Synaptic transmission at retinal ribbon synapses

Ruth Heidelberger, Wallace B. Thoreson, Paul Witkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


The molecular organization of ribbon synapses in photoreceptors and ON bipolar cells is reviewed in relation to the process of neurotransmitter release. The interactions between ribbon synapse-associated proteins, synaptic vesicle fusion machinery and the voltage-gated calcium channels that gate transmitter release at ribbon synapses are discussed in relation to the process of synaptic vesicle exocytosis. We describe structural and mechanistic specializations that permit the ON bipolar cell to release transmitter at a much higher rate than the photoreceptor does, under in vivo conditions. We also consider the modulation of exocytosis at photoreceptor synapses, with an emphasis on the regulation of calcium channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-720
Number of pages39
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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