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Establishing the Molecular and Functional Diversity of Spinal Motoneurons

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Vertebrate Motoneurons

Part of the book series: Advances in Neurobiology ((NEUROBIOL,volume 28))

Abstract

Spinal motoneurons are a remarkably diverse class of neurons responsible for facilitating a broad range of motor behaviors and autonomic functions. Studies of motoneuron differentiation have provided fundamental insights into the developmental mechanisms of neuronal diversification, and have illuminated principles of neural fate specification that operate throughout the central nervous system. Because of their relative anatomical simplicity and accessibility, motoneurons have provided a tractable model system to address multiple facets of neural development, including early patterning, neuronal migration, axon guidance, and synaptic specificity. Beyond their roles in providing direct communication between central circuits and muscle, recent studies have revealed that motoneuron subtype-specific programs also play important roles in determining the central connectivity and function of motor circuits. Cross-species comparative analyses have provided novel insights into how evolutionary changes in subtype specification programs may have contributed to adaptive changes in locomotor behaviors. This chapter focusses on the gene regulatory networks governing spinal motoneuron specification, and how studies of spinal motoneurons have informed our understanding of the basic mechanisms of neuronal specification and spinal circuit assembly.

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Dasen, J.S. (2022). Establishing the Molecular and Functional Diversity of Spinal Motoneurons. In: O'Donovan, M.J., Falgairolle, M. (eds) Vertebrate Motoneurons. Advances in Neurobiology, vol 28. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-07167-6_1

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