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The mature vertebrate retina is a highly ordered neuronal network of cell bodies and synaptic neuropils arranged in distinct layers. Little, however, is known about the emergence of this spatial arrangement. Here, we investigate how the three main types of retinal inhibitory neuron (RIN)--horizontal cells (HCs), inner nuclear layer amacrine cells (iACs) and displaced amacrine cells (dACs)--reach their specific laminar positions during development. Using in vivo time-lapse imaging of zebrafish retinas, we show that RINs undergo distinct phases of migration. The first phase, common to all RINs, is bipolar migration directed towards the apicobasal centre of the retina. All RINs then transition to a less directionally persistent multipolar phase of migration. Finally, HCs, iACs and dACs each undergo cell type-specific migration. In contrast to current hypotheses, we find that most dACs send processes into the forming inner plexiform layer (IPL) before migrating through it and inverting their polarity. By imaging and quantifying the dynamics of HCs, iACs and dACs from birth to final position, this study thus provides evidence for distinct and new migration patterns during retinal lamination and insights into the initiation of IPL formation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2665 - 2677


Amacrine cells, Displaced amacrine cells, Horizontal cells, Inner plexiform layer, Neuronal migration, Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Cell Movement, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Kinetics, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Neurons, Retina, Time-Lapse Imaging, Zebrafish