November 25, 2020

Novel rabies virus variant for bi-directional optical control reveals modulatory influence of the pulvinar on visual cortex in rat

Optogenetic tools have become of great utility in the causal analysis of systems in the brain. However, current optogenetic techniques do not reliably support both excitation and suppression of the same cells in vivo, limiting analysis and slowing research. Here we developed a novel glycoprotein-deleted rabies virus expressing two channelrhodopsin proteins, GtACR2 and Chrimson, in order to independently manipulate excitatory and inhibitory transmembrane potentials, respectively. Using this approach, we demonstrated that rodent pulvinar neurons modulate cortical size tuning and suppress flash responses, but do not drive activity in visual cortex. While our goal was primarily to develop this novel method to study the structure-function organization of thalamocortical circuits, this technique is readily applicable to study any brain region.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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