Immunocytochemical and ultrastructural organization of the taste thalamus of the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri)

Maher, Erin E.
Prillaman, McKenzie E.
Keskinoz, Elif N.
Petry, Heywood M.
Erisir, Alev
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Ventroposterior medialis parvocellularis (VPMP) nucleus of the primate thalamus receives direct input from the nucleus of the solitary tract, whereas the homologous thalamic structure in the rodent does not. To reveal whether the synaptic circuitries in these nuclei lend evidence for conservation of design principles in the taste thalamus across species or across sensory thalamus in general, we characterized the ultrastructural and molecular properties of the VPMP in a close relative of primates, the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri), and compared these to known properties of the taste thalamus in rodent, and the visual thalamus in mammals. Electron microscopy analysis to categorize the synaptic inputs in the VPMP revealed that the largest-size terminals contained many vesicles and formed large synaptic zones with thick postsynaptic density on multiple, medium-caliber dendrite segments. Some formed triads within glomerular arrangements. Smaller-sized terminals contained dark mitochondria
most formed a single asymmetric or symmetric synapse on small-diameter dendrites. Immuno-EM experiments revealed that the large-size terminals contained VGLUT2, whereas the small-size terminal populations contained VGLUT1 or ChAT. These findings provide evidence that the morphological and molecular characteristics of synaptic circuitry in the tree shrew VPMP are similar to that in nonchemical sensory thalamic nuclei. Furthermore, the results indicate that all primary sensory nuclei of the thalamus in higher mammals share a structural template for processing thalamocortical sensory information. In contrast, substantial morphological and molecular differences in rodent versus tree shrew taste nuclei suggest a fundamental divergence in cellular processing mechanisms of taste input in these two species.
Anahtar kelimeler
ChAT, electron microscopy, GAD65, GAD67, gustatory system, synaptic circuitry, ventral posteromedial parvocellular nucleus (VPMP), VGLUT1, VGLUT2
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