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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (7)
Articles by Jacob Bernstein in JoVE
Scalable Fluidic Injector Arrays for Viral Targeting of Intact 3-D Brain Circuits
Stephanie Chan, Jacob Bernstein, Edward Boyden
Biological Engineering, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and McGovern Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Controlling and analyzing neural circuits in vivo would be facilitated by a technology for delivery of viruses and other reagents to desired 3-dimensional sets of brain regions. We demonstrate customized fluidic injector array fabrication, and delivery of virally-encoded optical sensitizers, enabling optical manipulation of complex brain circuits.
Other articles by Jacob Bernstein on PubMed
Proceedings - Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18458792
Many neural disorders are associated with aberrant activity in specific cell types or neural projection pathways embedded within the densely-wired, heterogeneous matter of the brain. An ideal therapy would permit correction of activity just in specific target neurons, while leaving other neurons unaltered. Recently our lab revealed that the naturally-occurring light-activated proteins channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and halorhodopsin (Halo/NpHR) can, when genetically expressed in neurons, enable them to be safely, precisely, and reversibly activated and silenced by pulses of blue and yellow light, respectively. We here describe the ability to make specific neurons in the brain light-sensitive, using a viral approach. We also reveal the design and construction of a scalable, fully-implantable optical prosthetic capable of delivering light of appropriate intensity and wavelength to targeted neurons at arbitrary 3-D locations within the brain, enabling activation and silencing of specific neuron types at multiple locations. Finally, we demonstrate control of neural activity in the cortex of the non-human primate, a key step in the translation of such technology for human clinical use. Systems for optical targeting of specific neural circuit elements may enable a new generation of high-precision therapies for brain disorders.
Neuron. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19409264
To understand how brain states and behaviors are generated by neural circuits, it would be useful to be able to perturb precisely the activity of specific cell types and pathways in the nonhuman primate nervous system. We used lentivirus to target the light-activated cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) specifically to excitatory neurons of the macaque frontal cortex. Using a laser-coupled optical fiber in conjunction with a recording microelectrode, we showed that activation of excitatory neurons resulted in well-timed excitatory and suppressive influences on neocortical neural networks. ChR2 was safely expressed, and could mediate optical neuromodulation, in primate neocortex over many months. These findings highlight a methodology for investigating the causal role of specific cell types in nonhuman primate neural computation, cognition, and behavior, and open up the possibility of a new generation of ultraprecise neurological and psychiatric therapeutics via cell-type-specific optical neural control prosthetics.
Journal of Neural Engineering. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21701058
Optogenetics, the ability to use light to activate and silence specific neuron types within neural networks in vivo and in vitro, is revolutionizing neuroscientists' capacity to understand how defined neural circuit elements contribute to normal and pathological brain functions. Typically, awake behaving experiments are conducted by inserting an optical fiber into the brain, tethered to a remote laser, or by utilizing an implanted light-emitting diode (LED), tethered to a remote power source. A fully wireless system would enable chronic or longitudinal experiments where long duration tethering is impractical, and would also support high-throughput experimentation. However, the high power requirements of light sources (LEDs, lasers), especially in the context of the extended illumination periods often desired in experiments, precludes battery-powered approaches from being widely applicable. We have developed a headborne device weighing 2 g capable of wirelessly receiving power using a resonant RF power link and storing the energy in an adaptive supercapacitor circuit, which can algorithmically control one or more headborne LEDs via a microcontroller. The device can deliver approximately 2 W of power to the LEDs in steady state, and 4.3 W in bursts. We also present an optional radio transceiver module (1 g) which, when added to the base headborne device, enables real-time updating of light delivery protocols; dozens of devices can be controlled simultaneously from one computer. We demonstrate use of the technology to wirelessly drive cortical control of movement in mice. These devices may serve as prototypes for clinical ultra-precise neural prosthetics that use light as the modality of biological control.
Characterization of the Functional MRI Response Temporal Linearity Via Optical Control of Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22016542
The blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal serves as the basis for human functional MRI (fMRI). Knowledge of the properties of the BOLD signal, such as how linear its response is to sensory stimuli, is essential for the design and interpretation of fMRI experiments. Here, we combined the cell-type and site-specific causal control provided by optogenetics and fMRI (opto-fMRI) in mice to test the linearity of BOLD signals driven by locally induced excitatory activity. We employed high-resolution mouse fMRI at 9.4 tesla to measure the BOLD response, and extracellular electrophysiological recordings to measure the effects of stimulation on single unit, multiunit, and local field potential activity. Optically driven stimulation of layer V neocortical pyramidal neurons resulted in a positive local BOLD response at the stimulated site. Consistent with a linear transform model, this locally driven BOLD response summated in response to closely spaced trains of stimulation. These properties were equivalent to responses generated through the multisynaptic method of driving neocortical activity by tactile sensory stimulation, and paralleled changes in electrophysiological measures. These results illustrate the potential of the opto-fMRI method and reinforce the critical assumption of human functional neuroimaging that--to first approximation--the BOLD response tracks local neural activity levels.
PLoS Genetics. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22028668
The majority of mammalian microRNA (miRNA) genes reside within introns of protein-encoding and non-coding genes, yet the mechanisms coordinating primary transcript processing into both mature miRNA and spliced mRNA are poorly understood. Analysis of melanoma invasion suppressor miR-211 expressed from intron 6 of melastatin revealed that microprocessing of miR-211 promotes splicing of the exon 6-exon 7 junction of melastatin by a mechanism requiring the RNase III activity of Drosha. Additionally, mutations in the 5' splice site (5'SS), but not in the 3'SS, branch point, or polypyrimidine tract of intron 6 reduced miR-211 biogenesis and Drosha recruitment to intron 6, indicating that 5'SS recognition by the spliceosome promotes microprocessing of miR-211. Globally, knockdown of U1 splicing factors reduced intronic miRNA expression. Our data demonstrate novel mutually-cooperative microprocessing and splicing activities at an intronic miRNA locus and suggest that the initiation of spliceosome assembly may promote microprocessing of intronic miRNAs.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22055387
In order to understand how the brain generates behaviors, it is important to be able to determine how neural circuits work together to perform computations. Because neural circuits are made of a great diversity of cell types, it is critical to be able to analyze how these different kinds of cell work together. In recent years, a toolbox of fully genetically encoded molecules has emerged that, when expressed in specific neurons, enables the electrical activity of the targeted neurons to be controlled in a temporally precise fashion by pulses of light. We describe this optogenetic toolbox, how it can be used to analyze neural circuits in the brain and how optogenetics is impacting the study of cognition.
Optogenetics and Thermogenetics: Technologies for Controlling the Activity of Targeted Cells Within Intact Neural Circuits
Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22119320
In recent years, interest has grown in the ability to manipulate, in a temporally precise fashion, the electrical activity of specific neurons embedded within densely wired brain circuits, in order to reveal how specific neurons subserve behaviors and neural computations, and to open up new horizons on the clinical treatment of brain disorders. Technologies that enable temporally precise control of electrical activity of specific neurons, and not these neurons' neighbors-whose cell bodies or processes might be just tens to hundreds of nanometers away-must involve two components. First, they require as a trigger a transient pulse of energy that supports the temporal precision of the control. Second, they require a molecular sensitizer that can be expressed in specific neurons and which renders those neurons specifically responsive to the triggering energy delivered. Optogenetic tools, such as microbial opsins, can be used to activate or silence neural activity with brief pulses of light. Thermogenetic tools, such as thermosensitive TRP channels, can be used to drive neural activity downstream of increases or decreases in temperature. We here discuss the principles underlying the operation of these two recently developed, but widely used, toolboxes, as well as the directions being taken in the use and improvement of these toolboxes.