Neurobiology

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  • Article
    Na V 1.1 is essential for proprioceptive signaling and motor behaviors
    (eLife Sciences Publications, 2022-10-24) Espino, Cyrrus M. ; Lewis, Cheyanne M. ; Ortiz, Serena ; Dalal, Miloni S. ; Garlapalli, Snigdha ; Wells, Kaylee M. ; O'Neil, Darik A. ; Wilkinson, Katherine A. ; Griffith, Theanne N.
    The voltage-gated sodium channel (Na), Na 1.1, is well-studied in the central nervous system; conversely, its contribution to peripheral sensory neuron function is more enigmatic. Here, we identify a new role for Na 1.1 in mammalian proprioception. RNAscope analysis and in vitro patch-clamp recordings in genetically identified mouse proprioceptors show ubiquitous channel expression and significant contributions to intrinsic excitability. Notably, genetic deletion of Na 1.1 in sensory neurons caused profound and visible motor coordination deficits in conditional knockout mice of both sexes, similar to conditional Piezo2-knockout animals, suggesting that this channel is a major contributor to sensory proprioceptive transmission. Ex vivo muscle afferent recordings from conditional knockout mice found that loss of Na 1.1 leads to inconsistent and unreliable proprioceptor firing characterized by action potential failures during static muscle stretch; conversely, afferent responses to dynamic vibrations were unaffected. This suggests that while a combination of Piezo2 and other Na isoforms is sufficient to elicit activity in response to transient stimuli, Na 1.1 is required for transmission of receptor potentials generated during sustained muscle stretch. Impressively, recordings from afferents of heterozygous conditional knockout animals were similarly impaired, and heterozygous conditional knockout mice also exhibited motor behavioral deficits. Thus, Na 1.1 haploinsufficiency in sensory neurons impairs both proprioceptor function and motor behaviors. Importantly, human patients harboring Na 1.1 loss-of-function mutations often present with motor delays and ataxia; therefore, our data suggest that sensory neuron dysfunction contributes to the clinical manifestations of neurological disorders in which Na 1.1 function is compromised. Collectively, we present the first evidence that Na 1.1 is essential for mammalian proprioceptive signaling and behaviors.
  • Article
    Tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium channels mediate action potential firing and excitability in menthol-sensitive Vglut3-lineage sensory neurons
    (Society for Neuroscience, 2019-09-04) Griffith, Theanne N. ; Docter, Trevor A. ; Lumpkin, Ellen A.
    Small-diameter vesicular glutamate transporter 3-lineage (Vglut3lineage) dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons play an important role in mechanosensation and thermal hypersensitivity; however, little is known about their intrinsic electrical properties. We therefore set out to investigate mechanisms of excitability within this population. Calcium microfluorimetry analysis of male and female mouse DRG neurons demonstrated that the cooling compound menthol selectively activates a subset of Vglut3lineage neurons. Whole-cell recordings showed that small-diameter Vglut3lineage DRG neurons fire menthol-evoked action potentials and exhibited robust, transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8)-dependent discharges at room temperature. This heightened excitability was confirmed by current-clamp and action potential phase-plot analyses, which showed menthol-sensitive Vglut3lineage neurons to have more depolarized membrane potentials, lower firing thresholds, and higher evoked firing frequencies compared with menthol-insensitive Vglut3lineage neurons. A biophysical analysis revealed voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV) currents in menthol-sensitive Vglut3lineage neurons were resistant to entry into slow inactivation compared with menthol-insensitive neurons. Multiplex in situ hybridization showed similar distributions of tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive NaV transcripts between TRPM8-positive and -negative Vglut3lineage neurons; however, NaV1.8 transcripts, which encode TTX-resistant channels, were more prevalent in TRPM8-negative neurons. Conversely, pharmacological analyses identified distinct functional contributions of NaV subunits, with NaV1.1 driving firing in menthol-sensitive neurons, whereas other small-diameter Vglut3lineage neurons rely primarily on TTX-resistant NaV channels. Additionally, when NaV1.1 channels were blocked, the remaining NaV current readily entered into slow inactivation in menthol-sensitive Vglut3lineage neurons. Thus, these data demonstrate that TTX-sensitive NaVs drive action potential firing in menthol-sensitive sensory neurons and contribute to their heightened excitability.
  • Article
    The signaling lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate regulates mechanical pain
    (eLife, 2018-03-21) Hill, Rose Z. ; Hoffman, Benjamin U. ; Morita, Takeshi ; Campos, Stephanie M. ; Lumpkin, Ellen A. ; Brem, Rachel B. ; Bautista, Diana M.
    Somatosensory neurons mediate responses to diverse mechanical stimuli, from innocuous touch to noxious pain. While recent studies have identified distinct populations of A mechanonociceptors (AMs) that are required for mechanical pain, the molecular underpinnings of mechanonociception remain unknown. Here, we show that the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and S1P Receptor 3 (S1PR3) are critical regulators of acute mechanonociception. Genetic or pharmacological ablation of S1PR3, or blockade of S1P production, significantly impaired the behavioral response to noxious mechanical stimuli, with no effect on responses to innocuous touch or thermal stimuli. These effects are mediated by fast-conducting A mechanonociceptors, which displayed a significant decrease in mechanosensitivity in S1PR3 mutant mice. We show that S1PR3 signaling tunes mechanonociceptor excitability via modulation of KCNQ2/3 channels. Our findings define a new role for S1PR3 in regulating neuronal excitability and establish the importance of S1P/S1PR3 signaling in the setting of mechanical pain thresholds.
  • Article
    Hyperpolarization-activated currents and subthreshold resonance in granule cells of the olfactory bulb
    (Society for Neuroscience, 2016-10-27) Hu, Ruilong ; Ferguson, Katie A. ; Whiteus, Christina ; Meijer, Dimphna H. ; Araneda, Ricardo C.
    An important contribution to neural circuit oscillatory dynamics is the ongoing activation and inactivation of hyperpolarization-activated currents (Ih). Network synchrony dynamics play an important role in the initial processing of odor signals by the main olfactory bulb (MOB) and accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). In the mouse olfactory bulb, we show that Ih is present in granule cells (GCs), the most prominent inhibitory neuron in the olfactory bulb, and that Ih underlies subthreshold resonance in GCs. In accord with the properties of Ih, the currents exhibited sensitivity to changes in extracellular K concentration and ZD7288 (4-ethylphenylamino-1,2-dimethyl-6-methylaminopyrimidin chloride), a blocker of Ih. ZD7288 also caused GCs to hyperpolarize and increase their input resistance, suggesting that Ih is active at rest in GCs. The inclusion of cAMP in the intracellular solution shifted the activation of Ih to less negative potentials in the MOB, but not in the AOB, suggesting that channels with different subunit composition mediate Ih in these regions. Furthermore, we show that mature GCs exhibit Ih-dependent subthreshold resonance in the theta frequency range (4–12 Hz). Another inhibitory subtype in the MOB, the periglomerular cells, exhibited Ih-dependent subthreshold resonance in the delta range (1–4 Hz), while principal neurons, the mitral cells, do not exhibit Ih-dependent subthreshold resonance. Importantly, Ih size, as well as the strength and frequency of resonance in GCs, exhibited a postnatal developmental progression, suggesting that this development of Ih in GCs may differentially contribute to their integration of sensory input and contribution to oscillatory circuit dynamics.