Gerber, V., Yang, L., Takamiya, M., Ribes, V., Gourain, V., Peravali, R., Stegmaier, J., Mikut, R., Reischl, M., Ferg, M., Rastegar, S., Strähle, U. (2019) The HMG box transcription factors Sox1a and b specify a new class of glycinergic interneurons in the spinal cord of zebrafish embryos. Development (Cambridge, England). 146(4):.
Specification of neurons in the spinal cord relies on extrinsic and intrinsic signals, which in turn are interpreted by expression of transcription factors. V2 interneurons develop from the ventral aspects of the spinal cord. We report here a novel neuronal V2 subtype, named V2s, in zebrafish embryos. Formation of these neurons depends on the transcription factors sox1a and sox1b. They develop from common gata2a/gata3 dependent precursors co-expressing markers of V2b and V2s interneurons. Chemical blockage of Notch signaling causes a decrease of V2s and an increase of V2b cells. Our results are consistent with the existence of at least two types of precursors arranged in a hierarchical manner in the V2 domain. V2s neurons grow long ipsilateral descending axonal projections with a short branch at the ventral midline. They acquire a glycinergic neurotransmitter type during the second day of development. Unilateral ablation of V2s interneurons causes a delay in touch-provoked escape behavior suggesting that V2s interneurons are involved in fast motor responses.