ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120326-21
Origin of excitation underlying locomotion in the spinal circuit of zebrafish
Eklöf-Ljunggren, E., Haupt, S., Ausborn, J., Dehnisch, I., Uhlén, P., Higashijima, S.I., and El Manira, A.
Date: 2012
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   109(14): 5511-5516 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Higashijima, Shin-ichi
Keywords: central pattern generator, premotor interneurons, motor behavior, synaptic transmission
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Interneurons/cytology*
  • Locomotion*
  • Spinal Cord/cytology
  • Spinal Cord/physiology*
  • Swimming
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 22431619 Full text @ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA

Neural circuits in the spinal cord transform instructive signals from the brain into well-coordinated locomotor movements by virtue of rhythm-generating components. Although evidence suggests that excitatory interneurons are the essence of locomotor rhythm generation, their molecular identity and the assessment of their necessity have remained unclear. Here we show, using larval zebrafish, that V2a interneurons represent an intrinsic source of excitation necessary for the normal expression of the locomotor rhythm. Acute and selective ablation of these interneurons increases the threshold of induction of swimming activity, decreases the burst frequency, and alters the coordination of the rostro–caudal propagation of activity. Thus, our results argue that V2a interneurons represent a source of excitation that endows the spinal circuit with the capacity to generate locomotion.