The positional logic of sensory-motor reflex circuit assembly


  • N. Balaskas
  • D. Ng
  • N. Zampieri


  • Neuroscience


  • Neuroscience 450: 142-150


  • Throughout his scientific career, Tom Jessell pioneered the spinal cord as a model system to study the molecular programs of neural specification, axon guidance, and connection specificity. His contributions to these fields and more broadly to that of developmental neuroscience will continue to inspire and define many generations of researchers. It is challenging to capture all of Tom's findings in one essay, and therefore, here we wish to briefly highlight his contributions to the problem of connection specificity, with a focus on the spinal sensory-motor reflex circuit. In particular, emphasis will be placed on discoveries from his laboratory that revealed a significant role of positional strategies in establishing selective sensory-motor connections. This work introduced novel principles of neuronal connectivity that may apply to how precise circuit wiring occurs throughout the nervous system.