At 11 p.m. Beijing time on May 11, a research paper entitled "transcriptomic mapping uncovers Purkinje neuron plasticity driving learning" was published online in Nature jointly by the research team headed by Professor ZHANG Xiaoqing with School of Medicine and Oriental Hospital, Tongji University, the research group headed by Professor Azad Bonni of School of medicine, University of Washington and the research group headed by Professor Samuel Wang of Princeton University. They developed an analytical method for neuronal functional diversity and discovered key neurons associated with learning and memory.
Paper by the research teams in Science
The nervous system is determined by neurons in their diverse forms and their complex neural circuits. The diversity of neurons is manifested in their various types and functions. In this study, the researchers established the INTACT – FACS – snRNA seq method for analysis of the diversity of neuronal functions (Fig. 1a). Purkinje neuron is the most complex and oldest neuron, which is related to associative motor learning. The researchers labeled and enriched Purkinje neuron nuclei, sequenced the single nuclear transcriptome and correlated animal learning behavior. Through analysis of the molecular typing of Purkinje neurons (Fig. 1b), it was found that Plcb4 + Purkinje neurons have unique functional plasticity, with significant Fgfr2 MAPK signal activation and gene expression remodeling during association learning (Fig. 1c). Through the intervention of photogenetics on the activity of Plcb4 + Purkinje neurons and the conditional knockout of Fgfr2 in Plcb4 + Purkinje neurons by CRISPR technology, the association learning of mice was significantly impaired.
The INTACT–FACS–snRNA-seq method and discovery of plasticity Plcb4 + Purkinje neurons
According to experts in this field, this study not only discovered an approach for research on neuronal functional diversity in neuroscience, but provides a theoretical basis to understand the molecular and cellular mechanism of associative learning and related diseases.
The authors of this paper are Dr. CHEN Xiaoying of School of Medicine, University of Washington, Dr. Du Yanhua of Tongji University and Dr. Gerard Joey Broussard of Princeton University while Professor Azad Bonni of the University of Washington School of medicine, Professor ZHANG Xiaoqing of Tongji University and Professor Samuel Wang of Princeton University the corresponding authors. It is worth mentioning that Dr. Chen Xiaoying, the first author, received his PhD degree from Tongji University in 2016.