DEEP SEQUENCING OF SOMATOSENSORY NEURONS REVEALS MOLECULAR DETERMINANTS OF INTRINSIC PHYSIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
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Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neuron subtypes defined by their in vivo properties display distinct intrinsic electrical properties. Here we used deep RNA-sequencing of genetically-labeled neurons and electrophysiological analyses to define ion channel contributions to the intrinsic electrical properties of DRG sensory neuron subtypes. The transcriptome profiles of eight DRG neuron subtypes revealed a large set of differentially expressed and functionally relevant genes, including voltage-gated ion channels. Guided by these data, electrophysiological analyses using pharmacological and genetic manipulations of sensory neuron subtypes were undertaken to assess the functions of select voltage-gated potassium channels in shaping action potential (AP) waveforms and firing patterns. Our findings indicate that the transcriptome profiles are highly predictive of ion channel contributions to sensory neuron subtype-specific intrinsic physiological properties. The distinct ensembles of voltage-gated ion channels predicted to underlie the unique intrinsic physiological properties of eight major DRG neuron subtypes are presented.