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February 21 , 2008

G Protein Signaling Mechanisms in the Retina


The main purpose of this volume is to provide a focused analysis of the function of the G protein-coupled signaling pathways that operate in the interconnected network of retinal neurons as they detect and encode the information carried by light. The organization of this volume will generally follow the path of signal flow in the retina. First we will describe recent advances in understanding the phototransduction cascade of rod and cone photoreceptors, which use signaling cascade based on the GPCR rhodopsin to transduce incident light into neural activity. Chapters will be devoted to unique specializations of the two major types of photosensitive cells that comprise the predominant input for our spatial and color vision. Subsequently, the mechanisms of synaptic information encoding by retinal ON bipolar cells will be described, where the GPCR mGluR6 plays a fundamental role. Chapters in this section will examine macromolecular organization of the mGluR6 signaling pathway as well as current understanding of its function. The functional characteristics of this signaling mechanism will be explored in detail. Additionally, this section will cover the role of dopamine receptors in modulating signal transmission between photoreceptors and ON-bipolar cells. Finally, chapters will be focused on the output neurons of the inner retina, ganglion cells, where the components of the emerging GPCR melanopsin cascade in intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells will be detailed. Collectively these mechanisms allow the retina to represent visual space over a wide range of light intensities.
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