Refining optogenetic methods to map synaptic connections in the brain

IMAGE: Section of mouse cortex shows the expression of a calcium sensor that is expressed throughout the neuronal cytoplasm (green fluorescence), and the optogenetic sensor construct (magenta fluorescence), which exhibits relative… view more Credit: Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience A fundamental question in neuroscience is how neuronal networks and circuits give rise to brain function, as disruptions in these connections can lead to mental illness and brain disorders. With the development of optogenetics, researchers can study the function of specific neurons by turning them on and off with light under various conditions. Translating the rules governing the functional organization of neural circuits requires knowledge of the synaptic connections among identified classes of neurons as well as the strength and dynamics of these connections. Researchers from MPFI optimized optogenetics to map…


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