Samer S Hattar

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The primary circadian pacemaker, in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the mammalian brain, is photoentrained by light signals from the eyes through the retinohypothalamic tract. Retinal rod and cone cells are not required for photoentrainment. Recent evidence suggests that the entraining photoreceptors are retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that project to(More)
In the mammalian retina, besides the conventional rod-cone system, a melanopsin-associated photoreceptive system exists that conveys photic information for accessory visual functions such as pupillary light reflex and circadian photo-entrainment. On ablation of the melanopsin gene, retinal ganglion cells that normally express melanopsin are no longer(More)
In the mammalian retina, a small subset of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are intrinsically photosensitive, express the opsin-like protein melanopsin, and project to brain nuclei involved in non-image-forming visual functions such as pupillary light reflex and circadian photoentrainment. We report that in mice with the melanopsin gene ablated, RGCs(More)
A rare type of ganglion cell in mammalian retina is directly photosensitive. These novel retinal photoreceptors express the photopigment melanopsin. They send axons directly to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), intergeniculate leaflet (IGL), and olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN), thereby contributing to photic synchronization of circadian rhythms and the(More)
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)
Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) express the photopigment melanopsin and regulate a wide array of light-dependent physiological processes. Genetic ablation of ipRGCs eliminates circadian photoentrainment and severely disrupts the pupillary light reflex (PLR). Here we show that ipRGCs consist of distinct subpopulations that(More)
There are two ways in which an animal can confine its behavior to a nocturnal or diurnal niche. One is to synchronize an endogenous clock that in turn controls the sleep-wake cycle. The other is to respond directly to illumination with changes in activity. In mice, high illumination levels suppress locomotion (negative masking) and low illumination levels(More)
Transcriptional regulatory networks that control the morphologic and functional diversity of mammalian neurons are still largely undefined. Here we dissect the roles of the highly homologous POU-domain transcription factors Brn3a and Brn3b in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) development and function using conditional Brn3a and Brn3b alleles that permit the(More)
Light detected in the retina modulates several physiological processes including circadian photo-entrainment and pupillary light reflex. Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) convey rod-cone and melanopsin-driven light input to the brain. Using EEGs and electromyograms, we show that acute light induces sleep in mice during their(More)