BCB Faculty Member in the Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) Department
Single cell transcriptomics of defined retinal ganglion cell types
Retinal ganglion cells comprise a small portion of the vertebrate retina, yet they are the sole communication between retina and brain. This population of neurons is composed of ~30 different types responsible for responding to varying light stimuli and coordinating with visual reflex centers. Despite studies characterizing the distinct morphologies of ganglion cell subtypes, the transcriptomic profiles of these cells have remained elusive. Specifically, there has not been a definitive study that links morphological and functional properties of ganglion cells to their transcriptome. To achieve this goal, we have isolated individual retinal ganglion cells from adult mouse retinas based upon morphology and physiology. Using different methods including single cell RNA-seq, we have begun to identify genes that correlate with specific morphologies/electrophysiological properties of ganglion cells. In particular, through our analysis of photosensitive ganglion cells and direction selective cells, we have identified potential specific marker genes for each subset and continue to work to confirm these results.