ERIC Number: EJ1041482
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Beyond the Bolus: Transgenic Tools for Investigating the Neurophysiology of Learning and Memory
Lykken, Christine; Kentros, Clifford G.
Learning & Memory, v21 n10 p506-518 Oct 2014
Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit is a central challenge of systems neuroscience. For more than 40 years, electrophysiological recordings in awake, behaving animals have been used to relate the receptive fields of neurons in this circuit to learning and memory. However, the vast majority of such studies are purely observational, as electrical, surgical, and pharmacological circuit manipulations are both challenging and relatively coarse, being unable to distinguish between specific classes of neurons. Recent advances in molecular genetic tools can overcome many of these limitations, enabling unprecedented control over neural activity in behaving animals. Expression of pharmaco- or optogenetic transgenes in cell-type-specific "driver" lines provides unparalleled anatomical and cell-type specificity, especially when delivered by viral complementation. Pharmacogenetic transgenes are specially designed neurotransmitter receptors exclusively activated by otherwise inactive synthetic ligands and have kinetics similar to traditional pharmacology. Optogenetic transgenes use light to control the membrane potential, and thereby operate at the millisecond timescale. Thus, activation of pharmacogenetic transgenes in specific neuronal cell types while recording from other parts of the circuit allows investigation of the role of those neurons in the steady state, whereas optogenetic transgenes allow one to determine the immediate network response.
Descriptors: Learning, Memory, Neurology, Physiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Animals, Pharmacology, Light, Cytology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A