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Journal Article

Genetically encoded neural activity indicators


Griesbeck,  Oliver
Research Group: Cellular Dynamics / Griesbeck, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Looger, L. L., & Griesbeck, O. (2012). Genetically encoded neural activity indicators. CURRENT OPINION IN NEUROBIOLOGY, 22(1), 18-23. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2011.10.024.

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Recording activity from identified populations of neurons is a central goal of neuroscience. Changes in membrane depolarization, particularly action potentials, are the most important features of neural physiology to extract, although ions, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, second messengers, and the activation state of specific proteins are also crucial. Modern fluorescence microscopy provides the basis for such activity mapping, through multi-photon imaging and other optical schemes. Probes remain the rate-limiting step for progress in this field: they should be bright and photostable, and ideally come in multiple colors. Only protein-based reagents permit chronic imaging from genetically specified cells. Here we review recent progress in the design, optimization and deployment of genetically encoded indicators for calcium ions (a proxy for action potentials), membrane potential, and neurotransmitters. We highlight seminal experiments, and present an outlook for future progress.