(May 2018) CU scientists, led by Maureen Stabio, PhD, assistant professor of
anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Colorado School of
Medicine, have discovered a new property of a little understood cell
called the M5.
They knew that mice possessed
light-sensitive proteins called opsins that allowed them to detect a
limited range of colors. But as they investigated the role M5 cells
played in this, Stabio discovered that the mice also had neurons that
could compare signals from the different opsins and then send those
color signals to the brain for interpretation.
the first to discover this particular color vision circuit in mice,”
Stabio said. “We knew they had opsins but we didn’t know they possessed
the other two requirements for color vision.”
work focuses primarily on the cells and circuits of the retina,
including a group called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion
cells or ipRGCs which includes the M5. These cells are primarily
involved in a kind of vision known as non-image forming vision.
discovery that color vision in mice is far more complex than originally
thought, opens the door to experiments that could potentially lead to
new treatments for humans. The study was published in December in the