ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-181003-16
Adult spinal motoneurons change their neurotransmitter phenotype to control locomotion
Bertuzzi, M., Chang, W., Ampatzis, K.
Date: 2018
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   115(42): E9926-E9933 (Journal)
Registered Authors:
Keywords: exercise, injury, motoneurons, neuromuscular junction, zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Glutamic Acid/metabolism*
  • Locomotion*
  • Motor Neurons/cytology
  • Motor Neurons/physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction/physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents/metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Spinal Cord Injuries/physiopathology*
  • Synapses/physiology*
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 30275331 Full text @ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
A particularly essential determinant of a neuron's functionality is its neurotransmitter phenotype. While the prevailing view is that neurotransmitter phenotypes are fixed and determined early during development, a growing body of evidence suggests that neurons retain the ability to switch between different neurotransmitters. However, such changes are considered unlikely in motoneurons due to their crucial functional role in animals' behavior. Here we describe the expression and dynamics of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the adult zebrafish spinal motoneuron circuit assembly. We demonstrate that part of the fast motoneurons retain the ability to switch their neurotransmitter phenotype under physiological (exercise/training) and pathophysiological (spinal cord injury) conditions to corelease glutamate in the neuromuscular junctions to enhance animals' motor output. Our findings suggest that motoneuron neurotransmitter switching is an important plasticity-bestowing mechanism in the reconfiguration of spinal circuits that control movements.