Optogenetics is a powerful and rapidly expanding set of techniques that use genetically encoded light sensitive proteins such as opsins. Through the selective expression of these exogenous light-sensitive proteins, researchers gain the ability to modulate neuronal activity, intracellular signaling pathways, or gene expression with spatial, directional, temporal, and cell-type specificity. Optogenetics provides a versatile toolbox and has significantly advanced a variety of neuroscience fields. In this review, using recent epilepsy research as a focal point, we highlight how the specificity, versatility, and continual development of new optogenetic related tools advances our understanding of neuronal circuits and neurological disorders. We additionally provide a brief overview of some currently available optogenetic tools including for the selective expression of opsins.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Work in the Krook-Magnuson lab has been supported by the National Institute of Health through grants R01-NS104071, R03-NS098015 and R00-NS087110, by the University of Minnesota’s MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy) initiative, by the International Essential Tremor Foundation, the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the Winston and Maxine Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund and a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship (to EKM). ZCW was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant T32-GM008471. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
© 2018 Christenson Wick and Krook-Magnuson.
- Cell type specificity
- Intersectional genetics
- Neuronal circuitry