PubMed 23325226

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv10.1

Title: Runx1 Controls Terminal Morphology and Mechanosensitivity of VGLUT3-expressing C-Mechanoreceptors.

Authors: Shan Lou, Bo Duan, Linh Vong, Bradford B Lowell, Qiufu Ma

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2013 Jan 16 , 33, 870-82

PubMed link:

VGLUT3-expressing unmyelinated low-threshold mechanoreceptors (C-LTMRs) are proposed to mediate pleasant touch and/or pain, but the molecular programs controlling C-LTMR development are unknown. Here, we performed genetic fate mapping, showing that VGLUT3 lineage sensory neurons are divided into two groups, based on transient or persistent VGLUT3 expression. VGLUT3-transient neurons are large- or medium-diameter myelinated mechanoreceptors that form the Merkel cell-neurite complex. VGLUT3-persistent neurons are small-diameter unmyelinated neurons that are further divided into two subtypes: (1) tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive C-LTMRs that form the longitudinal lanceolate endings around hairs, and (2) TH-negative neurons that form epidermal-free nerve endings. We then found that VGLUT3-persistent neurons express the runt domain transcription factor Runx1. Analyses of mice with a conditional knock-out of Runx1 in VGLUT3 lineage neurons demonstrate that Runx1 is pivotal to the development of VGLUT3-persistent neurons, such as the expression of VGLUT3 and TH and the formation of the longitudinal lanceolate endings. Furthermore, Runx1 is required to establish mechanosensitivity in C-LTMRs, by controlling the expression of the mechanically gated ion channel Piezo2. Surprisingly, both acute and chronic mechanical pain was largely unaffected in these Runx1 mutants. These findings appear to argue against the recently proposed role of VGLUT3 in C-LTMRs in mediating mechanical hypersensitivity induced by nerve injury or inflammation. Thus, our studies provide new insight into the genetic program controlling C-LTMR development and call for a revisit for the physiological functions of C-LTMRs.