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Mauss, A.S., Busch, C., Borst, A. (2017). Optogenetic Neuronal Silencing in Drosophila during Visual Processing.  Sci. Rep. 7(1): 13823.
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Research paper

Optogenetic channels and ion pumps have become indispensable tools in neuroscience to manipulate neuronal activity and thus to establish synaptic connectivity and behavioral causality. Inhibitory channels are particularly advantageous to explore signal processing in neural circuits since they permit the functional removal of selected neurons on a trial-by-trial basis. However, applying these tools to study the visual system poses a considerable challenge because the illumination required for their activation usually also stimulates photoreceptors substantially, precluding the simultaneous probing of visual responses. Here, we explore the utility of the recently discovered anion channelrhodopsins GtACR1 and GtACR2 for application in the visual system of Drosophila. We first characterized their properties using a larval crawling assay. We further obtained whole-cell recordings from cells expressing GtACR1, which mediated strong and light-sensitive photocurrents. Finally, using physiological recordings and a behavioral readout, we demonstrate that GtACR1 enables the fast and reversible silencing of genetically targeted neurons within circuits engaged in visual processing.

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PMC5653863 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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