In vivo evidence for transdifferentiation of peripheral neurons

Melissa A. Wright, Weike Mo, Teresa Nicolson, Angeles B. Ribera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


It is commonly thought that differentiated neurons do not give rise to new cells, severely limiting the potential for regeneration and repair of the mature nervous system. However, we have identified cells in zebrafish larvae that first differentiate into dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons but later acquire a sympathetic neuron phenotype. These transdifferentiating neurons are present in wild-type zebrafish. However, they are increased in number in larvae that have a mutant voltage-gated sodium channel gene, scn8aa. Sodium channel knock-down promotes migration of differentiated sensory neurons away from the ganglia. Once in a new environment, sensory neurons transdifferentiate regardless of sodium channel expression. These findings reveal an unsuspected plasticity in differentiated neurons that points to new strategies for treatment of nervous system disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3047-3056
Number of pages10
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dorsal root ganglia neurons
  • Nav1.6
  • Transdifferentiation
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo evidence for transdifferentiation of peripheral neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this