Somatosensory neuron types identified by high-coverage single-cell RNA-sequencing and functional heterogeneity.

Research paper by Chang-Lin CL Li, Kai-Cheng KC Li, Dan D Wu, Yan Y Chen, Hao H Luo, Jing-Rong JR Zhao, Sa-Shuang SS Wang, Ming-Ming MM Sun, Ying-Jin YJ Lu, Yan-Qing YQ Zhong, Xu-Ye XY Hu, Rui R Hou, Bei-Bei BB Zhou, Lan L Bao, Hua-Sheng HS Xiao, et al.

Indexed on: 23 Dec '15Published on: 23 Dec '15Published in: Cell Research


Sensory neurons are distinguished by distinct signaling networks and receptive characteristics. Thus, sensory neuron types can be defined by linking transcriptome-based neuron typing with the sensory phenotypes. Here we classify somatosensory neurons of the mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) by high-coverage single-cell RNA-sequencing (10 950 ± 1 218 genes per neuron) and neuron size-based hierarchical clustering. Moreover, single DRG neurons responding to cutaneous stimuli are recorded using an in vivo whole-cell patch clamp technique and classified by neuron-type genetic markers. Small diameter DRG neurons are classified into one type of low-threshold mechanoreceptor and five types of mechanoheat nociceptors (MHNs). Each of the MHN types is further categorized into two subtypes. Large DRG neurons are categorized into four types, including neurexophilin 1-expressing MHNs and mechanical nociceptors (MNs) expressing BAI1-associated protein 2-like 1 (Baiap2l1). Mechanoreceptors expressing trafficking protein particle complex 3-like and Baiap2l1-marked MNs are subdivided into two subtypes each. These results provide a new system for cataloging somatosensory neurons and their transcriptome databases.