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Lentivirus-based genetic manipulations of cortical neurons and their optical and electrophysiological monitoring in vivo

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Dittgen,  Tanjew
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Nimmerjahn,  Axel
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Komai,  Shoji
Department of Biomedical Optics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Licznerski,  Pawel
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Waters,  David Jack
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Margrie,  Troy W.
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Helmchen,  Fritjof
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Denk,  Winfried
Department of Biomedical Optics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Osten,  Pavel
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Dittgen, T., Nimmerjahn, A., Komai, S., Licznerski, P., Waters, D. J., Margrie, T. W., et al. (2004). Lentivirus-based genetic manipulations of cortical neurons and their optical and electrophysiological monitoring in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(52), 18206-18211. doi:10.1073/pnas.0407976101.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-15C7-7
Abstract
It is becoming increasingly clear that single cortical neurons encode complex and behaviorally relevant signals, but efficient means to study gene functions in small networks and single neurons in vivo are still lacking. Here, we establish a method for genetic manipulation and subsequent phenotypic analysis of individual cortical neurons in vivo. First, lentiviral vectors are used for neuron-specific gene delivery from alpha-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II or Synapsin I promoters, optionally in combination with gene knockdown by means of U6 promoter-driven expression of short-interfering RNAs. Second, the phenotypic analysis at the level of single cortical cells is carried out by using two-photon microscopy-based techniques: high-resolution two-photon time-lapse imaging is used to monitor structural dynamics of dendritic spines and axonal projections, whereas cellular response properties are analyzed electrophysiologically by two-photon microscopy directed whole-cell recordings. This approach is ideally suited for analysis of gene functions in individual neurons in the intact brain.