Integrated Morphoelectric and Transcriptomic Classification of Cortical GABAergic Cells

Cell. 2020 Nov 12;183(4):935-953.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.057.


Neurons are frequently classified into distinct types on the basis of structural, physiological, or genetic attributes. To better constrain the definition of neuronal cell types, we characterized the transcriptomes and intrinsic physiological properties of over 4,200 mouse visual cortical GABAergic interneurons and reconstructed the local morphologies of 517 of those neurons. We find that most transcriptomic types (t-types) occupy specific laminar positions within visual cortex, and, for most types, the cells mapping to a t-type exhibit consistent electrophysiological and morphological properties. These properties display both discrete and continuous variation among t-types. Through multimodal integrated analysis, we define 28 met-types that have congruent morphological, electrophysiological, and transcriptomic properties and robust mutual predictability. We identify layer-specific axon innervation pattern as a defining feature distinguishing different met-types. These met-types represent a unified definition of cortical GABAergic interneuron types, providing a systematic framework to capture existing knowledge and bridge future analyses across different modalities.

Keywords: GABAergic interneurons; Patch-seq; multimodal; neuronal cell type; parvalbumin; somatostatin; taxonomy; transcriptomics; visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena*
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / cytology*
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • Ion Channels
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins