The protein was engineered by researchers at RIKEN to help analyze rapid electrical signals in populations of nerve cells and provides a unique window onto cellular-dynamics of neuronal webs. Further work with this protein is expected to dramatically extend the scope of research into brain function.
One of the key challenges in analyzing neural network dynamics is to monitor the activity of multiple neurons simultaneously. Voltage-sensitive fluorescent proteins (VSFP) make such analysis possible by encoding voltage sensors at the genetic level, enabling researchers to non-invasively target and visualize the activity of specific cell populations. VSFPs have, until now, suffered from interference with tissue background fluorescence and poor long-term expression in nerve cells.
A new series of red-shifted VSFPs, designed by a research team at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, has overcome these limitations. By fusing the voltage-sensitive domain of a voltage-sensing phosphatase (Ci-VSP) to red-shifted fluorescent proteins, the researchers generated a series of VSFPs emitting different spectral colors. In a paper in the journal Chemistry & Biology, the researchers use these proteins to uncover details of the voltage-sensing mechanism in Ci-VSP, while also demonstrating the effectiveness of one variant (VSFP3.1_mOrange2) for analysis of electrical signals in hippocampal neurons.
The glimpse of the cellular-level dynamics of neuronal networks provided by VSFPs will vastly expand our understanding of information processing in the brain. By extending and clarifying the mechanisms of existing VSFPs, the new family of red-shifted proteins brings this potential one step closer to reality, enabling groundbreaking advances in understanding brain function.Images associated with this press release are available on this link http://www.researchsea.com/html/article.php/aid/4828/cid/3/research/
For more information, please contact:Dr. Thomas Knöpfel
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy