Selective viral transduction of adult-born olfactory neurons for chronic in vivo optogenetic stimulation.
ABSTRACT Local interneurons are continuously regenerated in the olfactory bulb of adult rodents. In this process, called adult neurogenesis, neural stem cells in the walls of the lateral ventricle give rise to neuroblasts that migrate for several millimeters along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to reach and incorporate into the olfactory bulb. To study the different steps and the impact of adult-born neuron integration into preexisting olfactory circuits, it is necessary to selectively label and manipulate the activity of this specific population of neurons. The recent development of optogenetic technologies offers the opportunity to use light to precisely activate this specific cohort of neurons without affecting surrounding neurons. Here, we present a series of procedures to virally express Channelrhodopsin2(ChR2)-YFP in a temporally restricted cohort of neuroblasts in the RMS before they reach the olfactory bulb and become adult-born neurons. In addition, we show how to implant and calibrate a miniature LED for chronic in vivo stimulation of ChR2-expressing neurons.
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ABSTRACT: Thousand of local interneurons reach the olfactory bulb of adult rodents every day, but the functional effect of this process remains elusive. By selectively expressing channelrhodopsin in postnatal-born mouse neurons, we found that their activation accelerated difficult odor discrimination learning and improved memory. This amelioration was seen when photoactivation occurred simultaneously with odor presentation, but not when odor delivery lagged by 500 ms. In addition, learning was facilitated when light flashes were delivered at 40 Hz, but not at 10 Hz. Both in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological recordings of mitral cells revealed that 40-Hz stimuli produced enhanced GABAergic inhibition compared with 10-Hz stimulation. Facilitation of learning occurred specifically when photoactivated neurons were generated during adulthood. Taken together, our results demonstrate an immediate causal relationship between the activity of adult-born neurons and the function of the olfactory bulb circuit.Nature Neuroscience 05/2012; 15(6):897-904. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A major challenge in neuroscience is relating neuronal activity to animal behavior. In olfaction limited techniques are available for these correlation studies in freely moving animals. To solve this problem, we developed an olfactory behavioral assay in head-restrained mice where we can monitor behavioral responses with high temporal precision. Mice were trained on a go/no-go operant conditioning paradigm to discriminate simple monomolecular odorants, as well as complex odorants such as binary mixtures of monomolecular odorants or natural odorants. Mice learned to discriminate both simple and complex odors in a few hundred trials with high accuracy. We then compared the discrimination performance of headrestrained mice to the performance observed in freely moving mice. Discrimination accuracies were comparable in both behavioral paradigms. In addition, discrimination times were measured while the animals performed well. In both tasks, mice discriminated simple odors in a few hundred milliseconds and took additional time to discriminate the complex mixtures. In conclusion, mice showed similar and efficient discrimination behavior while head-restrained compared with freely moving mice. Therefore, the head-restrained paradigm offers a relevant approach to monitor neuronal activity while animals are actively engaged in olfactory discrimination behaviors.PLoS ONE 12/2012; 7(12). · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Somatic stem cells can divide to generate additional stem cells (expansion) or more differentiated cell types (differentiation), which is fundamental for tissue formation during embryonic development and tissue homeostasis during adulthood (1). Currently, great efforts are invested towards controlling the switch of somatic stem cells from expansion to differentiation because this is thought to be fundamental for developing novel strategies for regenerative medicine (1,2). However, a major challenge in the study and use of somatic stem cell is that their expansion has been proven very difficult to control. Here we describe a system that allows the control of neural stem/progenitor cell (altogether referred to as NSC) expansion in the mouse embryonic cortex or the adult hippocampus by manipulating the expression of the cdk4/cyclinD1 complex, a major regulator of the G1 phase of the cell cycle and somatic stem cell differentiation (3,4). Specifically, two different approaches are described by which the cdk4/cyclinD1 complex is overexpressed in NSC in vivo. By the first approach, overexpression of the cell cycle regulators is obtained by injecting plasmids encoding for cdk4/cyclinD1 in the lumen of the mouse telencephalon followed by in utero electroporation to deliver them to NSC of the lateral cortex, thus, triggering episomal expression of the transgenes (5-8). By the second approach, highly concentrated HIV-derived viruses are stereotaxically injected in the dentate gyrus of the adult mouse hippocampus, thus, triggering constitutive expression of the cell cycle regulators after integration of the viral construct in the genome of infected cells (9). Both approaches, whose basic principles were already described by other video protocols (10-14), were here optimized to i) reduce tissue damage, ii) target wide portions of very specific brain regions, iii) obtain high numbers of manipulated cells within each region, and iv) trigger high expression levels of the transgenes within each cell. Transient overexpression of the transgenes using the two approaches is obtained by different means i.e. by natural dilution of the electroporated plasmids due to cell division or tamoxifen administration in Cre-expressing NSC infected with viruses carrying cdk4/cyclinD1 flanked by loxP sites, respectively (9,15). These methods provide a very powerful platform to acutely and tissue-specifically manipulate the expression of any gene in the mouse brain. In particular, by manipulating the expression of the cdk4/cyclinD1 complex, our system allows the temporal control of NSC expansion and their switch to differentiation, thus, ultimately increasing the number of neurons generated in the mammalian brain. Our approach may be critically important for basic research and using somatic stem cells for therapy of the mammalian central nervous system while providing a better understanding of i) stem cell contribution to tissue formation during development, ii) tissue homeostasis during adulthood, iii) the role of adult neurogenesis in cognitive functions, and perhaps, iv) better using somatic stem cells in models of neurodegenerative diseases.Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2012;