David D Ginty

David D Ginty, PhD

Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology
Department Chair
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Neurons and Circuits That Mediate Touch

The somatosensory system endows us with a remarkable capacity for recognizing textural differences and shapes of objects held in our hands, and to feel pain, pressure, temperature, position, movement and vibration. Understanding the neurobiological basis of touch perception will help us to determine why touch can be painful or aversive under certain pathological states.

The Ginty lab uses mouse molecular genetics, in vitro signaling approaches, circuit mapping, electrophysiological and behavioral analyses to gain understanding of the development, organization, and function of neural circuits that underlie the sense of touch. Mouse molecular genetic approaches are used to identify, visualize, and functionally manipulate physiologically defined classes of low-threshold mechanosensory neurons (LTMRs) and nociceptors, the primary cutaneous sensory neurons that mediate the sense of touch and pain. We also strive to gain genetic access to spinal cord interneurons and projection neurons to reveal the organizational logic and functions of touch and pain circuits in the spinal cord and brainstem.

Our current goals are to discover: 1) the unique functions and properties of LTMR and nociceptor subtypes; 2) the organization of synaptic connections between LTMR subtypes and nociceptors, spinal cord dorsal horn interneurons and projection neurons, and dorsal column nuclei neurons; 3) the neural circuits that underlie the perception of touch; 4) molecular and developmental mechanisms by which primary somatosensory neurons and touch and pain circuit organization are established; and 5) mechanisms of touch circuit dysfunction in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders and neuropathic pain.

Publications View
Krause corpuscles are genital vibrotactile sensors for sexual behaviours.
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A mouse DRG genetic toolkit reveals morphological and physiological diversity of somatosensory neuron subtypes.
Authors: Authors: Qi L, Iskols M, Shi D, Reddy P, Walker C, Lezgiyeva K, Voisin T, Pawlak M, Kuchroo VK, Chiu IM, Ginty DD, Sharma N.
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Nerve injury disrupts temporal processing in the spinal cord dorsal horn through alterations in PV+ interneurons.
Authors: Authors: Rankin G, Chirila AM, Emanuel AJ, Zhang Z, Woolf CJ, Drugowitsch J, Ginty DD.
Cell Rep
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Sensory Input, Sex, and Function Shape Hypothalamic Cell Type Development.
Authors: Authors: Kaplan HS, Logeman BL, Zhang K, Santiago C, Sohail N, Naumenko S, Ho Sui SJ, Ginty DD, Ren B, Dulac C.
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The developmental timing of spinal touch processing alterations predicts behavioral changes in genetic mouse models of autism spectrum disorders.
Authors: Authors: Tasnim A, Alkislar I, Hakim R, Turecek J, Abdelaziz A, Orefice LL, Ginty DD.
Nat Neurosci
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Activity-dependent development of the body's touch receptors.
Authors: Authors: Santiago C, Sharma N, Africawala N, Siegrist J, Handler A, Tasnim A, Anjum R, Turecek J, Lehnert BP, Renauld S, Nolan-Tamariz M, Iskols M, Magee AR, Paradis S, Ginty DD.
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Three-dimensional reconstructions of mechanosensory end organs suggest a unifying mechanism underlying dynamic, light touch.
Authors: Authors: Handler A, Zhang Q, Pang S, Nguyen TM, Iskols M, Nolan-Tamariz M, Cattel S, Plumb R, Sanchez B, Ashjian K, Shotland A, Brown B, Kabeer M, Turecek J, DeLisle MM, Rankin G, Xiang W, Pavarino EC, Africawala N, Santiago C, Lee WA, Xu CS, Ginty DD.
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Coding of self and environment by Pacinian neurons in freely moving animals.
Authors: Authors: Turecek J, Ginty DD.
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The projection-specific signals that establish functionally segregated dopaminergic synapses.
Authors: Authors: Terauchi A, Yee P, Johnson-Venkatesh EM, Seiglie MP, Kim L, Pitino JC, Kritzer E, Zhang Q, Zhou J, Li Y, Ginty DD, Lee WA, Umemori H.
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Skin-type-dependent development of murine mechanosensory neurons.
Authors: Authors: Koutsioumpa C, Santiago C, Jacobs K, Lehnert BP, Barrera V, Hutchinson JN, Schmelyun D, Lehoczky JA, Paul DL, Ginty DD.
Dev Cell
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