Cadherin-8 is required for the first relay synapses to receive functional inputs from primary sensory afferents for cold sensation.

Academic Article


  • Classic cadherins, comprising multiple subtypes, mediate selective cell-cell adhesion based on their subtype-specific binding nature. Each subtype in the brain is expressed by restricted groups of functionally connected nuclei and laminas. However, whether each subtype has any specific role in neural circuitry remains largely unknown. Here, we show that cadherin-8 (cad8), a type-II classic cadherin, is important for cold sensation, whose circuitry is established by projection of sensory neurons into the spinal cord. Cad8 was expressed by a subset of neurons in the dorsal horn (DH) of the spinal cord, as well as by a small number of neurons in the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), and the majority of cad8-positive DRG neurons coexpressed cold temperature/menthol receptor (TRPM8). We generated cad8 knock-out mice and analyzed lacZ markers expressed by the targeted cad8 locus using heterozygous mice. LacZ/cad8-expressing sensory neurons and DH neurons were connected together, and cad8 protein was localized around the synaptic junctions formed between them. This relation was, however, not disrupted in cad8-/- mice. We performed whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from DH neurons in spinal cord slices, in combination with menthol stimulation as a tool to excite central terminals of primary afferents expressing TRPM8. LacZ-expressing DH neurons exhibited fast and slow miniature EPSCs. Menthol selectively increased the frequency of the slow mEPSCs in cad8+/- slices, but this effect was abolished in cad8-/- slices. The cad8-/- mice also showed a reduced sensitivity to cold temperature. These results demonstrate that cad8 is essential for establishing the physiological coupling between cold-sensitive sensory neurons and their target DH neurons.
  • Authors


  • Animals, Cadherins, Calcium, Cold Temperature, Ganglia, Spinal, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Mutant Strains, Microscopy, Immunoelectron, Neurons, Afferent, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Reaction Time, Spinal Cord, Thermosensing
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Suzuki SC; Furue H; Koga K; Jiang N; Nohmi M; Shimazaki Y; Katoh-Fukui Y; Yokoyama M; Yoshimura M; Takeichi M
  • Start Page

  • 3466
  • End Page

  • 3476
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 13