The investigation of mechanosensory feedback to locomotion has been hindered by the challenge of recording neurons in motion. Genetic accessibility and optical transparency of zebrafish larvae provide means to revisit this question. Glutamatergic Rohon-Beard (RB) and GABAergic CSF-contacting neurons (CSF-cNs) are spinal mechanosensory neurons. Recent studies combining bioluminescence, silencing and optogenetic activation show that mechanosensory neurons enhance speed and stabilize posture during locomotion. RB neurons can modulate speed by projecting onto glutamatergic premotor V2a interneurons during fast swimming, while CSF-cNs inhibit V0-v interneurons sustaining slow swimming. Sensory gating, either through inhibition of sensory interneurons (CoPA) or though the direct inhibition of primary motor neurons by CSF-cNs, mediates postural control. Advanced optical methods have shed light on the dynamics of sensorimotor integration during active locomotion unraveling implications for translational research.
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