The Purinergic Receptor P2rx3 is Required for Spiral Ganglion Neuron Branch Refinement during Development
Zhirong Wang, Johnny S. Jung, Talya C. Inbar, Katherine M. Rangoussis, Christian Faaborg-Andersen,
and Thomas M. Coate
Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007
P2rx3 receptors are a class of ionotropic purinergic receptors that are expressed in sensory afferent neurons and have been shown to play essential roles in sensory transduction. However, little is known about how P2rx3 functions in neuronal morphogenesis and synaptic connectivity. Here, we found that P2rx3 is expressed by spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) and hair cells during cochlear development. Using P2rx3 null mice combined with genetic sparse labeling, we discovered P2rx3 regulates SGN branch refinement, which is a function of P2rx3 distinguishable from the more conventionally-known role in neural transduction. These results offer new insights into how P2rx3 promotes auditory neuron maturation, which may be useful for endeavors aimed at regenerating lost auditory connections in hearing loss.