postdoctoral fellow FONCyT
Director: Mario Guido
Identification of non-canonical cellular and molecular components of the inner retina in vertebrates: Biochemical and physiological implications
Along the evolution, vertebrates’ retina has kept non-visual photoreceptor cells, like horizontal and retinal ganglion cells (HC and RGC, respectively) which express melanopsin (Opn4), neuropsin (Opn5) and encefalopsin (Opn3) photopigments. The intrinsic retina’s photoreception explains how light detection and light-induced unconscious responses are observed in blindness conditions. Particularly, RGC regulate the photic entrainment of daily activity rhythms, pupillary reflex, pineal melatonin suppression and sleep. Additionally, glial Müller cells, located all along the inner retina, play a crucial role in retinal metabolism, debris phagocytosis, K+ uptake, and trophic factors and neurotransmitters release. The present work aims to further characterize the intrinsic photoreceptor capacity of the inner retina in vertebrates and its biochemical and physiological implications. Therefore, the role of non-canonical opsins will be addressed in non-visual photoreceptors cells (HC and RGC) and Müller cells, regarding non-visual photo-transduction mechanisms and retina’s metabolism and physiology, under physiological and pathological conditions.