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October, 2006
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Nuclear Envelope: The membrane system of the Cell nucleus that surrounds the nucleoplasm. It consists of two concentric membranes separated by the perinuclear space. The structures of the envelope where it opens to the cytoplasm are called the nuclear pores (Nuclear pore).

Neuronal Transfection Methods

JoVE 5215

Transfection - the process of transferring genetic material into cells - is a powerful tool for the rapid and efficient manipulation of gene expression in cells. Because this method can be used to silence the expression of specific proteins or to drive the expression of foreign or modified proteins, transfection is an extremely useful tool in the study of the cellular and molecular processes that govern neuron function. However, mature neurons have a number of properties that make them difficult to transfect, so specialized techniques are required for the genetic manipulation of this cell type. This video reviews the principles and rationale behind transfecting neurons. Three common strategies for neuronal transfection are discussed, including nucleofection, gene-gun, and viral transduction. In addition to describing how each of these techniques overcomes the challenges associated with transfecting neurons, the presentation includes a description of how all three methods are performed. Finally, several applications of neuronal transfection are introduced, such as the expression of fluorescent tubulin proteins to visualize neuron morphology, and selective gene silencing to generate a cell culture model of Parkinson’s disease.


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