Selective targeting of unipolar brush cell subtypes by cerebellar mossy fibers

Timothy S. Balmer, Laurence O. Trussell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In vestibular cerebellum, primary afferents carry signals from single vestibular end organs, whereas secondary afferents from vestibular nucleus carry integrated signals. Selective targeting of distinct mossy fibers determines how the cerebellum processes vestibular signals. We focused on vestibular projections to ON and OFF classes of unipolar brush cells (UBCs), which transform single mossy fiber signals into long-lasting excitation or inhibition respectively, and impact the activity of ensembles of granule cells. To determine whether these contacts are indeed selective, connectivity was traced back from UBC to specific ganglion cell, hair cell and vestibular organ subtypes in mice. We show that a specialized subset of primary afferents contacts ON UBCs, but not OFF UBCs, while secondary afferents contact both subtypes. Striking anatomical differences were observed between primary and secondary afferents, their synapses, and the UBCs they contact. Thus, each class of UBC functions to transform specific signals through distinct anatomical pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere44964
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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