DSCAM and DSCAML1 function in self-avoidance in multiple cell types in the developing mouse retina

Peter G Fuerst, Freyja Bruce, Miao Tian, Wei Wei, Justin Elstrott, Marla B Feller, Lynda Erskine, Joshua H Singer, Robert W Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Citations (Scopus)


DSCAM and DSCAM-LIKE1 (DSCAML1) serve diverse neurodevelopmental functions, including axon guidance, synaptic adhesion, and self-avoidance, depending on the species, cell type, and gene family member studied. We examined the function of DSCAM and DSCAML1 in the developing mouse retina. In addition to a subset of amacrine cells, Dscam was expressed in most retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). RGCs had fasciculated dendrites and clumped cell bodies in Dscam(-/-) mice, suggesting a role in self-avoidance. Dscaml1 was expressed in the rod circuit, and mice lacking Dscaml1 had fasciculated rod bipolar cell dendrites and clumped AII amacrine cell bodies, also indicating a role in self-avoidance. Neurons in Dscam or Dscaml1 mutant retinas stratified their processes appropriately in synaptic laminae in the inner plexiform layer, and functional synapses formed in the rod circuit in mice lacking Dscaml1. Therefore, DSCAM and DSCAML1 function similarly in self-avoidance, and are not essential for synaptic specificity in the mouse retina.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-497
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2009

Bibliographical note

Previewed in: Neuron 64, 441-443.


  • animals
  • avoidance learning
  • cell adhesion molecules
  • mice
  • mice, inbred C57BL
  • mice, knockout
  • mice, transgenic
  • neurites
  • retina
  • synapses


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