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Elife. 2019 Aug 14;8. pii: e46464. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46464.

Molecular and anatomical organization of the dorsal raphe nucleus.

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Department of Neurobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States.
Image and Data Analysis Core, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States.


The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) is an important source of neuromodulators and has been implicated in a wide variety of behavioral and neurological disorders. The DRN is subdivided into distinct anatomical subregions comprised of multiple cell types, and its complex cellular organization has impeded efforts to investigate the distinct circuit and behavioral functions of its subdomains. Here we used single-cell RNA sequencing, in situ hybridization, anatomical tracing, and spatial correlation analysis to map the transcriptional and spatial profiles of cells from the mouse DRN. Our analysis of 39,411 single-cell transcriptomes revealed at least 18 distinct neuron subtypes and 5 serotonergic neuron subtypes with distinct molecular and anatomical properties, including a serotonergic neuron subtype that preferentially innervates the basal ganglia. Our study lays out the molecular organization of distinct serotonergic and non-serotonergic subsystems, and will facilitate the design of strategies for further dissection of the DRN and its diverse functions.


dorsal raphe nucleus; mouse; neuromodulation; neuroscience; serotonin; single cell RNAseq

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