Cadherin 4 assembles a family of color-selective retinal circuits that respond to light offset

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Retinal interneurons and projection neurons (retinal ganglion cells, RGCs) connect in specific combinations in a specialized neuropil called the inner plexiform layer (IPL). The IPL is divided into multiple sublaminae, with neurites of each neuronal type confined to one or a few layers. This laminar specificity is a major determinant of circuit specificity and circuit function. Using a combination of approaches we show that RGCs targeting IPL sublamina 1 and 3a express the adhesion molecule cadherin 4 (Cdh4). Using calcium imaging and iterative immunostaining, we classified Cdh4-RGCs into 9 types that each encode unique aspects of dark visual stimuli. Cdh4 loss selectively disrupted the layer- targeting of these RGCs, reduced their synaptic inputs from interneurons, and severely altered their visual responses. Overexpression of Cdh4 in other retinal neurons directed their neurites to s1-3a through homophilic interactions. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Cdh4 is a novel layer targeting system for nearly a third of all RGC.

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