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Electrical coupling of retinal horizontal cells mediated by distinct voltage-independent junctions

  • CHENGBIAO LU (a1), DAO-QI ZHANG (a1) and DOUGLAS G. McMAHON (a1)

Abstract

Electrical coupling between H2 horizontal cell pairs isolated from the hybrid bass retina was studied using dual whole-cell, voltage-clamp technique. Voltage-dependent inactivation of junctional currents in response to steps in transjunctional voltage (Vj) over a range of ±100 mV was characterized for 89 cell pairs. Approximately one-quarter of the pairs exhibited strongly voltage-dependent junctions (>50% reduction in junctional current at ±100 mV), another quarter of the pairs exhibited voltage-independent junctional current (<5% reduction at ±100 mV), and the remainder of the pairs exhibited intermediate values for voltage inactivation. We focused on further characterizing the Vj-independent junctions of horizontal cells, which have not been described previously in detail. When Lucifer Yellow dye was included in one recording pipette, pairs exhibiting Vj-independent coupling showed no (9/12), or limited (3/12), passage of dye. Vj-independent coupling was markedly less sensitive to the modulators SNP (100–300 μM, −9% reduction in coupling) and dopamine (100–300 μM, −6%) than were Vj-dependent junctions (−45% and −44%). However, simultaneous application of both SNP and dopamine significantly reduced Vj-independent coupling (−56%). Both Vj-independent and Vj-dependent junctions were blocked by DMSO (1–2%), but Vj-independent junctions were not blocked by heptanol. Single-channel junctional conductances of Vj-independent junctions range from 112–180 pS, versus 50–60 pS for Vj-dependent junctions. The results reveal that Vj-independent coupling in a subpopulation of horizontal cells from the hybrid bass retina is mediated by cellular junctions with physiological and pharmacological characteristics distinct from those previously described in fish horizontal cells.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Douglas G. McMahon, Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0084, USA. E-mail: dgmcma1@pop.uky.edu

Keywords

Electrical coupling of retinal horizontal cells mediated by distinct voltage-independent junctions

  • CHENGBIAO LU (a1), DAO-QI ZHANG (a1) and DOUGLAS G. McMAHON (a1)

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