Deep Sequencing of Somatosensory Neurons Reveals Molecular Determinants of Intrinsic Physiological Properties

Yang Zheng, Pin Liu, Ling Bai, James Trimmer, Bruce P. Bean, David D. Ginty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neuron subtypes defined by their in vivo properties display distinct intrinsic electrical properties. We used bulk RNA sequencing of genetically labeled neurons and electrophysiological analyses to define ion channel contributions to the intrinsic electrical properties of DRG neuron subtypes. The transcriptome profiles of eight DRG neuron subtypes revealed differentially expressed and functionally relevant genes, including voltage-gated ion channels. Guided by these data, electrophysiological analyses using pharmacological and genetic manipulations as well as computational modeling of DRG neuron subtypes were undertaken to assess the functions of select voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv1, Kv2, Kv3, and Kv4) in shaping action potential (AP) waveforms and firing patterns. Our findings show that the transcriptome profiles have predictive value for defining 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 DRG neuron subtypes are presented. Zheng et al. defined distinct intrinsic physiological properties and transcriptome profiles of eight somatosensory neuron subtypes and further revealed subtype-specific contributions of differentially expressed potassium channels to the intrinsic membrane properties in these sensory neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-616.e7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 21 2019


  • DRG
  • genetic labeling
  • intrinsic membrane properties
  • mechanosensory neuron
  • RNA sequencing
  • somatosensation
  • transcriptome profile
  • voltage-gated ion channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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