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Identification of Spinal Neurons Contributing to the Dorsal Column Projection Mediating Fine Touch and Corrective Motor Movements

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Paixao,  Sonia
Department: Molecules-Signaling-Development / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Loschek,  Laura
Department: Molecules-Signaling-Development / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Gaitanos,  Louise
Department: Molecules-Signaling-Development / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Morales,  Pilar Alcala
Department: Molecules-Signaling-Development / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Klein,  Rüdiger
Department: Molecules-Signaling-Development / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Paixao, S., Loschek, L., Gaitanos, L., Morales, P. A., Goulding, M., & Klein, R. (2019). Identification of Spinal Neurons Contributing to the Dorsal Column Projection Mediating Fine Touch and Corrective Motor Movements. NEURON, 104(4), 749-764.e6. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2019.08.029.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-5AED-C
Abstract
Tactile stimuli are integrated and processed by neuronal circuits in the deep dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Several spinal interneuron populations have been implicated in tactile information processing. However, dorsal horn projection neurons that contribute to the postsynaptic dorsal column (PSDC) pathway transmitting tactile information to the brain are poorly characterized. Here, we show that spinal neurons marked by the expression of Zic2cre(ER) mediate light touch sensitivity and textural discrimination. A subset of Zic2cre(ER) neurons are PSDC neurons that project to brainstem dorsal column nuclei, and chemogenetic activation of Zic2 PSDC neurons increases sensitivity to light touch stimuli. Zic2 neurons receive direct input from the cortex and brainstem motor nuclei and are required for corrective motor movements. These results suggest that Zic2 neurons integrate sensory input from cutaneous afferents with descending signals from the brain to promote corrective movements and transmit processed touch information back to the brain.