Jennifer L. Ecker

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Using the photopigment melanopsin, intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) respond directly to light to drive circadian clock resetting and pupillary constriction. We now report that ipRGCs are more abundant and diverse than previously appreciated, project more widely within the brain, and can support spatial visual perception. A(More)
Rod and cone photoreceptors detect light and relay this information through a multisynaptic pathway to the brain by means of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). These retinal outputs support not only pattern vision but also non-image-forming (NIF) functions, which include circadian photoentrainment and pupillary light reflex (PLR). In mammals, NIF functions are(More)
Most retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) convey contrast and motion information to visual brain centers. Approximately 2% of RGCs are intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs), express melanopsin and are necessary for light to modulate specific physiological processes in mice. The ipRGCs directly target the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) to photoentrain circadian(More)
In the absence of functional rod and cone photoreceptors, mammals retain the ability to detect light for a variety of physiological functions such as circadian photoentrainment and pupillary light reflex. This is attributed to a third class of photoreceptors, the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that express the photopigment melanopsin.(More)
The retina consists of ordered arrays of individual types of neurons for processing vision. Here, we show that such order is necessary for intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) to function as irradiance detectors. We found that during development, ipRGCs undergo proximity-dependent Bax-mediated apoptosis. Bax mutant mice exhibit(More)
BACKGROUND The response to hypoxia in tissues is regulated by the heterodimeric transcription factor Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS We have created a strain of mice with inducible cardiomyocyte-specific expression of a mutated, oxygen-stable, form of HIF-1alpha. Cardiac function steadily decreased with transgene(More)
BACKGROUND Neuropeptides are critical integrative elements within the central circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), where they mediate both cell-to-cell synchronization and phase adjustments that cause light entrainment. Forward peptidomics identified little SAAS, derived from the proSAAS prohormone, among novel SCN peptides, but its role in(More)