Eliminating Synaptic Ribbons from Rods and Cones Halves the Releasable Vesicle Pool and Slows Down Replenishment

Chris S. Mesnard, Cody L. Barta, Asia L. Sladek, David Zenisek, Wallace B. Thoreson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Glutamate release from rod and cone photoreceptor cells involves presynaptic ribbons composed largely of the protein RIBEYE. To examine roles of ribbons in rods and cones, we studied mice in which GCamP3 replaced the B‐domain of RIBEYE. We discovered that ribbons were absent from rods and cones of both knock‐in mice possessing GCamP3 and conditional RIBEYE knockout mice. The mice lacking ribbons showed reduced temporal resolution and contrast sensitivity as-sessed with optomotor reflexes. ERG recordings showed 50% reduction in scotopic and photopic b‐ waves. The readily releasable pool (RRP) of vesicles in rods and cones measured using glutamate transporter anion currents (IA(glu)) was also halved. We also studied the release from cones by stimulating them optogenetically with ChannelRhodopsin2 (ChR2) while recording postsynaptic currents in horizontal cells. Recovery of the release from paired pulse depression was twofold slower in the rods and cones lacking ribbons. The release from rods at −40 mV in darkness involves regu-larly spaced multivesicular fusion events. While the regular pattern of release remained in the rods lacking ribbons, the number of vesicles comprising each multivesicular event was halved. Our results support conclusions that synaptic ribbons in rods and cones expand the RRP, speed up vesicle replenishment, and augment some forms of multivesicular release. Slower replenishment and a smaller RRP in photoreceptors lacking ribbons may contribute to diminished temporal frequency responses and weaker contrast sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6429
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • cones
  • electroretinogram
  • exocytosis
  • mouse
  • retina
  • ribbon synapse
  • rods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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