Regulation of systemic PCO2 is a life-preserving homeostatic mechanism. In the medulla oblongata, the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) and rostral medullary Raphe are proposed as CO2 chemosensory nuclei mediating adaptive respiratory changes. Hypercapnia also induces active expiration, an adaptive change thought to be controlled by the lateral parafacial region (pFL). Here we use GCaMP6 expression and head-mounted mini-microscopes to image Ca2+ activity in these nuclei in awake adult mice during hypercapnia. Activity in the pFL supports its role as a homogenous neuronal population that drives active expiration. Our data show that chemosensory responses in the RTN and Raphe differ in their temporal characteristics and sensitivity to CO2, raising the possibility these nuclei act in a coordinated way to generate adaptive ventilatory responses to hypercapnia. Our analysis revises the understanding of chemosensory control in awake adult mouse and paves the way to understanding how breathing is coordinated with complex non-ventilatory behaviours.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the MS and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Fig 3D, Fig 7I-K, Fig 1 Supplement 7, and Fig 4 Supplement 2.
- Nicholas Dale
- Nicholas Dale
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Experiments were performed in accordance with the European Commission Directive 2010/63/EU (European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes) and the United Kingdom Home Office (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986) with project approval from the University of Warwick's AWERB.
- Jeffrey C Smith, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States
© 2022, Bhandare et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Deciphering patterns of connectivity between neurons in the brain is a critical step toward understanding brain function. Imaging-based neuroanatomical tracing identifies area-to-area or sparse neuron-to-neuron connectivity patterns, but with limited throughput. Barcode-based connectomics maps large numbers of single-neuron projections, but remains a challenge for jointly analyzing single-cell transcriptomics. Here, we established a rAAV2-retro barcode-based multiplexed tracing method that simultaneously characterizes the projectome and transcriptome at the single neuron level. We uncovered dedicated and collateral projection patterns of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) neurons to five downstream targets and found that projection-defined vmPFC neurons are molecularly heterogeneous. We identified transcriptional signatures of projection-specific vmPFC neurons, and verified Pou3f1 as a marker gene enriched in neurons projecting to the lateral hypothalamus, denoting a distinct subset with collateral projections to both dorsomedial striatum and lateral hypothalamus. In summary, we have developed a new multiplexed technique whose paired connectome and gene expression data can help reveal organizational principles that form neural circuits and process information.
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