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Temporal single-cell transcriptomic analysis of the sox1a:eGFP transgenic line identified the lateral floor plate progenitor cells as the origin of intraspinal serotonergic neurons

Chen F, Köhler M, Cucun G, Takamiya M, Kizil C, Cosacak MI, Rastegar S
bioRxiv. 2023;[preprint] doi:10.1101/2023.03.01.530240
The Sox family of transcription factors plays a crucial role in the development of the vertebrate nervous system. In the zebrafish embryo, sox1 genes are expressed in neural progenitor cells and neurons of the ventral spinal cord. We recently reported that the loss of function of sox1a and sox1b leads to a significant decline in a subtype of V2 neurons, called V2s, in zebrafish. Here, a single-cell RNA sequencing approach was used to analyse the transcriptome of sox1a lineage progenitors and neurons in the zebrafish spinal cord at four different time points during the first five days of embryonic development, using the Tg(sox1a:eGFP) line. In addition to the previously described sox1a-expressing neurons, we found that sox1a is also expressed in late-developing intraspinal serotonergic neurons (ISNs). Analysis of developmental trajectories from single-cell data and depletion of lateral floor plate (LFP) cells by nkx2.9 morpholino knockdown suggest that ISNs arise from LFP precursor cells. Pharmacological inhibition of the Notch signalling pathway indicates that this pathway is required for the negative regulation of the development of LFP progenitor cells into ISN populations. Our results show that the zebrafish LFP is a precursor domain that longitudinally gives rise to ISNs in addition to the previously described KA” and V3 interneurons.
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