Subcellular distribution of connexin45 in OFF bipolar cells of the mouse retina

Gerrit Hilgen, Julia Von Maltzahn, Klaus Willecke, Reto Weiler, Karin Dedek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In the mouse retina, connexin45 (Cx45) participates in the gap junction between ON cone bipolar cells and AII amacrine cells, which constitutes an essential element of the primary rod pathway. Although it has been shown that Cx45 is also expressed in OFF bipolar cells, its subcellular localization and functional role in these cells are unknown. Here, we analyzed the localization of Cx45 on OFF bipolar cells in the mouse retina. For this, we used wild-type mice and a transgenic mouse line that expressed, in addition to native Cx45, a fusion protein consisting of Cx45 and the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). Cx45-EGFP expression generates an EGFP signal at gap junctions containing Cx45. Combining immunohistochemistry with intracellular injections, we found that Cx45 was present on dendrites and axon terminals of all OFF bipolar cell types. Cx45 was not found at intersections of two terminal processes of the same type, suggesting that Cx45 might not form gap junctions between axon terminals of the same OFF bipolar cell type but rather might connect OFF bipolar cells to amacrine or ganglion cells. In OFF bipolar cell dendrites, Cx45 was found predominantly in the proximal outer plexiform layer (OPL), well below the cone pedicles. Cx45 did not colocalize with Cx36, which is found predominantly in the distal OPL. We conclude that Cx45 is expressed on OFF bipolar cell dendrites, presumably forming gap junctions with cells of the same type, and on OFF bipolar cell axon terminals, presumably forming heterologous gap junctions with other retinal neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-450
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
Early online date19 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


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