March 2, 2021

Whole-animal connectome and cell-type complement of the three-segmented Platynereis dumerilii larva

Nervous systems coordinate effectors across the body during movements. We know little about the cellular-level structure of synaptic circuits for such body-wide control. Here we describe the whole-body synaptic connectome and cell-type complement of a three-segmented larva of the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii. We reconstructed and annotated over 1,500 neurons and 6,500 non-neuronal cells in a whole-body serial electron microscopy dataset. The differentiated cells fall into 180 neuronal and 90 non-neuronal cell types. We analyse the modular network architecture of the entire nervous system and describe polysynaptic pathways from 428 sensory neurons to four effector systems – ciliated cells, glands, pigment cells and muscles. The complete somatic musculature and its innervation will be described in a companion paper. We also investigated intersegmental differences in cell-type complement, descending and ascending pathways, and mechanosensory and peptidergic circuits. Our work provides the basis for understanding whole-body coordination in annelids.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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