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Distinct limb and trunk premotor circuits establish laterality in the spinal cord.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Goetz Cyrill, Pivetta Chiara, Arber Silvia,
Project Entwicklung und Funktion von motorischen Netzwerken
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Neuron
Volume (Issue) 85(1)
Page(s) 131 - 144
Title of proceedings Neuron
DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.11.024


Movement coordination between opposite body sides relies on neuronal circuits capable of controlling muscle contractions according to motor commands. Trunk and limb muscles engage in distinctly lateralized behaviors, yet how regulatory spinal circuitry differs is less clear. Here, we intersect virus technology and mouse genetics to unravel striking distribution differences of interneurons connected to functionally distinct motor neurons. We find that premotor interneurons conveying information to axial motor neurons reside in symmetrically balanced locations while mostly ipsilateral premotor interneurons synapse with limb-innervating motor neurons, especially those innervating more distal muscles. We show that observed distribution differences reflect specific premotor interneuron subpopulations defined by genetic and neurotransmitter identity. Synaptic input across the midline reaches axial motor neurons preferentially through commissural axon arborization, and to a lesser extent, through midline-crossing dendrites capturing contralateral synaptic input. Together, our findings provide insight into principles of circuit organization underlying weighted lateralization of movement.