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4 Janelia Publications

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    07/03/13 | Two-photon imaging of nonlinear glutamate release dynamics at bipolar cell synapses in the mouse retina.
    Borghuis BG, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Demb JB
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2013 Jul 3;33(27):10972-85. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1241-13.2013

    Alpha/Y-type retinal ganglion cells encode visual information with a receptive field composed of nonlinear subunits. This nonlinear subunit structure enhances sensitivity to patterns composed of high spatial frequencies. The Y-cell’s subunits are the presynaptic bipolar cells, but the mechanism for the nonlinearity remains incompletely understood. We investigated the synaptic basis of the subunit nonlinearity by combining whole-cell recording of mouse Y-type ganglion cells with two-photon fluorescence imaging of a glutamate sensor (iGluSnFR) expressed on their dendrites and throughout the inner plexiform layer. A control experiment designed to assess iGluSnFR’s dynamic range showed that fluorescence responses from Y-cell dendrites increased proportionally with simultaneously recorded excitatory current. Spatial resolution was sufficient to readily resolve independent release at intermingled ON and OFF bipolar terminals. iGluSnFR responses at Y-cell dendrites showed strong surround inhibition, reflecting receptive field properties of presynaptic release sites. Responses to spatial patterns located the origin of the Y-cell nonlinearity to the bipolar cell output, after the stage of spatial integration. The underlying mechanism differed between OFF and ON pathways: OFF synapses showed transient release and strong rectification, whereas ON synapses showed relatively sustained release and weak rectification. At ON synapses, the combination of fast release onset with slower release offset explained the nonlinear response of the postsynaptic ganglion cell. Imaging throughout the inner plexiform layer, we found transient, rectified release at the central-most levels, with increasingly sustained release near the borders. By visualizing glutamate release in real time, iGluSnFR provides a powerful tool for characterizing glutamate synapses in intact neural circuits.

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    02/01/13 | An optimized fluorescent probe for visualizing glutamate neurotransmission.
    Marvin JS, Borghuis BG, Tian L, Cichon J, Harnett MT, Akerboom J, Gordus A, Renninger SL, Chen T, Bargmann CI, Orger MB, Schreiter ER, Demb JB, Gan W, Hires SA, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2013 Feb;10:162-70. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2333

    We describe an intensity-based glutamate-sensing fluorescent reporter (iGluSnFR) with signal-to-noise ratio and kinetics appropriate for in vivo imaging. We engineered iGluSnFR in vitro to maximize its fluorescence change, and we validated its utility for visualizing glutamate release by neurons and astrocytes in increasingly intact neurological systems. In hippocampal culture, iGluSnFR detected single field stimulus-evoked glutamate release events. In pyramidal neurons in acute brain slices, glutamate uncaging at single spines showed that iGluSnFR responds robustly and specifically to glutamate in situ, and responses correlate with voltage changes. In mouse retina, iGluSnFR-expressing neurons showed intact light-evoked excitatory currents, and the sensor revealed tonic glutamate signaling in response to light stimuli. In worms, glutamate signals preceded and predicted postsynaptic calcium transients. In zebrafish, iGluSnFR revealed spatial organization of direction-selective synaptic activity in the optic tectum. Finally, in mouse forelimb motor cortex, iGluSnFR expression in layer V pyramidal neurons revealed task-dependent single-spine activity during running.

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    02/29/12 | A Cre-dependent GCaMP3 reporter mouse for neuronal imaging in vivo.
    Zariwala HA, Borghuis BG, Hoogland TM, Madisen L, Tian L, De Zeeuw CI, Zeng H, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Chen T
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2012 Feb 29;32:3131-41. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4469-11.2012

    Fluorescent calcium indicator proteins, such as GCaMP3, allow imaging of activity in genetically defined neuronal populations. GCaMP3 can be expressed using various gene delivery methods, such as viral infection or electroporation. However, these methods are invasive and provide inhomogeneous and nonstationary expression. Here, we developed a genetic reporter mouse, Ai38, which expresses GCaMP3 in a Cre-dependent manner from the ROSA26 locus, driven by a strong CAG promoter. Crossing Ai38 with appropriate Cre mice produced robust GCaMP3 expression in defined cell populations in the retina, cortex, and cerebellum. In the primary visual cortex, visually evoked GCaMP3 signals showed normal orientation and direction selectivity. GCaMP3 signals were rapid, compared with virally expressed GCaMP3 and synthetic calcium indicators. In the retina, Ai38 allowed imaging spontaneous calcium waves in starburst amacrine cells during development, and light-evoked responses in ganglion cells in adult tissue. Our results show that the Ai38 reporter mouse provides a flexible method for targeted expression of GCaMP3.

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    02/23/11 | Imaging light responses of targeted neuron populations in the rodent retina.
    Borghuis BG, Tian L, Xu Y, Nikonov SS, Vardi N, Zemelman BV, Looger LL
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2011 Feb 23;31:2855-67. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6064-10.2011

    Decoding the wiring diagram of the retina requires simultaneous observation of activity in identified neuron populations. Available recording methods are limited in their scope: electrodes can access only a small fraction of neurons at once, whereas synthetic fluorescent indicator dyes label tissue indiscriminately. Here, we describe a method for studying retinal circuitry at cellular and subcellular levels combining two-photon microscopy and a genetically encoded calcium indicator. Using specific viral and promoter constructs to drive expression of GCaMP3, we labeled all five major neuron classes in the adult mouse retina. Stimulus-evoked GCaMP3 responses as imaged by two-photon microscopy permitted functional cell type annotation. Fluorescence responses were similar to those measured with the small molecule dye OGB-1. Fluorescence intensity correlated linearly with spike rates >10 spikes/s, and a significant change in fluorescence always reflected a significant change in spike firing rate. GCaMP3 expression had no apparent effect on neuronal function. Imaging at subcellular resolution showed compartment-specific calcium dynamics in multiple identified cell types.

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