Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-aa Regulates Photoreceptor Synaptic Development to Mediate Visually Guided Behavior

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Andrew H MillerMarc A Wolman


To guide behavior, sensory systems detect the onset and offset of stimuli and process these distinct inputs via parallel pathways. In the retina, this strategy is implemented by splitting neural signals for light onset and offset via synapses connecting photoreceptors to ON and OFF bipolar cells, respectively. It remains poorly understood which molecular cues establish the architecture of this synaptic configuration to split light-onset and light-offset signals. A mutant with reduced synapses between photoreceptors and one bipolar cell type, but not the other, could reveal a critical cue. From this approach, we report a novel synaptic role for pregnancy-associated plasma protein aa (pappaa) in promoting the structure and function of cone synapses that transmit light-offset information. Electrophysiological and behavioral analyses indicated pappaa mutant zebrafish have dysfunctional cone-to-OFF bipolar cell synapses and impaired responses to light offset, but intact cone-to-ON bipolar cell synapses and light-onset responses. Ultrastructural analyses of pappaa mutant cones showed a lack of presynaptic domains at synapses with OFF bipolar cells. pappaa is expressed postsynaptically to the cones during retinal synaptogenesis and en...Continue Reading


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