Glutamatergic hilar mossy cells (MCs) have axons that terminate both near and far from their cell body but stay within the DG, making synapses in the inner molecular layer primarily. The long-range axons are considered the primary projection, and extend throughout the DG ipsilateral to the soma, and project to the contralateral DG. The specificity of long-range MC axons for the inner molecular layer (IML) has been considered to be a key characteristic of the DG. In the present study we made the surprising finding that dorsal MC axons are an exception to this rule. We used two mouse lines that allow for Cre-dependent viral labeling of MCs and their axons: dopamine receptor d2 (Drd2-Cre) and calcitonin receptor-like receptor (Crlr-Cre). A single viral injection into the dorsal DG to label dorsal MCs resulted in labeling of MC axons in both the IML and middle molecular layer (MML). Interestingly, this broad termination of MC axons applied to all long-range axons. In contrast, long-range axons of ventral MCs mainly terminated in the IML, consistent with the literature. Taken together, these results suggest that dorsal and ventral MCs differ significantly in their axonal projections, and the difference is primarily in their long-range projections. Since those projections are thought to terminate primarily on GCs, the results suggest a dorsal-ventral difference in MC activation of GCs. The surprising difference in dorsal and ventral MC projections should therefore be considered when evaluating dorsal-ventral differences in DG function.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience