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Optical control of metabotropic glutamate receptors

Optical control of metabotropic glutamate receptors | Neuroscience_technics | Scoop.it

G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest family of membrane signaling proteins, respond to neurotransmitters, hormones and small environmental molecules. The neuronal function of many GPCRs has been difficult to resolve because of an inability to gate them with subtype specificity, spatial precision, speed and reversibility. To address this, we developed an approach for opto-chemical engineering of native GPCRs. We applied this to the metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) to generate light-agonized and light-antagonized mGluRs (LimGluRs). The light-agonized LimGluR2, on which we focused, was fast, bistable and supported multiple rounds of on/off switching. Light gated two of the primary neuronal functions of mGluR2: suppression of excitability and inhibition of neurotransmitter release. We found that the light-antagonized tool LimGluR2-block was able to manipulate negative feedback of synaptically released glutamate on transmitter release. We generalized the optical control to two additional family members: mGluR3 and mGluR6. This system worked in rodent brain slices and in zebrafish in vivo, where we found that mGluR2 modulated the threshold for escape behavior. These light-gated mGluRs pave the way for determining the roles of mGluRs in synaptic plasticity, memory and disease. - by Levitz J et al., Nature Neuroscience 16, 507–516 (2013)

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Scooped by Julien Hering, PhD
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An optimized fluorescent probe for visualizing glutamate neurotransmission

An optimized fluorescent probe for visualizing glutamate neurotransmission | Neuroscience_technics | Scoop.it

We describe an intensity-based glutamate-sensing fluorescent reporter (iGluSnFR) with signal-to-noise ratio and kinetics appropriate for in vivo imaging. We engineered iGluSnFR in vitro to maximize its fluorescence change, and we validated its utility for visualizing glutamate release by neurons and astrocytes in increasingly intact neurological systems. In hippocampal culture, iGluSnFR detected single field stimulus–evoked glutamate release events. In pyramidal neurons in acute brain slices, glutamate uncaging at single spines showed that iGluSnFR responds robustly and specifically to glutamate in situ, and responses correlate with voltage changes. In mouse retina, iGluSnFR-expressing neurons showed intact light-evoked excitatory currents, and the sensor revealed tonic glutamate signaling in response to light stimuli. In worms, glutamate signals preceded and predicted postsynaptic calcium transients. In zebrafish, iGluSnFR revealed spatial organization of direction-selective synaptic activity in the optic tectum. Finally, in mouse forelimb motor cortex, iGluSnFR expression in layer V pyramidal neurons revealed task-dependent single-spine activity during running. - by Marvin JS et al., Nature Methods 10, 162–170 (2013) doi:10.1038/nmeth.2333 

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