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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Optogenetic activation of dorsal raphe serotonin neurons enhances patience for future rewards.
Curr. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2014
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Serotonin is a neuromodulator that is involved extensively in behavioral, affective, and cognitive functions in the brain. Previous recording studies of the midbrain dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) revealed that the activation of putative serotonin neurons correlates with the levels of behavioral arousal [1], rhythmic motor outputs [2], salient sensory stimuli [3-6], reward, and conditioned cues [5-8]. The classic theory on serotonin states that it opposes dopamine and inhibits behaviors when aversive events are predicted [9-14]. However, the therapeutic effects of serotonin signal-enhancing medications have been difficult to reconcile with this theory [15, 16]. In contrast, a more recent theory states that serotonin facilitates long-term optimal behaviors and suppresses impulsive behaviors [17-21]. To test these theories, we developed optogenetic mice that selectively express channelrhodopsin in serotonin neurons and tested how the activation of serotonergic neurons in the DRN affects animal behavior during a delayed reward task. The activation of serotonin neurons reduced the premature cessation of waiting for conditioned cues and food rewards. In reward omission trials, serotonin neuron stimulation prolonged the time animals spent waiting. This effect was observed specifically when the animal was engaged in deciding whether to keep waiting and was not due to motor inhibition. Control experiments showed that the prolonged waiting times observed with optogenetic stimulation were not due to behavioral inhibition or the reinforcing effects of serotonergic activation. These results show, for the first time, that the timed activation of serotonin neurons during waiting promotes animals' patience to wait for a delayed reward.
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Optogenetic activation of serotonergic neurons enhances anxiety-like behaviour in mice.
Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol.
PUBLISHED: 05-21-2014
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Whether increased serotonin (5-HT) release in the forebrain attenuates or enhances anxiety has been controversial for over 25 yr. Although there is considerable indirect evidence, there is no direct evidence that indicates a relationship between acute 5-HT release and anxiety. In particular, there is no known method that can reversibly, selectively, and temporally control serotonergic activity. To address this issue, we generated transgenic animals to manipulate the firing rates of central 5-HT neurons by optogenetic methods. Activation of serotonergic neurons in the median raphe nucleus was correlated to enhanced anxiety-like behaviour in mice, whereas activation of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus had no effect on anxiety-like behaviour. These results indicate that an acute increase in 5-HT release from the median raphe nucleus enhances anxiety.
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Optogenetic manipulation of activity and temporally controlled cell-specific ablation reveal a role for MCH neurons in sleep/wake regulation.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 05-16-2014
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Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a neuropeptide produced in neurons sparsely distributed in the lateral hypothalamic area. Recent studies have reported that MCH neurons are active during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but their physiological role in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness is not fully understood. To determine the physiological role of MCH neurons, newly developed transgenic mouse strains that enable manipulation of the activity and fate of MCH neurons in vivo were generated using the recently developed knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction system. The activity of these cells was controlled by optogenetics by expressing channelrhodopsin2 (E123T/T159C) or archaerhodopsin-T in MCH neurons. Acute optogenetic activation of MCH neurons at 10 Hz induced transitions from non-REM (NREM) to REM sleep and increased REM sleep time in conjunction with decreased NREM sleep. Activation of MCH neurons while mice were in NREM sleep induced REM sleep, but activation during wakefulness was ineffective. Acute optogenetic silencing of MCH neurons using archaerhodopsin-T had no effect on any vigilance states. Temporally controlled ablation of MCH neurons by cell-specific expression of diphtheria toxin A increased wakefulness and decreased NREM sleep duration without affecting REM sleep. Together, these results indicate that acute activation of MCH neurons is sufficient, but not necessary, to trigger the transition from NREM to REM sleep and that MCH neurons also play a role in the initiation and maintenance of NREM sleep.
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Conditional ablation of orexin/hypocretin neurons: a new mouse model for the study of narcolepsy and orexin system function.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 05-09-2014
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The sleep disorder narcolepsy results from loss of hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons. Although narcolepsy onset is usually postpubertal, current mouse models involve loss of either orexin peptides or orexin neurons from birth. To create a model of orexin/hypocretin deficiency with closer fidelity to human narcolepsy, diphtheria toxin A (DTA) was expressed in orexin neurons under control of the Tet-off system. Upon doxycycline removal from the diet of postpubertal orexin-tTA;TetO DTA mice, orexin neurodegeneration was rapid, with 80% cell loss within 7 d, and resulted in disrupted sleep architecture. Cataplexy, the pathognomic symptom of narcolepsy, occurred by 14 d when ?5% of the orexin neurons remained. Cataplexy frequency increased for at least 11 weeks after doxycycline. Temporary doxycycline removal followed by reintroduction after several days enabled partial lesion of orexin neurons. DTA-induced orexin neurodegeneration caused a body weight increase without a change in food consumption, mimicking metabolic aspects of human narcolepsy. Because the orexin/hypocretin system has been implicated in the control of metabolism and addiction as well as sleep/wake regulation, orexin-tTA; TetO DTA mice are a novel model in which to study these functions, for pharmacological studies of cataplexy, and to study network reorganization as orexin input is lost.
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GABAB agonism promotes sleep and reduces cataplexy in murine narcolepsy.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 05-09-2014
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?-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an approved therapeutic for the excessive sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy) characteristic of narcolepsy. The mechanism of action for these therapeutic effects is hypothesized to be GABAB receptor dependent. We evaluated the effects of chronic administration of GHB and the GABAB agonist R-baclofen (R-BAC) on arousal state and cataplexy in two models of narcolepsy: orexin/ataxin-3 (Atax) and orexin/tTA; TetO diphtheria toxin mice (DTA). Mice were implanted for EEG/EMG monitoring and dosed with GHB (150 mg/kg), R-BAC (2.8 mg/kg), or vehicle (VEH) bid for 15 d-a treatment paradigm designed to model the twice nightly GHB dosing regimen used by human narcoleptics. In both models, R-BAC increased NREM sleep time, intensity, and consolidation during the light period; wake bout duration increased and cataplexy decreased during the subsequent dark period. GHB did not increase NREM sleep consolidation or duration, although NREM delta power increased in the first hour after dosing. Cataplexy decreased from baseline in 57 and 86% of mice after GHB and R-BAC, respectively, whereas cataplexy increased in 79% of the mice after VEH. At the doses tested, R-BAC suppressed cataplexy to a greater extent than GHB. These results suggest utility of R-BAC-based therapeutics for narcolepsy.
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Concurrent and robust regulation of feeding behaviors and metabolism by orexin neurons.
Neuropharmacology
PUBLISHED: 04-22-2014
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Orexin neurons in the hypothalamus regulate energy homeostasis by coordinating various physiological responses. Past studies have shown the role of the orexin peptide itself; however, orexin neurons contain not only orexin but also other neurotransmitters such as glutamate and dynorphin. In this study, we examined the physiological role of orexin neurons in feeding behavior and metabolism by pharmacogenetic activation and chronic ablation. We generated novel orexin-Cre mice and utilized Cre-dependent adeno-associated virus vectors to express Gq-coupled modified GPCR, hM3Dq or diphtheria toxin fragment A in orexin neurons. By intraperitoneal injection of clozapine-N oxide in orexin-Cre mice expressing hM3Dq in orexin neurons, we could selectively manipulate the activity of orexin neurons. Pharmacogenetic stimulation of orexin neurons simultaneously increased locomotive activity, food intake, water intake and the respiratory exchange ratio (RER). Elevation of blood glucose levels and RER persisted even after locomotion and feeding behaviors returned to basal levels. Accordantly, 83% ablation of orexin neurons resulted in decreased food and water intake, while 70% ablation had almost no effect on these parameters. Our results indicate that orexin neurons play an integral role in regulation of both feeding behavior and metabolism. This regulation is so robust that greater than 80% of orexin neurons were ablated before significant changes in feeding behavior emerged.
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Modulation of water efflux through functional interaction between TRPV4 and TMEM16A/anoctamin 1.
FASEB J.
PUBLISHED: 02-07-2014
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Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4), a calcium-permeable channel, is highly expressed in the apical membrane of choroid plexus epithelial cells (CPECs) in the brain. The function of TRPV4 is unknown. Here, we show physical and functional interaction between TRPV4 and anoctamin 1 (ANO1) in HEK293T cells and CPECs. Chloride currents induced by a TRPV4 activator (GSK1016790A) were markedly increased in an extracellular calcium-dependent manner in HEK293T cells expressing TRPV4 with ANO1, but not with ANO4, ANO6, or ANO10, the mRNAs of which were expressed in the choroid plexus. We also found physical interaction between TRPV4 and ANO1 in both HEK293T cells and choroid plexus. We observed that ANO1 was activated at a warm temperature (37°C) in HEK293T cells and that the heat-evoked chloride currents were markedly enhanced after GSK1016790A application in CPECs. Simultaneous stimulation by warmth and hyposmosis induced chloride current activation in wild-type, but not in TRPV4-deficient, CPECs. Cell volume changes were induced by ANO1-mediated chloride currents in parallel with membrane potential changes, and the cell volume was significantly decreased at negative membrane potentials by TRPV4-induced ANO1 activation. Thus, physical and functional interactions between TRPV4 and ANO1 can modulate water transport in the choroid plexus.
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Optogenetic countering of glial acidosis suppresses glial glutamate release and ischemic brain damage.
Neuron
PUBLISHED: 01-28-2014
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The brain demands high-energy supply and obstruction of blood flow causes rapid deterioration of the healthiness of brain cells. Two major events occur upon ischemia: acidosis and liberation of excess glutamate, which leads to excitotoxicity. However, cellular source of glutamate and its release mechanism upon ischemia remained unknown. Here we show a causal relationship between glial acidosis and neuronal excitotoxicity. As the major cation that flows through channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is proton, this could be regarded as an optogenetic tool for instant intracellular acidification. Optical activation of ChR2 expressed in glial cells led to glial acidification and to release of glutamate. On the other hand, glial alkalization via optogenetic activation of a proton pump, archaerhodopsin (ArchT), led to cessation of glutamate release and to the relief of ischemic brain damage in vivo. Our results suggest that controlling glial pH may be an effective therapeutic strategy for intervention of ischemic brain damage.
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Influence of inhibitory serotonergic inputs to orexin/hypocretin neurons on the diurnal rhythm of sleep and wakefulness.
Sleep
PUBLISHED: 09-03-2013
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Serotonergic (5HT) neurons of the dorsal raphe nuclei receive excitatory input from hypothalamic orexin (hypocretin) neurons and reciprocally inhibit orexin neurons through the 5HT1A receptor. However, the physiological significance of this negative feedback circuit for sleep/wakefulness regulation is little understood.
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Long-lasting silencing of orexin/hypocretin neurons using archaerhodopsin induces slow-wave sleep in mice.
Behav. Brain Res.
PUBLISHED: 04-08-2013
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Orexin/hypocretin neurons have a crucial role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Recent optogenetic studies revealed that the activation or inhibition of orexin neuronal activity affects the probability of sleep/wakefulness transition in the acute phase. To expand our understanding of how orexin neurons maintain wakefulness, we generated new transgenic mice in which orexin neurons expressed archaerhodopsin from Halorubrum strain TP009 (ArchT), a green light-driven neuronal silencer, using the tet-off system (orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice). Slice patch clamp recordings of ArchT-expressing orexin neurons demonstrated that long-lasting photic illumination was able to silence the activity of orexin neurons. We further confirmed that green light illumination for 1h in the dark period suppressed orexin neuronal activity in vivo using c-Fos expression. Continuous 1h silencing of orexin neurons in freely moving orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice during the night (the active period, 20:00-21:00) significantly increased total time spent in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and decreased total wake time. Additionally, photic inhibition increased sleep/wakefulness state transitions, which is also evident in animals lacking the prepro-orexin gene, orexin neurons, or functional orexin-2 receptors. However, continuous 1h photic illumination produced little effect on sleep/wakefulness states during the day (the inactive period, 12:00-13:00). These results suggest that orexin neuronal activity plays a crucial role in the maintenance of wakefulness especially in the active phase in mice.
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The regulation of sleep and wakefulness by the hypothalamic neuropeptide orexin/hypocretin.
Nagoya J Med Sci
PUBLISHED: 04-03-2013
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Orexins, also known as hypocretins, are neuropeptides that are exclusively expressed by neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area. Although originally recognized as regulators of feeding behavior, orexins are now mainly regarded as key modulators of the sleep/wakefulness cycle. In addition, anatomical studies of neural networks and analyses of transgenic mice have revealed integrated roles for orexin neurons in the coordination of emotion, energy homeostasis, and the reward system. A functional link between the limbic system and orexin neurons may be important for increasing vigilance in response to emotional stimuli. These findings suggest that orexin neurons relay information about an organisms environment to maintain the proper amount of sleep and wakefulness in animals.
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The physiological role of orexin/hypocretin neurons in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness and neuroendocrine functions.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne)
PUBLISHED: 02-12-2013
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The hypothalamus monitors body homeostasis and regulates various behaviors such as feeding, thermogenesis, and sleeping. Orexins (also known as hypocretins) were identified as endogenous ligands for two orphan G-protein-coupled receptors in the lateral hypothalamic area. They were initially recognized as regulators of feeding behavior, but they are mainly regarded as key modulators of the sleep/wakefulness cycle. Orexins activate orexin neurons, monoaminergic and cholinergic neurons in the hypothalamus/brainstem regions, to maintain a long, consolidated awake period. Anatomical studies of neural projections from/to orexin neurons and phenotypic characterization of transgenic mice revealed various roles for orexin neurons in the coordination of emotion, energy homeostasis, reward system, and arousal. For example, orexin neurons are regulated by peripheral metabolic cues, including ghrelin, leptin, and glucose concentration. This suggests that they may provide a link between energy homeostasis and arousal states. A link between the limbic system and orexin neurons might be important for increasing vigilance during emotional stimuli. Orexins are also involved in reward systems and the mechanisms of drug addiction. These findings suggest that orexin neurons sense the outer and inner environment of the body and maintain the proper wakefulness level of animals for survival. This review discusses the mechanism by which orexins maintain sleep/wakefulness states and how this mechanism relates to other systems that regulate emotion, reward, and energy homeostasis.
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Nociception originating from the crural fascia in rats.
Pain
PUBLISHED: 01-21-2013
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Little is documented in the literature as to the function of muscle fascia in nociception and pain. The aim of this study was to examine the distribution of presumptive nociceptive nerve fibers, to characterize fascial thin-fiber sensory receptors, and to examine the spinal projection of nociceptive input from the rat crural fascia (CF). Nerve fibers labeled with specific antibodies to calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and peripherin were found to be densely distributed in the distal third of the CF. Thin-fiber receptors (A?- and C-fibers) responding to pinching stimuli to the CF with sharpened watchmakers forceps, identified in vivo with the teased fiber technique from the common peroneal nerve, exist in the CF. Forty-three percent of the mechano-responsive fascial C-fibers were polymodal receptors (nociceptors) responding to mechanical, chemical (bradykinin), and heat stimuli, whereas almost all A?-fibers were responsive only to mechanical stimuli. Repetitive pinching stimulus to the CF induced c-Fos protein expression in the middle to medial part of superficial layers ie, laminae I-II of the spinal dorsal horn at segments L2 to L4, peaking at L3. These results clearly demonstrate the following: 1) peptidergic and non-peptidergic axons of unmyelinated C-fibers with nerve terminals are distributed in the CF; 2) peripheral afferents responding to noxious stimuli exist in the fascia, and 3) nociceptive information from the CF is mainly processed in the spinal dorsal horn at the segments L2 to L4. These results together indicate that the "muscle fascia," a tissue often overlooked in pain research, can be an important source of nociception under normal conditions.
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Chronic alterations in monoaminergic cells in the locus coeruleus in orexin neuron-ablated narcoleptic mice.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Narcolepsy patients often suffer from insomnia in addition to excessive daytime sleepiness. Narcoleptic animals also show behavioral instability characterized by frequent transitions between all vigilance states, exhibiting very short bouts of NREM sleep as well as wakefulness. The instability of wakefulness states in narcolepsy is thought to be due to deficiency of orexins, neuropeptides produced in the lateral hypothalamic neurons, which play a highly important role in maintaining wakefulness. However, the mechanism responsible for sleep instability in this disorder remains to be elucidated. Because firing of orexin neurons ceases during sleep in healthy animals, deficiency of orexins does not explain the abnormality of sleep. We hypothesized that chronic compensatory changes in the neurophysiologica activity of the locus coeruleus (LC) and dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus in response to the progressive loss of endogenous orexin tone underlie the pathological regulation of sleep/wake states. To evaluate this hypothesis, we examined firing patterns of serotonergic (5-HT) neurons and noradrenergic (NA) neurons in the brain stem, two important neuronal populations in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness states. We recorded single-unit activities of 5-HT neurons and NA neurons in the DR nucleus and LC of orexin neuron-ablated narcoleptic mice. We found that while the firing pattern of 5-HT neurons in narcoleptic mice was similar to that in wildtype mice, that of NA neurons was significantly different from that in wildtype mice. In narcoleptic mice, NA neurons showed a higher firing frequency during both wakefulness and NREM sleep as compared with wildtype mice. In vitro patch-clamp study of NA neurons of narcoleptic mice suggested a functional decrease of GABAergic input to these neurons. These alterations might play roles in the sleep abnormality in narcolepsy.
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Acute optogenetic silencing of orexin/hypocretin neurons induces slow-wave sleep in mice.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 07-22-2011
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Orexin/hypocretin neurons have a crucial role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. To help determine how these neurons promote wakefulness, we generated transgenic mice in which orexin neurons expressed halorhodopsin (orexin/Halo mice), an orange light-activated neuronal silencer. Slice patch-clamp recordings of orexin neurons that expressed halorhodopsin demonstrated that orange light photic illumination immediately hyperpolarized membrane potential and inhibited orexin neuron discharge in proportion to illumination intensity. Acute silencing of orexin neurons in vivo during the day (the inactive period) induced synchronization of the electroencephalogram and a reduction in amplitude of the electromyogram that is characteristic of slow-wave sleep (SWS). In contrast, orexin neuron photoinhibition was ineffective during the night (active period). Acute photoinhibition of orexin neurons during the day in orexin/Halo mice also reduced discharge of neurons in an orexin terminal field, the dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus. However, serotonergic DR neurons exhibited normal discharge rates in mice lacking orexin neurons. Thus, although usually highly dependent on orexin neuronal activity, serotonergic DR neuronal activity can be regulated appropriately in the chronic absence of orexin input. Together, these results demonstrate that acute inhibition of orexin neurons results in time-of-day-dependent induction of SWS and in reduced firing rate of neurons in an efferent projection site thought to be involved in arousal state regulation. The results presented here advance our understanding of the role of orexin neurons in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness and may be relevant to the mechanisms that underlie symptom progression in narcolepsy.
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Neuropeptide B induces slow wave sleep in mice.
Sleep
PUBLISHED: 01-05-2011
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Neuropeptide B (NPB) and neuropeptide W (NPW) are two recently identified neuropeptides that act as endogenous ligands to orphan G protein coupled receptors, GPR7 and GPR8. In rodents, the GPR8 ortholog is absent and both NPB and NPW function exclusively through GPR7. Although NPB and NPW are implicated in the regulation of feeding behavior, endocrine function, and pain sensation, their physiological role is incompletely understood.
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Involvement of TRPV2 activation in intestinal movement through nitric oxide production in mice.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 12-15-2010
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Transient receptor potential channel vanilloid 2 (TRPV2) can detect various stimuli such as temperature (>52 °C), stretch, and chemicals, including 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, probenecid, and lysophospholipids. Although expressed in many tissues, including sensory and motor neurons, TRPV2 expression and function in the gastrointestinal tract is poorly understood. Here, we show TRPV2 expression in the murine intestine and its involvement in intestinal function. Almost all mouse intestinal intrinsic sensory and inhibitory motor neurons, both cell bodies and nerve fibers, showed TRPV2 immunoreactivity. Several known TRPV2 activators increased cytosolic Ca²+ concentrations and evoked TRPV2-like current responses in dissociated myenteric neurons. Interestingly, mechanical stimuli activated inward currents in a strength-dependent manner, which were inhibited by a TRPV2 inhibitor tranilast. TRPV2 activation in isolated intestine inhibited spontaneous circular muscle contraction, which did not occur in the presence of the TRPV2 antagonist, tetrodotoxin or nitro oxide (NO) synthase pathway inhibitors. Also, increased intestinal NO production was observed in response to a TRPV2 agonist, and gastrointestinal transit in vivo was accelerated by TRPV2 agonists or an NO donor. In conclusion, TRPV2 may contribute to intestinal motility through NO production, and TRPV2 is a promising target for controlling intestinal movement.
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Orexin directly excites orexin neurons through orexin 2 receptor.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 09-24-2010
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Orexin neurons (hypocretin neurons) have a critical role in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness, especially in the maintenance of arousal. Here, we revealed that orexin neurons are directly and indirectly activated by orexin via the orexin 2 receptor (OX2R). Orexin B (1 ?M) induced depolarization in orexin neurons, which was still observed in the presence of TTX (1 ?M), AP-5 (50 ?M), and CNQX (20 ?M). In addition, orexin B induced inward currents in the presence of TTX, suggesting a direct activation of orexin neurons. Although orexin B application induced depolarization in orexin neurons of OX1R knock-out mice at comparable levels to wild-type mice, the observation that orexin B failed to depolarize orexin neurons in the OX2R knock-out mice suggested that OX2R was a primary receptor for this response. Moreover, immunoelectron microscopic analyses revealed direct contacts among orexin neurons, which exhibited structural similarities to the glutamatergic synapses. Together, these results suggest that orexin neurons form a positive-feedback circuit through indirect and direct pathways, which results in the preservation of the orexin neuron network at a high activity level and/or for a longer period. Therefore, the activation of orexin neurons through OX2R might have an important role in the maintenance of arousal.
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Activation of polycystic kidney disease-2-like 1 (PKD2L1)-PKD1L3 complex by acid in mouse taste cells.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2010
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Five basic tastes (bitter, sweet, umami, salty, and sour) are detected in the four taste areas where taste buds reside. Although molecular mechanisms for detecting bitter, sweet, and umami have been well clarified, those for sour and salty remain poorly understood. Several channels including acid-sensing ion channels have been proposed as candidate sour receptors, but they do not encompass all sour-sensing abilities in vivo. We recently reported a novel candidate for sour sensing, the polycystic kidney disease-2-like 1 (PKD2L1)-PKD1L3 channel complex. This channel is not a traditional ligand-gated channel and is gated open only after removal of an acid stimulus, called an off response. Here we show that off responses upon acid stimulus are clearly observed in native taste cells from circumvallate, but not fungiform papillae, of glutamate decarboxylase 67-green fluorescent protein (GAD67-GFP) knock-in mice, from which Type III taste cells can be visualized, using Ca(2+) imaging and patch clamp methods. Off responses were detected in most cells where PKD2L1 immunoreactivity was observed. Interestingly, the pH threshold for acid-evoked intracellular Ca(2+) increase was around 5.0, a value much higher than that observed in HEK293 cells expressing the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex. Thus, PKD2L1-PKD1L3-mediated acid-evoked off responses occurred both in HEK293 cells and in native taste cells, suggesting the involvement of the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex in acid sensing in vivo.
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The manipulation of neural and cellular activities by ectopic expression of melanopsin.
Neurosci. Res.
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Melanopsin (OPN4) is a photosensitive pigment originally found in a subtype of retinal ganglion cells and is a 7-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Several previous reports showed that ectopic expression of OPN4 can be used as an optogenetic tool to control neural and cellular activities in various tissues. Compared with other optogenetic pigments, OPN4 is more sensitive to light, shows long-lasting activation, and can also control intracellular Ca(2+) dynamics. Here, we review how the ectopic expression of OPN4 enables the control of neural and cellular activities in vivo. In the retina, the ectopic expression of melanopsin in retinal ganglion cells successfully restored the vision of blind mice. It has also been reported that ectopic expression of melanopsin in orexin/hypocretin neurons enabled control of wakefulness in mice by blue light. In addition to neural activity, the ectopic expression of OPN4 has been reported to enable circuit control of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) to enhance blood-glucose homeostasis in mice. We discuss the possibility of optogenetic control of other systems through the ectopic expression of OPN4.
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Ectopic expression of melanopsin in orexin/hypocretin neurons enables control of wakefulness of mice in vivo by blue light.
Neurosci. Res.
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Melanopsin (OPN4) is a photosensitive G-protein-coupled photopigment and its ectopic expression enables control of neural activity induced by blue light. Here we report that we successfully expressed OPN4 in hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons of double-transgenic mice (orexin-tTA; Bitet-O human OPN4 [hOPN4]/mCherry mice). In the double-transgenic mice, hypothalamic orexin neurons selectively expressed hOPN4 as well as mCherry as a reporter. We conducted slice patch-clamp recordings on hOPN4/mCherry-expressing orexin neurons, which showed long-lasting activation initiated by blue light even after the light was switched off. Optical fiber-guided blue light stimulation in the hypothalamus successfully initiated the electroencephalography pattern that reflects long-lasting wakefulness in the mice in vivo. Taken together, the results indicate that ectopic expression of hOPN4 in orexin neurons enables long-lasting activation of orexin neurons by blue light to control sleep/wakefulness of the mice.
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Expanding the repertoire of optogenetically targeted cells with an enhanced gene expression system.
Cell Rep
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Optogenetics has been enthusiastically pursued in recent neuroscience research, and the causal relationship between neural activity and behavior is becoming ever more accessible. Here, we established knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction (KENGE-tet) and succeeded in generating transgenic mice expressing a highly light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 mutant at levels sufficient to drive the activities of multiple cell types. This method requires two lines of mice: one that controls the pattern of expression and another that determines the protein to be produced. The generation of new lines of either type readily expands the repertoire to choose from. In addition to neurons, we were able to manipulate the activity of nonexcitable glial cells in vivo. This shows that our system is applicable not only to neuroscience but also to any biomedical study that requires understanding of how the activity of a selected population of cells propagates through the intricate organic systems.
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The role of orexin/hypocretin in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues.
Vitam. Horm.
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Orexin, also called hypocretin, is a neuropeptide produced in neurons sparsely distributed in the lateral hypothalamic area. Orexin exhibits its physiological effects after binding two G-protein-coupled receptors, orexin 1 receptor and orexin 2 receptor. Impairment of the orexin signal, either by deletion of the prepro-orexin or orexin 2 receptor gene or by the ablation of orexin neurons, results in a sleep disorder similar to narcolepsy, suggesting that the orexin system plays an important role in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness. In addition, previous studies have suggested that orexin is involved in energy and fluid homeostasis, emotion regulation, stress responsiveness, and reward. However, growing evidence also suggests that orexin affects the function of peripheral tissues via direct activation of orexin receptors or through activation of autonomic nervous or endocrine systems. In this review, we discuss the physiological roles of orexin not only in the central nervous system but also in the peripheral tissues.
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Light-induced silencing of neural activity in Rosa26 knock-in mice conditionally expressing the microbial halorhodopsin eNpHR2.0.
Neurosci. Res.
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Temporally precise inhibition of genetically defined cell populations in intact nervous systems has been enabled by the microbial halorhodopsin NpHR, a fast, light-activated chloride pump. Here, we report the generation of new mouse strains that express eNpHR2-EYFP fusion proteins after Cre- and/or Flp-mediated recombination to silence neural activity in vivo. In these mouse strains, Cre/Flp recombination induced a high-level of eNpHR2-EYFP expression. Slice whole-cell patch clamp experiments confirmed that eNpHR2-EYFP-expressing neurons could be optically hyperpolarized and inhibited from firing action potentials. Thus, these mouse strains offer powerful tools for light-induced silencing of neural activity in genetically defined cell populations.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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