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A small number (<2%) of mammalian retinal ganglion cells express the photopigment melanopsin and are intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs). Light depolarizes ipRGCs and increases intracellular calcium levels ([Ca2+]i) but the signaling cascades underlying these responses have yet to be elucidated. To facilitate physiological studies on these rare(More)
Intercellular communication between gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) neurons facilitates light-induced phase changes and synchronization of individual neural oscillators within the SCN network. We used ratiometric Ca(2+) imaging techniques to record changes in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) to study(More)
We examined synaptic plasticity at intrasuprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic synapses by measuring the paired-pulse ratio between pairs of evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). Interstimulus intervals were chosen to represent the range of spontaneous action potential firing frequencies found in SCN neurons. A majority(More)
Intracellular free Ca(2+) regulates diverse cellular processes, including membrane potential, neurotransmitter release, and gene expression. To examine the cellular mechanisms underlying the generation of circadian rhythms, nucleus-targeted and untargeted cDNAs encoding a Ca(2+)-sensitive fluorescent protein (cameleon) were transfected into organotypic(More)
In mammals, the master circadian clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus. The period and phase of the circadian pacemaker are calibrated by direct photic input from retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). SCN-projecting RGCs respond to light in the absence of rod- and cone-driven synaptic input, a property for which they are termed(More)
In mammals, light entrainment of the circadian clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), requires retinal input. Traditional rod and cone photoreceptors, however, are not required. Instead, the SCN-projecting retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) function as autonomous photoreceptors and exhibit light responses independent of rod- and cone-driven input.(More)
Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) project to the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) and mediate photoentrainment of the circadian system. Melanopsin is a novel retinal-based photopigment that renders these cells intrinsically photosensitive (ip). Although genetic ablation of melanopsin abolishes the intrinsic light response, it has a(More)
Circadian oscillations in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) depend on transcriptional repression by Period (PER)1 and PER2 proteins within single cells and on vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) signaling between cells. Because VIP is released by SCN neurons in a circadian pattern, and, after photic stimulation, it has been suggested to play a role in(More)
Hyperexcited states, including depolarization block and depolarized low amplitude membrane oscillations (DLAMOs), have been observed in neurons of the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the site of the central mammalian circadian (~24-hour) clock. The causes and consequences of this hyperexcitation have not yet been determined. Here, we explore how individual(More)
Glutamate released from retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) synapses with suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) neurons induces phase changes in the circadian clock presumably by using Ca2+ as a second messenger. We used electrophysiological and Ca2+ imaging techniques to simultaneously record changes in the membrane potential and intracellular calcium concentration(More)