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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jan 18;108(3):1164-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012185108. Epub 2011 Jan 3.

A structural and functional ground plan for neurons in the hindbrain of zebrafish.

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Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The vertebrate hindbrain contains various sensory-motor networks controlling movements of the eyes, jaw, head, and body. Here we show that stripes of neurons with shared neurotransmitter phenotype that extend throughout the hindbrain of young zebrafish reflect a broad underlying structural and functional patterning. The neurotransmitter stripes contain cell types with shared gross morphologies and transcription factor markers. Neurons within a stripe are stacked systematically by extent and location of axonal projections, input resistance, and age, and are recruited along the axis of the stripe during behavior. The implication of this pattern is that the many networks in hindbrain are constructed from a series of neuronal components organized into stripes that are ordered from top to bottom according to a neuron's age, structural and functional properties, and behavioral roles. This simple organization probably forms a foundation for the construction of the networks underlying the many behaviors produced by the hindbrain.

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