Generation of somatic sensory neuron diversity and implications on sensory coding

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Feb;21(1):52-60. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Neurons in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are composed of a variety of sensory modalities, three of which are pain-sensing nociceptors, temperature-sensing thermoceptors, and itch-sensing pruriceptors. All these neurons are emerged from a common pool of embryonic DRG neurons that are marked by the expression of the neurotrophin receptor TrkA. Here we discuss how intrinsic transcription factors interface with target-derived signals to specify these functionally distinct sensory neurons. We will also discuss how this control mechanism provides a developmental perspective for the coding of somatic sensations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Transcription Factors