In this video, we demonstrate how to label and visualize single synaptic vesicle exocytosis and trafficking in goldfish retinal bipolar cells using total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy.
Postsynaptic Recordings at Afferent Dendrites Contacting Cochlear Inner Hair Cells: Monitoring Multivesicular Release at a Ribbon Synapse
1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery., The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from auditory nerve fiber dendrites at the inner hair cell ribbon synapse in the mammalian cochlea.
Here we describe a protocol for the preparation of agar-embedded retinal slices that are suitable for electrophysiology and Ca2+ imaging. This method allows one to study ribbon-type synapses in retinal microcircuits using direct patch-clamp recordings of single presynaptic nerve terminals.
This video describes the manipulation of cultured neurons using laser tweezers in vitro.
Implementing Dynamic Clamp with Synaptic and Artificial Conductances in Mouse Retinal Ganglion Cells
1Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, 2The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, 3Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney
This video article illustrates the set-up, the procedures to patch cell bodies and how to implement dynamic clamp recordings from ganglion cells in whole-mount mouse retinae. This technique allows the investigation of the precise contribution of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs, and their relative magnitude and timing to neuronal spiking.
This protocol details how to quantify synapse number both in dissociated neuronal culture and in brain sections using immunocytochemistry. Using compartment-specific antibodies, we label presynaptic terminals as well as sites of postsynaptic specialization. We define synapses as points of colocalization between the signals generated by these markers.
The opener muscle of the crayfish leg is presented for its historical importance and experimental versatility in muscle phenotype, synaptic physiology and plasticity.
This article demonstrates how to conduct electrophysiological recordings of synaptic responses on the extensor muscle in the walking leg of a crayfish and how the nerve terminals are visualized to show the gross morphological differences of high- and low-output nerve terminals.
The abundance of neurotransmitter receptors clustered at synapses strongly influences synaptic strength. This method quantifies fluorescently-labeled neurotransmitter receptors in three dimensions with single-synapse resolution in C. elegans, allowing hundreds of synapses to be rapidly characterized within a single sample without distortions introduced by z-plane projection.
Preparation of Acute Hippocampal Slices from Rats and Transgenic Mice for the Study of Synaptic Alterations during Aging and Amyloid Pathology
1Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, 2Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 3Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
This article outlines procedures for preparing hippocampal slices from rats and transgenic mice for the study of synaptic alterations associated with brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
This video demonstrates how to employ two neural stimulants, aldicarb and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ), in complementary ways to study synaptic function in the nematode, C. elegans. This complementary approach may also be used to shed light on evolutionarily conserved mechanisms for modulating neuronal synchrony and has implications for epilepsy and seizures.
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, Southeast University, 3Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, 4Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare Center
Electrospinning techniques can create a variety of nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering or other applications. We describe here a procedure to optimize the parameters of the electrospinning solution and apparatus to obtain fibers with the desired morphology and alignment. Common problems and troubleshooting techniques are also presented.
Preparation of Synaptoneurosomes from Mouse Cortex using a Discontinuous Percoll-Sucrose Density Gradient
1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin, 2Department of Biochemistry, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin
A method to prepare translationally active, intact synaptoneurosomes (SNs) from mouse brain cortex is described. The method uses a discontinuous Percoll-sucrose density gradient allowing for the quick preparation of active SNs.
Vibrodissociation of Neurons from Rodent Brain Slices to Study Synaptic Transmission and Image Presynaptic Terminals
1Section on Synaptic Pharmacology/Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2Department of Electronics Engineering, Ewha Womans University, 3Section on Transmitter Signaling/Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
This report demonstrates a technique for mechanical isolation of individual viable neurons retaining attached presynaptic boutons. Vibrodissociated neurons have the advantages of rapid production, excellent pharmacological control and improved space-clamp without influence from neighboring cells. This method can be used for imaging of synaptic elements and patch-clamp recording.
This paper introduces an approach of combining laser scanning photostimulation with whole cell recordings in transgenic mice expressing GFP in limited inhibitory neuron populations. The technique allows for extensive mapping and quantitative analysis of local synaptic circuits of specific inhibitory cortical neurons.
Numerous recent studies have identified mutations in synaptic proteins associated with brain pathologies. Primary cultured cortical neurons offer great flexibility in examining the effects of these disease-associated proteins on dendritic spine morphology and motility.
1Division of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2Neuroscience Graduate Group, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
A multi-faceted approach to investigating functional changes to hippocampal circuitry is explained. Electrophysiological techniques are described along with the injury protocol, behavioral testing and regional dissection method. The combination of these techniques can be applied in similar fashion for other brain regions and scientific questions.
Electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila embryos allow analyses of developing muscle and neuron electrical properties, as well as characterization of functional synaptogenesis at the glutamatergic neuromuscular junction and central cholinergic and GABAergic synapses.
MazeSuite is a complete toolset to prepare, present and analyze navigational and spatial experiments. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIR) is an optical brain imaging technique that enables noninvasive and portable monitoring of cerebral blood oxygenation changes. This paper summarizes collective use of MazeSuite and fNIR within a cognitive processing learning paradigm.
Application of electrophysiology to accessible synapses provides a quantifiable measure of synaptic activity, useful in analyzing synaptic mutants. This article describes a dissection method used to expose the neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and briefly discusses some of the uses to which this preparation can be applied.
The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of Drosophila melanogaster is an important model system for studying normal synaptic function as well as perturbations to synaptic function found in certain neurological diseases. We present a protocol for dissection of the Drosophila larval motor system and immunostaining for active zone proteins within the NMJ.
Monitoring Changes in the Intracellular Calcium Concentration and Synaptic Efficacy in the Mollusc Aplysia
1Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, 2Phase Five Communications Inc.
We demonstrate how changes in the intracellular free calcium concentration and synaptic efficacy can be simultaneously monitored in a ganglion preparation of Aplysia. We image intracellular calcium using a fluorescent dye, Calcium Orange, and induce and monitor synaptic transmission with sharp (intracellular) electrodes.
1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine, 3Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine
Glutamatergic synapses can switch from an active mode to a silent mode. We demonstrate that presynaptic activity status in dissociated culture of rodent neurons is visualized using a fixable form of the FM1-43 dye to visualize active synapses and immunostaining with vGluT-1 antibody to visualize all glutamate synapses.
Simultaneous Pre- and Post-synaptic Electrophysiological Recording from Xenopus Nerve-muscle Co-cultures
This video demonstrates the procedures used to grow primary cultures of embryonic Xenopus nerve and muscle cells and the usefulness of this preparation for making simultaneous pre- and post-synaptic patch clamp recordings.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from the brains of late stage Drosophila pupae. Views of live cultures show neurite outgrowth and imaging of calcium levels using Fura-2.
1Departments of Neurology, Columbia University, 2Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, 4eMolecules, Inc., 5Departments of Neurology and Physiology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, 6Division of Molecular Therapeutics, New York Psychiatric Institute
A new means to measure neurotransmission optically using fluorescent dopamine analogs.
Preparation of Oligomeric β-amyloid1-42 and Induction of Synaptic Plasticity Impairment on Hippocampal Slices
One feature of Alzheimer's Disease is the elevation of Aβ1-42 peptide. Here we provide a protocol for preparing synthetic Aβ1-42 oligomers, which impairs hippocampal Long-Term Potentiation, a cellular correlate of memory. This procedure is useful for investigating mechanisms of Aβ-induced pathology and drug screening.
Drosophila melanogaster larvae provide an ideal model system to investigate the mechanisms of axonal transport within larval segmental nerves. Using this procedure, 3rd instar larvae carrying various mutations can be compared to wild type larvae.
This protocol demonstrates how to perform immunohistochemistry on dissected Drosophila larva.
Quantitative Analysis of Synaptic Vesicle Pool Replenishment in Cultured Cerebellar Granule Neurons using FM Dyes
A live fluorescence imaging technique to quantify the replenishment and mobilisation of specific synaptic vesicle (SV) pools in central nerve terminals is described. Two rounds of SV recycling are monitored in the same nerve terminals providing an internal control.
An Isolated Retinal Preparation to Record Light Response from Genetically Labeled Retinal Ganglion Cells
This article provides a description of how to dissect and record from the isolated retinal preparation in mouse. In particular, we describe how to record light responses from a fluorescently labeled ganglion cell population and subsequently identify and analyze its morphology.
A technique is described to quantify the in vivo physiological response of mammalian neurons during movement and correlate the physiology of the neuron with neuronal morphology, neurochemical phenotype and synaptic microcircuitry.
Dual Electrophysiological Recordings of Synaptically-evoked Astroglial and Neuronal Responses in Acute Hippocampal Slices
The preparation of acute brain slices from isolated hippocampi, as well as the simultaneous electrophysiological recordings of astrocytes and neurons in stratum radiatum during stimulation of schaffer collaterals is described. The pharmacological isolation of astroglial potassium and glutamate transporter currents is demonstrated.
Non-surgical Intratracheal Instillation of Mice with Analysis of Lungs and Lung Draining Lymph Nodes by Flow Cytometry
1Department of Immunology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 2Division of Cell Biology, Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health, 3Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, 4Department of Immunology, National Jewish Health
We illustrate non-surgical delivery of test materials into the lungs of anesthetized mice via the trachea. This method permits lung exposure to bacterial and viral pathogens, cytokines, antibodies, beads, chemicals, or dyes. We further describe harvesting and processing of lungs and lung draining lymph nodes (LDLNs) for flow cytometry.
This video demonstrates procedures for characterization of human pancreatic islets using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Pancreatic sections from head, body, and tail regions are stained by both H&E and IHC to determine islet endocrine composition (insulin, glucagon, and pancreatic polypeptide), cell replication (Ki67), and inflammatory infiltrates (H&E, CD3). The uncinate region is localized using IHC for pancreatic polypeptide.
Larval zebrafish represent the first vertebrate model system to allow simultaneous patch clamp recording from a spinal motor-neuron and target skeletal muscle. This video demonstrates the microscopic methods used to identify a segmental CaP motor-neuron and target muscle cells as well as the methodologies for recording from each cell type.
FM dyes have been of invaluable help in the understanding of synaptic dynamics. FMs are normally followed under the fluorescent microscope during different stimulation conditions. However, photoconversion of FM dyes combined with electron microscopy allows the visualization of distinct synaptic vesicle pools, among other ultrastructure components, in synaptic boutons.
We use the patch-clamp technique to measure GABA-activated single-channel currents (GABAA channels, GABAA receptors) and the synaptic and tonic currents they generate in neurons. Activation of the channels decreases neuronal excitability in health and disease 1,2,3,4.
1Dept. of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, 2Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 3Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles
Primary cultures of Aplysia sensory-motor neurons provide a model preparation for studying synapse formation and synaptic plasticity in vitro. This video demonstrates the identification and microdissection of sensory and motor neurons from Aplysia ganglia as well as the methods for establishing and maintaining sensory-motor neurons in culture.
We describe a method to prepare organotypic hippocampal slices that can be easily adapted to other brain regions. Brain slices are laid on porous membranes and culture media is allowed to form an interface. This method preserves the gross architecture of the hippocampus for up to 2 weeks in culture.
An in vivo dissection of the adult Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC) is demonstrated. This particular dissection method causes little damage to the VNC allowing the subsequent labeling of the giant fiber neurons with fluorescent dye for high resolution imaging.
This technique exposes the Drosophila embryonic neuromusculature for immunohistochemistry or electrophysiological recording. It is useful for studying early events in neuromuscular development or performing electrophysiology in mutants that cannot hatch.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from midgastrula stage Drosophila embryos. Views of live cultures show cells 1 hour after plating and differentiated neurons after 2 days of growth in a bicarbonate-based defined medium. The neurons are electrically excitable and form synaptic connections.
This protocol demonstrates how to dissect Drosophila larvae in preparation for immunohistochemistry and/or imaging of the neuromuscular junction.
Here we describe electrophysiological methods for measuring synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction of Drosophila larva. Evoked release is initiated artificially by stimulating the motor neuron axons, and transmission through the NMJ can be measured by the postsynaptic response evoked in the muscle.
Osmotic Avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans: Synaptic Function of Two Genes, Orthologues of Human NRXN1 and NLGN1, as Candidates for Autism
Neurexins and neuroligins are membrane-neuron adhesion proteins which perform essential roles in synaptic differentiation and transmission. Neuroligin deficient mutants of C. elegans are defective in detecting osmotic strength, but when they also contain a mutation in the gene coding neurexin, they recover the wild type phenotype.
Astrocytes have been recognized to be versatile cells participating in fundamental biological processes that are essential for normal brain development and function, and central nervous system repair. Here we present a rapid procedure to obtain pure mouse astrocyte cultures to study the biology of this major class of central nervous system cells.
Slice cultures facilitate the manipulation of embryo development by gene and pharmacological perturbations. However, culture conditions must ensure that normal development can proceed within the reduced environment of the slice. We illustrate a protocol that facilitates normal spinal cord development to proceed for at least 24 hr.
1Département Nociception et Douleur, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 2Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Anesthesiology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
Viral vectors allow for targeted gene manipulation. We demonstrate a method for conditional gene expression or ablation in the mouse spinal cord, using stereotaxic injection of a viral vector into the dorsal horn, a prominent site of synaptic contact between primary somatosensory afferents and neurons of the central nervous system.
Membrane Potentials, Synaptic Responses, Neuronal Circuitry, Neuromodulation and Muscle Histology Using the Crayfish: Student Laboratory Exercises
The experiments demonstrate an easy approach for students to gain experience in examining muscle structure, synaptic responses, the effects of ion gradients and permeability on membrane potentials. Also, a sensory-CNS-motor-muscle circuit is presented to show a means to test effects of compounds on a neuronal circuit.