In the brain and the retina metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) modulate synaptic transmission; in particular, L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate- sensitive group-III mGluRs are generally presynaptic and provide negative feedback of neurotransmitter release. We performed a comparative immunohistochemical analysis of the distribution of all group-III mGluRs in the mouse retina. mGluR6 expression was limited to the outer plexiform layer. Discrete, punctate immunolabeling, exclusively in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), was observed for each of the remaining group-III mGluRs. mGluR4 immunostaining was most abundant in IPL sublamina 1; mGluR7 immunoreactivity was organized in four bands, corresponding to sublaminae 1-4; and mGluR8 was localized in two broad bands, one each in the OFF and ON layers of the IPL. mGluR8 immunoreactivity was evident in the OFF plexus of cholinergic amacrine cell processes. Surprisingly, we found little overlap between group-III mGluR immunolabeling and that for the vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT1. Instead, we found that mGluR4 and mGluR7 were located close to bipolar cell ribbons. No compensatory changes in the distribution of group-III mGluRs, or of several other markers also showing a stratified localization in the IPL, were observed in genetically engineered mice lacking either mGluR4, mGluR8, or both mGluR4 and mGluR8. The unique pattern of expression of each receptor suggests that they have distinct functions in the retina, and their asymmetric distribution in the ON and OFF layers of the IPL suggests distinct roles in the processing of light-ON and light-OFF stimuli.
- 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid
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