The separation of ON and OFF channels and the development of an antagonistic surround occur at the first synapse in the vertebrate retina 1-3. This functional differentiation is mediated by the action of the photoreceptor neurotransmitter on the ON bipolar, OFF bipolar and horizontal cells, respectively. Glutamate mimics the action of the photoreceptor transmitter on all second-order neurones in fish4,5, amphibian 6 and mammalian7 retinas. The diversity of cellular responses produced by one neurotransmitter raises the possibility of multiple postsynaptic receptor-ionophore complexes. We reported previously that one glutamate analogue, 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate, reveals that the ON bipolar synaptic receptor is pharmacologically different from those of other second-order neurones8,9. The results presented here demonstrate that another glutamate analogue, D-O-phosphoserine, selectively antagonizes the synaptic responses of horizontal cells. Taken together, these findings indicate that there are three glutamate-like receptor subtypes in the outer retina and suggest a correlation between receptor subtype and the physiological properties of second-order neurones.