Cone synapses in macaque fovea: II. Dendrites of OFF midget bipolar cells exhibit Inner Densities similar to their Outer synaptic Densities in basal contacts with cone terminals.
Recent studies suggested that different types of OFF bipolar cells express specific types of ionotropic (AMPA or kainate) glutamate receptors (GluRs) at their contacts with cone pedicles. However, the question of which GluR type is expressed by which type of OFF bipolar cell in primate retina is still open. In this study, the expression of AMPA and kainate receptor subunits at the dendritic tips of flat (OFF) midget bipolar (FMB) cells was analyzed in the retina of the common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus. We used preembedding electron microscopy and double immunofluorescence with subunit-specific antibodies. The FMB cells were labeled with antibodies against the carbohydrate epitope CD15. Cone pedicles were identified with peanut agglutinin. Immunoreactivity for the GluR1 subunit and for CD15 is preferentially located at triad-associated flat contacts. Furthermore, the large majority of GluR1 immunoreactive puncta is localized at the dendritic tips of FMB cells. These results suggest that FMB cells express the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1. In contrast, the kainate receptor subunit GluR5 is not colocalized with the dendritic tips of FMB cells or with the GluR1 subunit. Immunoreactive puncta for the GluR1 subunit are found at all M/L-cone pedicles but are only rarely associated with S-cone pedicles. This is consistent with our recent findings in marmoset retina that FMB cells do not contact S-cone pedicles. The presence of GluR5 clusters at S-cone pedicles indicates that in primate retinas OFF bipolar cells expressing kainate receptor subunits receive some S-cone input.