Commissural inhibitory neurons in the spinal cord of aquatic vertebrates coordinate left-right body alternation during swimming. Their developmental origin, however, has been elusive. We investigate this by comparing the anatomy and function of two commissural inhibitory neuron types, dI6dmrt3a and V0d, derived from the pd6 and p0 progenitor domains, respectively. We find that both of these commissural neuron types have monosynaptic, inhibitory connections to neuronal populations active during fictive swimming, supporting their role in providing inhibition to the contralateral side. V0d neurons tend to fire during faster and stronger movements, while dI6dmrt3a neurons tend to fire more consistently during normal fictive swimming. Ablation of dI6dmrt3a neurons leads to an impairment of left-right alternating activity through abnormal co-activation of ventral root neurons on both sides of the spinal cord. Our results suggest that dI6dmrt3a and V0d commissural inhibitory neurons synergistically provide inhibition to the opposite side across different swimming behaviors.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.