The year 2020 is almost over but we have one last edition of our monthly must-reads blog in store for you. This year we covered numerous topics, from applications (Retinal OrganoidsRetina, Organoids, Human iPSC-Derived Neurons, Axons, Beta Cells) to MEA (MEA for drug screeningBurst DetectionSpike Sorting, Neuroengineering) and also wrote a special edition (Neurons and Viruses).

In our December edition, we highlight the latest developments on Direction Selectivity in the Retina. We feature the article written by Matsumoto et al. which investigates the key mechanisms that play a role in the detection of motion speed and direction. Please find a summary below.

Spatiotemporally Asymmetric Excitation Supports Mammalian Retinal Motion Sensitivity.
by Akihiro Matsumoto, Kevin L. Briggman and Keisuke Yonehara. Current Biology. October 2019.

Discovered more than half a century ago, the direction selective retinal circuit lies at the core of visual motion detection. The key circuit modules of direction selectivity are the starburst amacrine cells, these provide asymmetrical inhibitory inputs to the direction selective retinal ganglion cells. While this mechanism of segregated inhibitory inputs is widely accepted, the notion that excitatory inputs also contribute to directionally selective remains controversial. In this month’s featured article Matsumoto and coworkers use two-photon imaging and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy to highlight a circuit mechanism by which the excitatory bipolar cell inputs can play a key role in the detection of motion speed and direction. This study further advances our understanding of the sophisticated computations performed by neural circuits, and highlights the underlying solution of the retina for detecting self movement-induced visual motion.

Read the paper here.

Although we decided to highlight the article by Masumoto et al., we selected four scientific articles that delve into the topic of direction selectivity in retina. These can be found below:

  1. Global Motion Processing by Populations of Direction Selective Retinal Ganglion Cells.
    by Jon Cafaro, Joel Zylberberg and Greg Field. Journal of Neuroscience. July 2020.
    Read the paper here.
  2. Preserving inhibition with a disinhibitory microcircuit in the retina.
    by Qiang Chen, Robert G Smith, Xiaolin Huang and Wei Wei. eLife. September 2020.
    Read the paper here.
  3. Antagonistic Center-Surround Mechanisms for Direction Selectivity in the Retina.
    by Lea Ankri, Elishai Ezra-Tsur, Shir R. Maimon, Nathali Kaushansky and Michal Rivlin-Etzion. Cell Reports. May 2020.
    Read the paper here. 
  4. Neural mechanisms of contextual modulation in the retinal direction selective circuit.
    by Xiaolin Huang, Melissa Rangel, Kevin L. Briggman and Wei Wei. Nature Communications. June 2019.
    Read the paper here.

We hope you enjoyed our Monthly Must-Reads this year and we look forward to publishing new editions next year. If you would like to be featured in one of the editions, feel free to contact us!