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      Methods for Three-Dimensional All-Optical Manipulation of Neural Circuits


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          Optical means for modulating and monitoring neuronal activity, have provided substantial insights to neurophysiology and toward our understanding of how the brain works. Optogenetic actuators, calcium or voltage imaging probes and other molecular tools, combined with advanced microscopies have allowed an “all-optical” readout and modulation of neural circuits. Completion of this remarkable work is evolving toward a three-dimensional (3D) manipulation of neural ensembles at a high spatiotemporal resolution. Recently, original optical methods have been proposed for both activating and monitoring neurons in a 3D space, mainly through optogenetic compounds. Here, we review these methods and anticipate possible combinations among them.

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          In vivo three-photon microscopy of subcortical structures within an intact mouse brain

          Two-photon fluorescence microscopy (2PM) 1 enables scientists in various fields including neuroscience 2,3 , embryology 4 , and oncology 5 to visualize in vivo and ex vivo tissue morphology and physiology at a cellular level deep within scattering tissue. However, tissue scattering limits the maximum imaging depth of 2PM within the mouse brain to the cortical layer, and imaging subcortical structures currently requires the removal of overlying brain tissue 3 or the insertion of optical probes 6,7 . Here we demonstrate non-invasive, high resolution, in vivo imaging of subcortical structures within an intact mouse brain using three-photon fluorescence microscopy (3PM) at a spectral excitation window of 1,700 nm. Vascular structures as well as red fluorescent protein (RFP)-labeled neurons within the mouse hippocampus are imaged. The combination of the long excitation wavelength and the higher order nonlinear excitation overcomes the limitations of 2PM, enabling biological investigations to take place at greater depth within tissue.
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            Temporally precise in vivo control of intracellular signalling.

            In the study of complex mammalian behaviours, technological limitations have prevented spatiotemporally precise control over intracellular signalling processes. Here we report the development of a versatile family of genetically encoded optical tools ('optoXRs') that leverage common structure-function relationships among G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to recruit and control, with high spatiotemporal precision, receptor-initiated biochemical signalling pathways. In particular, we have developed and characterized two optoXRs that selectively recruit distinct, targeted signalling pathways in response to light. The two optoXRs exerted opposing effects on spike firing in nucleus accumbens in vivo, and precisely timed optoXR photostimulation in nucleus accumbens by itself sufficed to drive conditioned place preference in freely moving mice. The optoXR approach allows testing of hypotheses regarding the causal impact of biochemical signalling in behaving mammals, in a targetable and temporally precise manner.
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              Neural dynamics for landmark orientation and angular path integration

              Summary Many animals navigate using a combination of visual landmarks and path integration. In mammalian brains, head direction cells integrate these two streams of information by representing an animal's heading relative to landmarks, yet maintaining their directional tuning in darkness based on self-motion cues. Here we use two-photon calcium imaging in head-fixed flies walking on a ball in a virtual reality arena to demonstrate that landmark-based orientation and angular path integration are combined in the population responses of neurons whose dendrites tile the ellipsoid body — a toroidal structure in the center of the fly brain. The population encodes the fly's azimuth relative to its environment, tracking visual landmarks when available and relying on self-motion cues in darkness. When both visual and self-motion cues are absent, a representation of the animal's orientation is maintained in this network through persistent activity — a potential substrate for short-term memory. Several features of the population dynamics of these neurons and their circular anatomical arrangement are suggestive of ring attractors — network structures proposed to support the function of navigational brain circuits.

                Author and article information

                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front. Cell. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                17 December 2018
                : 12
                Wavefront Engineering Microscopy Group, Photonics Department, Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne Université, Inserm S968, CNRS UMR7210 , Paris, France
                Author notes

                Edited by: Marco Canepari, UMR5588 Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique (LIPhy), France

                Reviewed by: Albrecht Stroh, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany; Marco Lorenzo Dal Maschio, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

                *Correspondence: Eirini Papagiakoumou, eirini.papagiakoumou@ 123456inserm.fr
                Copyright © 2018 Ronzitti, Emiliani and Papagiakoumou.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 126, Pages: 13, Words: 0
                Funded by: Agence Nationale de la Recherche 10.13039/501100001665


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