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      Optogenetics

      Nature Methods
      Springer Nature

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          Phasic firing in dopaminergic neurons is sufficient for behavioral conditioning.

          Natural rewards and drugs of abuse can alter dopamine signaling, and ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons are known to fire action potentials tonically or phasically under different behavioral conditions. However, without technology to control specific neurons with appropriate temporal precision in freely behaving mammals, the causal role of these action potential patterns in driving behavioral changes has been unclear. We used optogenetic tools to selectively stimulate VTA dopaminergic neuron action potential firing in freely behaving mammals. We found that phasic activation of these neurons was sufficient to drive behavioral conditioning and elicited dopamine transients with magnitudes not achieved by longer, lower-frequency spiking. These results demonstrate that phasic dopaminergic activity is sufficient to mediate mammalian behavioral conditioning.
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            Neural substrates of awakening probed with optogenetic control of hypocretin neurons.

            The neural underpinnings of sleep involve interactions between sleep-promoting areas such as the anterior hypothalamus, and arousal systems located in the posterior hypothalamus, the basal forebrain and the brainstem. Hypocretin (Hcrt, also known as orexin)-producing neurons in the lateral hypothalamus are important for arousal stability, and loss of Hcrt function has been linked to narcolepsy. However, it is unknown whether electrical activity arising from Hcrt neurons is sufficient to drive awakening from sleep states or is simply correlated with it. Here we directly probed the impact of Hcrt neuron activity on sleep state transitions with in vivo neural photostimulation, genetically targeting channelrhodopsin-2 to Hcrt cells and using an optical fibre to deliver light deep in the brain, directly into the lateral hypothalamus, of freely moving mice. We found that direct, selective, optogenetic photostimulation of Hcrt neurons increased the probability of transition to wakefulness from either slow wave sleep or rapid eye movement sleep. Notably, photostimulation using 5-30 Hz light pulse trains reduced latency to wakefulness, whereas 1 Hz trains did not. This study establishes a causal relationship between frequency-dependent activity of a genetically defined neural cell type and a specific mammalian behaviour central to clinical conditions and neurobehavioural physiology.
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              Channelrhodopsin-1: a light-gated proton channel in green algae.

              Phototaxis and photophobic responses of green algae are mediated by rhodopsins with microbial-type chromophores. We report a complementary DNA sequence in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that encodes a microbial opsin-related protein, which we term Channelopsin-1. The hydrophobic core region of the protein shows homology to the light-activated proton pump bacteriorhodopsin. Expression of Channelopsin-1, or only the hydrophobic core, in Xenopus laevis oocytes in the presence of all-trans retinal produces a light-gated conductance that shows characteristics of a channel selectively permeable for protons. We suggest that Channelrhodopsins are involved in phototaxis of green algae.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Methods
                Nat Meth
                Springer Nature
                1548-7091
                1548-7105
                December 20 2010
                December 20 2010
                : 8
                : 1
                : 26-29
                Article
                10.1038/nmeth.f.324
                415cfd38-87d6-4a15-ab7b-113f09ae1302
                © 2010
                History
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nmeth.f.324

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