The Formin Fmn2b Is Required for the Development of an Excitatory Interneuron Module in the Zebrafish Acoustic Startle Circuit

Nagar, D., James, T.K., Mishra, R., Guha, S., Burgess, S.M., Ghose, A.
eNeuro   8(4): (Journal)
Registered Authors
Burgess, Shawn
Fmn2, Mauthner cell, acoustic startle, neurodevelopment, spiral fiber neuron, zebrafish
MeSH Terms
  • Acoustics
  • Animals
  • Formins*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons
  • Reflex, Startle*
  • Zebrafish*
  • Zebrafish Proteins*
34193512 Full text @ eNeuro
The formin family member Fmn2 is a neuronally enriched cytoskeletal remodeling protein conserved across vertebrates. Recent studies have implicated Fmn2 in neurodevelopmental disorders, including sensory processing dysfunction and intellectual disability in humans. Cellular characterization of Fmn2 in primary neuronal cultures has identified its function in the regulation of cell-substrate adhesion and consequently growth cone translocation. However, the role of Fmn2 in the development of neural circuits in vivo, and its impact on associated behaviors have not been tested. Using automated analysis of behavior and systematic investigation of the associated circuitry, we uncover the role of Fmn2b in zebrafish neural circuit development. As reported in other vertebrates, the zebrafish ortholog of Fmn2 is also enriched in the developing zebrafish nervous system. We find that Fmn2b is required for the development of an excitatory interneuron pathway, the spiral fiber neuron, which is an essential circuit component in the regulation of the Mauthner cell (M-cell)-mediated acoustic startle response. Consistent with the loss of the spiral fiber neurons tracts, high-speed video recording revealed a reduction in the short latency escape events while responsiveness to the stimuli was unaffected. Taken together, this study provides evidence for a circuit-specific requirement of Fmn2b in eliciting an essential behavior in zebrafish. Our findings underscore the importance of Fmn2 in neural development across vertebrate lineages and highlight zebrafish models in understanding neurodevelopmental disorders.Significance StatementFmn2 is a neuronally enriched cytoskeletal remodeling protein linked to neurodevelopment and cognitive disorders in humans. Recent reports have characterized its function in growth cone motility and chemotaxis in cultured primary neurons. However, the role of Fmn2 in the development of neural circuits in vivo and its implications in associated behaviors remain unexplored. This study shows that Fmn2b is required for the development of neuronal processes in the acoustic startle circuit to ensure robust escape responses to aversive stimuli in zebrafish. Our study underscores the crucial role of the non-diaphanous formin, Fmn2b, in establishing neuronal connectivity and related behavior in zebrafish.
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