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Sensorimotor integration in the moving spinal cord


KeywordsTriple Keywords
Individuation (Philosophy)
Individuals (Philosophy)
Particulars (Philosophy)
Inclusion, Social
Social integration
Social inclusion
Integration, Social


There is converging evidence that mechanosensory feedback modulates the activity of spinal central pattern generators underlying vertebrate locomotion. However, probing the underlying circuits in behaving animals is not possible in “fictive” locomotion electrophysiological recordings. Here, we achieve selective and non-invasive monitoring of spinal motor and sensory neurons during active locomotion by genetically targeting the bioluminescent sensor GFP-Aequorin in larval zebrafish. Using GCaMP imaging of individual neurons, we confirm that bioluminescence signals reflect the differential recruitment of motor pools during motion. Their significant reduction in paralyzed animals and immotile mutants demonstrates that mechanosensory feedback enhances the recruitment of spinal motor neurons during active locomotion. Accordingly, we show that spinal mechanosensory neurons are recruited in moving animals and that their silencing impairs escapes in freely behaving larvae. Altogether, these results shed light on the contribution of mechanosensory feedback to motor output and the resulting differences between active and fictive locomotion.

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