Spinal neurons require Islet1 for subtype-specific differentiation of electrical excitability

Moreno, R.L., Ribera, A.B.
Neural Development   9: 19 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Ribera, Angie
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Interneurons/metabolism
  • Interneurons/physiology
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins/genetics
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins/physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Motor Neurons/metabolism
  • Motor Neurons/physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells/metabolism
  • Sensory Receptor Cells/physiology*
  • Spinal Cord/embryology*
  • Spinal Cord/metabolism
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Transcription Factors/physiology*
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
  • Zebrafish Proteins/physiology*
25149090 Full text @ Neural Dev.
In the spinal cord, stereotypic patterns of transcription factor expression uniquely identify neuronal subtypes. These transcription factors function combinatorially to regulate gene expression. Consequently, a single transcription factor may regulate divergent development programs by participation in different combinatorial codes. One such factor, the LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Islet1, is expressed in the vertebrate spinal cord. In mouse, chick and zebrafish, motor and sensory neurons require Islet1 for specification of biochemical and morphological signatures. Little is known, however, about the role that Islet1 might play for development of electrical membrane properties in vertebrates. Here we test for a role of Islet1 in differentiation of excitable membrane properties of zebrafish spinal neurons.
We focus our studies on the role of Islet1 in two populations of early born zebrafish spinal neurons: ventral caudal primary motor neurons (CaPs) and dorsal sensory Rohon-Beard cells (RBs). We take advantage of transgenic lines that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) to identify CaPs, RBs and several classes of interneurons for electrophysiological study. Upon knock-down of Islet1, cells occupying CaP-like and RB-like positions continue to express GFP. With respect to voltage-dependent currents, CaP-like and RB-like neurons have novel repertoires that distinguish them from control CaPs and RBs, and, in some respects, resemble those of neighboring interneurons. The action potentials fired by CaP-like and RB-like neurons also have significantly different properties compared to those elicited from control CaPs and RBs.
Overall, our findings suggest that, for both ventral motor and dorsal sensory neurons, Islet1 directs differentiation programs that ultimately specify electrical membrane as well as morphological properties that act together to sculpt neuron identity.
Genes / Markers
Mutation and Transgenics
Human Disease / Model Data
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes
Errata and Notes