Scientists Discover Cell In Retina That Responds To Light

Posted: Feb 20 2017, 6:40am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Scientists discover cell in retina that responds to light

Future research will build on what the team has learned

A group of Korean scientists have been researching cells in the retina of the human eye in an effort to find help for people who suffer from severe sensitivity to light. The group of medical researchers has discovered a cell in the retina that responds to light. The scientist who led the team is Kim Jin-Woo from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

The team has discovered that visual responses are sensitive to the overall composition of retinal interneurons known as amacrine cells. The retina of the eye is a light-sensitive layer of tissue inside the eye made up of a variety of nerve cells. Those cells work together to process light and then trigger electrical signals that go to the brain where they are translated into a picture of what the eye is seeing.

The team wrote in their research paper, "A protein known as Tgfb1i1 interacts with two transcription factors to form a 'complex' that binds to the alpha-enhancer and blocks the production of a particular form of Pax6. In experiments performed in mice, the loss of Tgfb1i1 led to increased production of this form of Pax6, which resulted in the retina containing more of a certain type of amacrine cell that produces a molecule called GABA."

"This research is meaningful as we discovered that light sensitivity is controlled by small change in a particular retina cell," said Kim. The findings of Kim and his team will be used to further future studies meant to improve the sight of people who work in dark environments or suffer from light sensitivity.

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