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Albisetti, Gioele W.; Ghanem, Alexander; Foster, Edmund; Conzelmann, Karl-Klaus; Zeilhofer, Hanns Ulrich; Wildner, Hendrik (2017): Identification of Two Classes of Somatosensory Neurons That Display Resistance to Retrograde Infection by Rabies Virus. In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 37, No. 43: pp. 10358-10371
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Abstract

Glycoprotein-deleted rabies virus-mediated monosynaptic tracing has become a standard method for neuronal circuit mapping, and is applied to virtually all parts of the rodent nervous system, including the spinal cord and primary sensory neurons. Here we identified two classes of unmyelinated sensory neurons (nonpeptidergic and C-fiber low-threshold mechanoreceptor neurons) resistant to direct and trans-synaptic infection from the spinal cord with rabies viruses that carry glycoproteins in their envelopes and that are routinely used for infection of CNS neurons (SAD-G and N2C-G). However, the same neurons were susceptible to infection with EnvA-pseudotyped rabies virus in tumor virus A receptor transgenic mice, indicating that resistance to retrograde infection was due to impaired virus adsorption rather than to deficits in subsequent steps of infection. These results demonstrate an important limitation of rabies virus-based retrograde tracing of sensory neurons in adult mice, and may help to better understand the molecular machinery required for rabies virus spread in the nervous system. In this study, mice of both sexes were used.