Authors: Shreejoy J. Tripathy, Lilah Toker, Brenna Li, Cindy-Lee Circhlow, Dmitry Tebaykin, B. Ogan Mancarci, Paul Pavlidis
How neuronal diversity emerges from complex patterns of gene expression remains poorly understood. Here we present an approach to understand electrophysiological diversity through gene expression by integrating transcriptomics with intracellular electrophysiology. Using a brain-wide dataset of 34 neuron types, we identified 420 genes whose expression levels significantly correlated with variability in one or more of 11 electrophysiological parameters. The majority of these correlations were consistent in an independent sample of 12 visual cortex cell types. Many associations reported here have the potential to provide new insights into how neurons generate functional diversity, and correlations of ion channel genes like Gabrd and Scn1a (Nav1.1) with resting potential and spiking frequency are consistent with known causal mechanisms. These results suggest that despite the complexity linking gene expression to electrophysiology, there are likely some general principles that govern how individual genes establish phenotypic diversity across very different cell types.