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Organization of Midbrain Serotonin System

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Dervila Glynn.

Theme: Neurons, Circuits & Networks

The serotonin system is the most frequently targeted neural system pharmacologically for treating psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety. Serotonin neurons of the dorsal and median raphe nuclei (DR, MR) collectively innervate the entire forebrain and midbrain, modulating diverse physiology and behaviour. By using viral-genetic methods, we found that DR serotonin system contains parallel sub-systems that differ in input and output connectivity, physiological response properties, and behavioural functions. To gain a fundamental understanding of the molecular heterogeneity of DR and MR, we used single-cell RNA - sequencing (scRNA-seq) to generate a comprehensive dataset comprising eleven transcriptomically distinct serotonin neuron clusters. We generated novel intersectional viral-genetic tools to access specific subpopulations. Whole-brain axonal projection mapping revealed that the molecular features of these distinct serotonin groups reflect their anatomical organization and provide tools for future exploration of the full projection map of molecularly defined serotonin groups. The molecular architecture of serotonin system lays the foundation for integrating anatomical, neurochemical, physiological, and behavioural functions.

Biography Jing pursued her Ph.D under the supervision of Dr. Minmin Luo, at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS). After that, she did postdoctoral research in Dr. Liqun Luo’s lab at Stanford University and started the journey of investigating the serotonin system. Jing became a junior group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in January 2020. Currently her team is working on revealing the developmental assembly of the serotonin system.

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