Important Papers

[1] Optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in C. elegans: From synapse to circuits and behaviour

  • Steven J. Husson, Alexander Gottschalk, Andrew M. Leifer,
  • Biology of the Cell, Volume 105, Issue 6, pages 235–250, June 2013
  • C. elegans's compact nervous system, quantifiable behaviour, genetic tractability and optical accessibility make it especially amenable to optogenetic interrogation. Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), halorhodopsin (NpHR/Halo) and other common optogenetic proteins have all been expressed in C. elegans.
  • Moreover, recent advances leveraging molecular genetics and patterned light illumination have now made it possible to target photoactivation and inhibition to single cells and to do so in worms as they behave freely.
  • Here, they describe techniques and methods for optogenetic manipulation in C. elegans.
  • They review recent work using optogenetics and C. elegans for neuroscience investigations at the level of synapses, circuits and behaviour.
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[2] Optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in freely moving Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Andrew M Leifer, Christopher Fang-Yen, Marc Gershow, Mark J Alkema, Aravinthan D T Samuel
  • Nature Methods 8, 147–152 (2011)
  • They present an optogenetic illumination system capable of real-time light delivery with high spatial resolution to specified targets in freely moving C. elegans.
  • A tracking microscope records the motion of an unrestrained worm expressing channelrhodopsin-2 or halorhodopsin in specific cell types.
  • Image processing software analyzes the worm's position in each video frame, rapidly estimates the locations of targeted cells and instructs a digital micro mirror device to illuminate targeted cells with laser light of the appropriate wavelengths to stimulate or inhibit activity.
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[3] Real-time multimodal optical control of neurons and muscles in freely behaving Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Jeffrey N Stirman, Matthew M Crane, Steven J Husson, Sebastian Wabnig, Christian Schultheis, Alexander Gottschalk & Hang Lu
  • Nature Methods 8, 153–158 (2011)
  • Targeted illumination can be a valuable alternative but it has only been shown in motionless animals without the ability to observe behavior output.
  • They present a real-time, multimodal illumination technology that allows both tracking and recording the behavior of freely moving C. elegans while stimulating specific cells that express channelrhodopsin-2 or MAC.
  • They used this system to optically manipulate nodes in the C. elegans touch circuit and study the roles of sensory and command neurons and the ultimate behavioral output.
  • This technology enhances our ability to control, alter, observe and investigate how neurons, muscles and circuits ultimately produce behavior in animals using optogenetics..
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