House of Mind

"Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind" - Jeffrey Eugenides

  • 23rd February
    2011
  • 23
Listen up guys, because this just came in. Hot off the press and everything. Today I received quite an impressive e-mail submission from one of the authors of the paper from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. He was also kind enough to share one of their figures with us. I personally think he did an excellent job at summing up the importance and novelty of this new tracing technique so I encourage you to read below and check out the original research article. Thanks Bruno!
Breakthrough in Neuroscience – new method allows characterization of  neuronal networks on single-cell levelAn international team led by neuroscientist Troy Margrie has developed  a new method, which will shape the future of cellular neuroscience.  The researchers from MRC National Institute for Medical Research in  London, Columbia University in New York and Max-Planck-Institute for  Medical Research in Heidelberg succeeded in determining the function  of individual nerve cells in the brain and identify those neurons from  which a given cell receives its signals. “The new method enables us  for the first time to identify a neuronal networks on the level of  individual cells and characterize it functionally”, explains Ede  Rancz. This study is now published in Nature Neuroscience.A genetically modified rabies virus leads the wayThe scientists combined two existing methods, “whole-cell patch clamp  recording” and “monosynaptic retrograde virus tracing”. They use the  patch-clamp technique to determine the exact stimuli to which a given  brain cell responds. Through the glass micropipette, which is used to  record electrical signals, they simultaneously inject plasmid DNA into  this cell. In the vicinity of the cell they later inject a rabies  virus, which is lacking proteins necessary for entering a cell and  spreading through neuronal pathways. These missing proteins are  provided by the plasmid DNA injected previously into the cell.  Therefore, the virus can only infect this single cell and then spread  across synapses to only those neurons which are exactly one step  upstream in the signaling chain. There it stops because these  presynaptic cells do not contain the necessary plasmid DNA, which the  modified virus needs for spreading.Cellular networks in the living organismThe plasmid DNA and the virus both produce fluorescent proteins, which  are then visualized through specialized microscopes. In this way, the  functionally characterized cell as well as its connected ‘neighbours’,  from which the cell receives information - let them be in close  proximity or in a different brain area -can be identified. As this  technique can be used in a living organism, cellular networks can be  identified and then subjected to further experiments. The researchers  are convinced that this method opens up the door for answering a  plethora of very important but previously unapproachable questions.The original paper is available online:http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2765.htmlShort video clips of original microscopy images are available at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6spZuxsJOcUhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tujh2YH6rK8Contact:Prof. Troy Margriehttp://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/research/troy-margrie/

Listen up guys, because this just came in. Hot off the press and everything. Today I received quite an impressive e-mail submission from one of the authors of the paper from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. He was also kind enough to share one of their figures with us. I personally think he did an excellent job at summing up the importance and novelty of this new tracing technique so I encourage you to read below and check out the original research article. Thanks Bruno!

Breakthrough in Neuroscience – new method allows characterization of  
neuronal networks on single-cell level

An international team led by neuroscientist Troy Margrie has developed  
a new method, which will shape the future of cellular neuroscience.  
The researchers from MRC National Institute for Medical Research in  
London, Columbia University in New York and Max-Planck-Institute for  
Medical Research in Heidelberg succeeded in determining the function  
of individual nerve cells in the brain and identify those neurons from  
which a given cell receives its signals. “The new method enables us  
for the first time to identify a neuronal networks on the level of  
individual cells and characterize it functionally”, explains Ede  
Rancz. This study is now published in Nature Neuroscience.

A genetically modified rabies virus leads the way

The scientists combined two existing methods, “whole-cell patch clamp  
recording” and “monosynaptic retrograde virus tracing”. They use the  
patch-clamp technique to determine the exact stimuli to which a given  
brain cell responds. Through the glass micropipette, which is used to  
record electrical signals, they simultaneously inject plasmid DNA into  
this cell. In the vicinity of the cell they later inject a rabies  
virus, which is lacking proteins necessary for entering a cell and  
spreading through neuronal pathways. These missing proteins are  
provided by the plasmid DNA injected previously into the cell.  
Therefore, the virus can only infect this single cell and then spread  
across synapses to only those neurons which are exactly one step  
upstream in the signaling chain. There it stops because these  
presynaptic cells do not contain the necessary plasmid DNA, which the  
modified virus needs for spreading.

Cellular networks in the living organism

The plasmid DNA and the virus both produce fluorescent proteins, which  
are then visualized through specialized microscopes. In this way, the  
functionally characterized cell as well as its connected ‘neighbours’,  
from which the cell receives information - let them be in close  
proximity or in a different brain area -can be identified. As this  
technique can be used in a living organism, cellular networks can be  
identified and then subjected to further experiments. The researchers  
are convinced that this method opens up the door for answering a  
plethora of very important but previously unapproachable questions.


The original paper is available online:
http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2765.html
Short video clips of original microscopy images are available at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6spZuxsJOcU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tujh2YH6rK8


Contact:

Prof. Troy Margrie
http://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/research/troy-margrie/


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    Columbia University - producing quality scientific research since T.H. Morgan and beyond.
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  13. queer-topia reblogged this from fuckyeahneuroscience and added:
    SO COOL.
  14. ofpaperandponies reblogged this from fuckyeahneuroscience and added:
    This is amazing! Not gonna lie, the phrase “genetically modified rabies virus” only makes me think of zombie movies,...
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