V3 Interneurons are Active and Recruit Spinal Motor Neurons During In Vivo Fictive Swimming in Larval Zebrafish

Wiggin, T.D., Montgomery, J.E., Brunick, A.J., Peck, J.H., Masino, M.A.
eNeuro   9(2): (Journal)
Registered Authors
Masino, Mark A., Montgomery, Jacob, Peck, Jack
Locomotion, Motor Neuron Recruitment, Spinal Interneuron, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Interneurons/physiology
  • Larva/physiology
  • Locomotion/physiology
  • Motor Neurons/physiology
  • Spinal Cord/physiology
  • Swimming*/physiology
  • Zebrafish*
35277451 Full text @ eNeuro
Survival for vertebrate animals is dependent on the ability to successfully find food, locate a mate, and avoid predation. Each of these behaviors requires motor control, which is set by a combination of kinematic properties. For example, the frequency and amplitude of motor output combine in a multiplicative manner to determine features of locomotion such as distance traveled, speed, force (thrust), and vigor. Although there is a good understanding of how different populations of excitatory spinal interneurons establish locomotor frequency, there is a less thorough mechanistic understanding for how locomotor amplitude is established. Recent evidence indicates that locomotor amplitude is regulated in part by a subset of functionally and morphologically distinct V2a excitatory spinal interneurons (type II, non-bursting) in larval and adult zebrafish. Here we provide direct evidence that most V3 interneurons (V3-INs), which are a developmentally and genetically defined population of ventromedial glutamatergic spinal neurons, are active during fictive swimming. We also show that elimination of the spinal V3-IN population reduces the proportion of active motor neurons during fictive swimming but does not alter the range of locomotor frequencies produced. These data are consistent with V3-INs providing excitatory drive to spinal motor neurons during swimming in larval zebrafish and may contribute to the production of locomotor amplitude independently of locomotor frequency.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTCurrently, there is a limited understanding about the cellular and spinal network properties that produce locomotor amplitude, defined as limb displacement in limbed animals or tail-bend in non-limbed animals during locomotion. Here we show, directly for the first time in a vertebrate, that V3 interneurons (V3-INs) in zebrafish larvae are active during in vivo fictive locomotion, and that targeted ablation of the spinal V3-IN population reduces the proportion of active motoneurons during fictive swimming. Importantly, ablation of V3-INs does not affect locomotor frequency (speed), which clarifies their role in motor control rather than rhythm generation. Thus, we propose that the V3-IN population is a source of excitation in the vertebrate locomotor neural circuitry that may participate in regulating locomotor amplitude.
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