Targeted cell ablation is an important strategy for dissecting the function of individual cells within biological tissues. Here we developed an amplified femtosecond lasercoupled two-photon microscopy (AFL-TPM) system that allows instantaneous and targeted ablation of individual cells and real-time monitoring of neuronal network changes in the living mouse cortex. Through precise and iterative control of the laser power and position, individual cells could be ablated by a single femtosecond light pulse with minimum collateral damage. We further show that ablation of individual somatostatin-expressing interneuron increases the activity of nearby neurons in the primary motor cortex during motor learning. Through precise dendrotomy, we reveal that different dendritic branches of layer 5 pyramidal neurons are structurally and functionally independent. By ablating individual cells and their processes in a spatiotemporally specific manner, the AFL-TPM system could serve as an important means for understanding the functions of cells within the complicated neuronal network.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience