Spinal sensory neurons project onto the hindbrain to stabilize posture and enhance locomotor speed

Wu, M.Y., Carbo-Tano, M., Mirat, O., Lejeune, F.X., Roussel, J., Quan, F.B., Fidelin, K., Wyart, C.
Current biology : CB   31(15): 3315-3329.e5 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Mirat, Olivier, Wyart, Claire
PKD2L1, cerebrospinal fluid, cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons, cranial motor neurons, hindbrain, interoception, mechanosensory feedback, posture, reticulospinal neurons, speed, spinal cord
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Motor Activity/physiology*
  • Rhombencephalon*/physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells*/physiology
  • Spinal Cord/cytology*
  • Zebrafish*
34146485 Full text @ Curr. Biol.
In the spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons (CSF-cNs) are GABAergic interoceptive sensory neurons that detect spinal curvature via a functional coupling with the Reissner fiber. This mechanosensory system has recently been found to be involved in spine morphogenesis and postural control but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. In zebrafish, CSF-cNs project an ascending and ipsilateral axon reaching two to six segments away. Rostralmost CSF-cNs send their axons ipsilaterally into the hindbrain, a brain region containing motor nuclei and reticulospinal neurons (RSNs), which send descending motor commands to spinal circuits. Until now, the synaptic connectivity of CSF-cNs has only been investigated in the spinal cord, where they synapse onto motor neurons and premotor excitatory interneurons. The identity of CSF-cN targets in the hindbrain and the behavioral relevance of these sensory projections from the spinal cord to the hindbrain are unknown. Here, we provide anatomical and molecular evidence that rostralmost CSF-cNs synapse onto the axons of large RSNs including Mauthner cells and V2a neurons. Functional anatomy and optogenetically assisted mapping reveal that rostral CSF-cNs also synapse onto the soma and dendrites of cranial motor neurons innervating hypobranchial muscles. During acousto-vestibular evoked escape responses, ablation of rostralmost CSF-cNs results in a weaker escape response with a decreased C-bend amplitude, lower speed, and deficient postural control. Our study demonstrates that spinal sensory feedback enhances speed and stabilizes posture, and reveals a novel spinal gating mechanism acting on the output of descending commands sent from the hindbrain to the spinal cord.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes