacts at both triad-associated and nontriad-associated positions on the cone pedicle. Double labeling with various glutamate receptor subunit antibodies failed to conclusively determine the subunit composition of the glutamate receptors on DB1 bipolar cells. In the IPL, DB1 bipolar cell axon terminals expressed the glycine receptor, GlyRα1, at sites of contact with AII amacrine cells, suggesting that these cells receive input from the rod pathway.