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Journal Article

High frequency neural spiking and auditory signaling by ultrafast red-shifted optogenetics


Senn,  Verena
Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Max Planck Society;

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Mager, T., Lopez de la Morena, D., Senn, V., Schlotte, J., D´Errico, A., Feldbauer, K., et al. (2018). High frequency neural spiking and auditory signaling by ultrafast red-shifted optogenetics. Nature Communications, 9(1): 1750. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04146-3.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-C73C-B
Optogenetics revolutionizes basic research in neuroscience and cell biology and bears potential for medical applications. We develop mutants leading to a unifying concept for the construction of various channelrhodopsins with fast closing kinetics. Due to different absorption maxima these channelrhodopsins allow fast neural photoactivation over the whole range of the visible spectrum. We focus our functional analysis on the fast-switching, red light-activated Chrimson variants, because red light has lower light scattering and marginal phototoxicity in tissues. We show paradigmatically for neurons of the cerebral cortex and the auditory nerve that the fast Chrimson mutants enable neural stimulation with firing frequencies of several hundred Hz. They drive spiking at high rates and temporal fidelity with low thresholds for stimulus intensity and duration. Optical cochlear implants restore auditory nerve activity in deaf mice. This demonstrates that the mutants facilitate neuroscience research and future medical applications such as hearing restoration.