The spinal cord integrates and relays somatosensory input, leading to complex motor responses. Research over the past couple of decades has identified transcription factor networks that function during development to define and instruct the generation of diverse neuronal populations within the spinal cord. A number of studies have now started to connect these developmentally defined populations with their roles in somatosensory circuits. Here, we review our current understanding of how neuronal diversity in the dorsal spinal cord is generated and we discuss the logic underlying how these neurons form the basis of somatosensory circuits.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
J.E.J. is funded by the National Institutes of Health [R01 HD037932 and R01 NS032817]. R.P.S. is funded by the Rita Allen Foundation and the American Pain Society. Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.