Some principles of organization of spinal neurons underlying locomotion in zebrafish and their implications

Joseph R. Fetcho, David L. McLean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

94 Scopus citations


Recent studies of the spinal motor system of zebrafish, along with work in other species, are leading to some principles that appear to underlie the organization and recruitment of motor networks in cord: (1) broad neuronal classes defined by a set of transcription factors, key morphological features, and transmitter phenotypes arise in an orderly way from different dorso-ventral zones in spinal cord; (2) motor behaviors and both motoneurons and interneurons differentiate in order from gross, often faster, movements and the neurons driving them to progressively slower movements and their underlying neurons; (3) recruitment order of motoneurons and interneurons is based upon time of differentiation; (4) different locomotor speeds involve some shifts in the set of active interneurons. Here we review these principles and some of their implications for other parts of the brain, other vertebrates, and limbed locomotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurons and Networks in the Spinal Cord
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781573317788
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • locomotion
  • motoneurons
  • motor pattern
  • spinal interneurons
  • transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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