del Pozo Cano A, Manuel R, Iglesias Gonzalez AB, Koning H, Habicher J, Zhang H, Allalou A, Kullander K, Boije H
eNeuro 7 (3) ENEURO.0047-20.2020 [2020-05-01; online 2020-05-01]
Vertebrate locomotion is orchestrated by spinal interneurons making up a central pattern generator. Proper coordination of activity, both within and between segments, is required to generate the desired locomotor output. This coordination is altered during acceleration to ensure the correct recruitment of muscles for the chosen speed. The transcription factor Dmrt3 has been proposed to shape the patterned output at different gaits in horses and mice. Here, we characterized dmrt3a mutant zebrafish, which showed a strong, transient, locomotor phenotype in developing larvae. During beat-and-glide swimming, mutant larvae showed fewer and shorter movements with decreased velocity and acceleration. Developmental compensation likely occurs as the analyzed behaviors did not differ from wild-type at older larval stages. However, analysis of maximum swim speed in juveniles suggests that some defects persist within the mature locomotor network of dmrt3a mutants. Our results reveal the pivotal role Dmrt3 neurons play in shaping the patterned output during acceleration in vertebrates.
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