• rhombic lip;
  • tensor tympani;
  • motor trigeminal nucleus;
  • principal sensory trigeminal nucleus;
  • pontine nuclei


We have found a previously unreported precerebellar nucleus located among the emerging fibers of the motor root of the trigeminal nerve in the mouse, which we have called the interfascicular trigeminal nucleus (IF5). This nucleus had previously been named the tensor tympani part of the motor trigeminal nucleus (5TT) in rodent brain atlases, because it was thought to be a subset of small motor neurons of the motor trigeminal nucleus innervating the tensor tympani muscle. However, following injection of retrograde tracer in the cerebellum, the labeled neurons in IF5 were found to be choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) negative, indicating that they are not motor neurons. The cells of IF5 are strongly labeled in mice from Wnt1Cre and Atoh1 CreER lineage fate mapping, in common with the major precerebellar nuclei that arise from the rhombic lip and that issue mossy fibers. Analysis of sections from mouse Hoxa3, Hoxb1, and Egr2 Cre labeled lineages shows that the neurons of IF5 arise from rhombomeres caudal to rhombomere 4, most likely from rhombomeres 6–8. We conclude that IF5 is a significant precerebellar nucleus in the mouse that shares developmental gene expression characteristics with mossy fiber precerebellar nuclei that arise from the caudal rhombic lip. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:697–708, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.