Eye and ear employ specialized glutamatergic synapses that feature an elaborate electron‐dense projection—the synaptic ribbon. Despite major efforts, the function of the synaptic ribbon has remained enigmatic, because its brick‐stone‐like core‐component RIBEYE has remained hard to crack genetically. In an elegant study, Maxeiner et al (2016) genetically deleted RIBEYE in mice. This abolished retinal ribbons and impaired exocytosis at the presynaptic active zone of bipolar cells.
See also: S Maxeiner et al (May 2016)
Coding of light and sound in our eyes and ears features amazing performance still unparalleled by even the smartest technology. For example, these sensory organs process light and pressure waves spanning many orders of magnitude in real time for hours with great temporal fidelity. Like in a photocamera, the eye deals with different light intensities with changing the size of the pupil. However, different from the chip of a camera, the retina implements several mechanism of light adaptation on various timescales. Beyond adaptation at the stage of phototransduction, processing at specialized glutamatergic synapses of the retina contributes to such adaptation and in addition detects contrast (e.g., Jackman et al, 2009; Oesch & Diamond, …
Subscribers, please sign in with your username and password.