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ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-200728-3
Neuronal circuits that control rhythmic pectoral fin movements in zebrafish
Uemura, Y., Kato, K., Kawakami, K., Kimura, Y., Oda, Y., Higashijima, S.I.
Date: 2020
Source: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience   40(35): 6678-6690 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Higashijima, Shin-ichi, Kawakami, Koichi, Oda, Yoichi
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animal Fins/innervation
  • Animal Fins/physiology*
  • Animals
  • Central Pattern Generators/metabolism
  • Central Pattern Generators/physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism
  • Motor Neurons/metabolism
  • Motor Neurons/physiology*
  • Movement*
  • Periodicity
  • Transcription Factors/metabolism
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
PubMed: 32703904 Full text @ J. Neurosci.
ABSTRACT
The most basic form of locomotion in limbed vertebrates consists of alternating activities of the flexor and extensor muscles within each limb coupled with left/right limb alternation. Although larval zebrafish are not limbed, their pectoral fin movements exhibit fundamental aspects of this basic movement: abductor/adductor alternation (corresponding to flexor/extensor alternation) and left/right fin alternation. Due to the simplicity of their movements and the compact neural organization of their spinal cords, zebrafish can serve as a good model to identify the neuronal networks of the central pattern generator (CPG) that controls rhythmic appendage movements. Here, we set out to investigate neuronal circuits underlying rhythmic pectoral fin movements in larval zebrafish, utilizing transgenic fish that specifically express GFP in abductor or adductor motor neurons (MNs) and candidate CPG neurons. First, we showed that spiking activities of abductor and adductor MNs were essentially alternating. Second, both abductor and adductor MNs received rhythmic excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs in their active and inactive phases, respectively, indicating that the MN spiking activities are controlled in a push-pull manner. Further, we obtained evidence that dmrt3a-expressing commissural inhibitory neurons are involved in regulating the activities of abductor MNs: (1) strong inhibitory synaptic connections were found from dmrt3a neurons to abductor MNs, and (2) ablation of dmrt3a neurons shifted the spike timing of abductor MNs. Thus, in this simple system of abductor/adductor alternation, the last-order inhibitory inputs originating from the contralaterally-located neurons play an important role in controlling the firing timings of MNs.Significance StatementsPectoral fin movements in larval zebrafish exhibit fundamental aspects of basic rhythmic appendage movement: alternation of the abductor and adductor (corresponding to flexor-extensor alternation) coupled with left-right alternation. We set out to investigate the neuronal circuits underlying rhythmic pectoral fin movements in larval zebrafish. We showed that both abductor and adductor MNs received rhythmic excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs in their active and inactive phases, respectively. This indicates that MN activities are controlled in a push-pull manner. We further obtained evidence that dmrt3a-expressing commissural inhibitory neurons exert an inhibitory effect on abductor MNs. The current study marks the first step toward the identification of CPG organization for rhythmic fin movements.
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