Elife 11 (-) - [2022-02-01; online 2022-02-01]
Cerebrospinal fluid-contacting (CSF-c) neurons line the central canal of the spinal cord and a subtype of CSF-c neurons expressing somatostatin, forms a homeostatic pH regulating system. Despite their importance, their intricate spatial organization is poorly understood. The function of another subtype of CSF-c neurons expressing dopamine is also investigated. Imaging methods with a high spatial resolution (5-10 nm) are used to resolve the synaptic and ciliary compartments of each individual cell in the spinal cord of the lamprey to elucidate their signalling pathways and to dissect the cellular organization. Here, light-sheet and expansion microscopy resolved the persistent ventral and lateral organization of dopamine- and somatostatin-expressing CSF-c neuronal subtypes. The density of somatostatin-containing dense-core vesicles, resolved by stimulated emission depletion microscopy, was shown to be markedly reduced upon each exposure to either alkaline or acidic pH and being part of a homeostatic response inhibiting movements. Their cilia symmetry was unravelled by stimulated emission depletion microscopy in expanded tissues as sensory with 9 + 0 microtubule duplets. The dopaminergic CSF-c neurons on the other hand have a motile cilium with the characteristic 9 + 2 duplets and are insensitive to pH changes. This novel experimental workflow elucidates the functional role of CSF-c neuron subtypes in situ paving the way for further spatial and functional cell-type classification.