Tools for Bio-Imaging
Probing the brain with fluorescent proteins
One of the greatest challenges in neuroscience has been to monitor activity and biochemistry in populations of identified neurons in vivo and to relate their activity patterns to behaviour. Previous work on new microscopy techniques has moved the field considerably further in that direction. In particular the combination of modern imaging technology and genetic labeling methods heralds a bright future for neuronal circuit analysis. Our work complements these efforts on the “indicator side” by providing probes for key events crucial for an understanding of neuronal function and plasticity and aims at overcoming long-standing limitations in the ability to monitor neuronal activity and biochemistry in intact tissues.
The fluorophore we use is the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and its related variants from other organisms.
Our preferred approach is the design and engineering of genetically encoded biosensors, from the cuvette via imaging of single cells in culture to the generation of whole transgenic indicator organisms which harbor the biosensor of choice in the cells and tissues that one wishes to study. This opens up new avenues for the study of structure-function relationships of intact neuronal circuits.