Editors' ChoiceTechniques

Taking a snapshot of active brain circuitry

Science Signaling  17 Feb 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 364, pp. ec39
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa9043

Neuroscientists now have a method to mark active populations of neurons in vivo to study circuit activity in the behaving animal. Fosque et al. designed and thoroughly validated a fluorescent protein–based reagent that allows permanent marking of active cells over short time scales. This indicator, termed CaMPARI, switches from its native green to a red fluorescent state by simultaneous illumination with violet light and exposure to increased levels of intracellular calcium. CaMPARI successfully marked active nerve cells in Drosophila, zebrafish, and mouse brains.

B. F. Fosque, Y. Sun, H. Dana, C.-T. Yang, T. Ohyama, M. R. Tadross, R. Patel, M. Zlatic, D. S. Kim, M. B. Ahrens, V. Jayaraman, L. L. Looger, E. R. Schreiter, Labeling of active neural circuits in vivo with designed calcium integrators. Science 347, 755–760 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]