A new type of retinal cell with tree-like dendrites detects upward motion, researchers report in today's linkurl:issue;;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v452/n7186/abs/nature06739.html of __Nature.__ The method used in the current study to detect cell subtypes may prove useful in finding molecular markers of other retinal cells, as well as brain neurons. It was a fortuitous discovery, said author Markus Meister from Harvard University. The researchers had set out to look for retinal cell surface molecules important in connecting the various types of cells in the retina. They started by screening 200 immunoglobulin superfamily genes for their expression patterns in the retina. One marker, JAM-B, stood out. It was expressed in a matrix of cells which were fairly evenly spaced from one another. "That's sort of a tip-off in the retina," which indicates the marker is cell-type specific, said Meister. They stained the JAM-B cells and noticed an unusual morphology. The tree-like dendrites all faced downward,...
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