Premotor circuits in the brainstem project to pools of orofacial motoneurons to execute essential motor action such as licking, chewing, breathing, and in rodent, whisking. Previous transsynaptic tracing studies only mapped orofacial premotor circuits in neonatal mice, but the adult circuits remain unknown as a consequence of technical difficulties. Here we developed a three-step monosynaptic transsynaptic tracing strategy to identify premotor neurons controlling vibrissa, tongue protrusion, and jaw-closing muscles in the adult mouse. We registered these different groups of premotor neurons onto the Allen mouse brain common coordinate framework (CCF) and consequently generated a combined 3D orofacial premotor atlas, revealing unique spatial organizations of distinct premotor circuits. We further uncovered premotor neurons that simultaneously innervate multiple motor nuclei and, consequently, are likely to coordinate different muscles involved in the same orofacial motor actions. Our method for tracing adult premotor circuits and registering to Allen CCF is generally applicable and should facilitate the investigations of motor controls of diverse behaviors.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- David Kleinfeld
- Fan Wang
- Fan Wang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animal experimentation: All experiments were conducted according to protocols approved by the Duke University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol (# A143-18-06).
- Alexander Theodore Chesler, National Institutes of Health, United States
- Received: February 6, 2021
- Accepted: April 26, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 27, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Takatoh et al.
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