Background: Optogenetic manipulation of a neuronal network enables one to reveal how high-order functions emerge in the central nervous system. One of the Chlamydomonas rhodopsins, channelrhodopsin-1 (ChR1), has several advantages over channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in terms of the photocurrent kinetics. Improved temporal resolution would be expected by the optogenetics using the ChR1 variants with enhanced photocurrents. Methodology/Principal Findings: The photocurrent retardation of ChR1 was overcome by exchanging the sixth helix domain with its counterpart in ChR2 producing Channelrhodopsin-green receiver (ChRGR) with further reform of the molecule. When the ChRGR photocurrent was measured from the expressing HEK293 cells under whole-cell patch clamp, it was preferentially activated by green light and has fast kinetics with minimal desensitization. With its kinetic advantages the use of ChRGR would enable one to inject a current into a neuron by the time course as predicted by the intensity of the shedding light (opto-current clamp). The ChRGR was also expressed in the motor cortical neurons of a mouse using Sindbis pseudovirion vectors. When an oscillatory LED light signal was applied sweeping through frequencies, it robustly evoked action potentials synchronized to the oscillatory light at 5-10 Hz in layer 5 pyramidal cells in the cortical slice. The ChRGRexpressing neurons were also driven in vivo with monitoring local field potentials (LFPs) and the time-frequency energy distribution of the light-evoked response was investigated using wavelet analysis. The oscillatory light enhanced both the in-phase and out-phase responses of LFP at the preferential frequencies of 5-10 Hz. The spread of activity was evidenced by the fact that there were many c-Fos-immunoreactive neurons that were negative for ChRGR in a region of the motor cortex. Conclusions/Significance: The opto-current-clamp study suggests that the depolarization of a small number of neurons wakes up the motor cortical network over some critical point to the activated state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)