The rhythm of the brain - Targeting of voltage-sensitive fluorescent protein to specific nerve cell populations and compartments for the study of rhythmogenesis.
Tidsperiod: 2012-01-01 till 2015-12-31
Projektledare: Richardson Naves Leao
Budget: 3 550 000 SEK
Aim: This project aims to investigate how oscillations are generated, and what computational function these brain rhythms have. We will dissect the role of different cell populations and different cellular structures in the generation and propagation of hippocampus oscillations using voltage sensitive fluorescent proteins (VSFP - proteins capable to alter their fluorescence in response to changes in cell membrane potential). Methods: To restrict VSFP expression to specific cell populations we will use the Cre/lox system and a library of genetically modified animals that express Cre under specific markers. Next, we will target the expression of VSFP to axons to assess the role of axo-axonic contacts in brain rhythmogenesis. In addition, we will develop an image analysis system that can detect, analyze and alter neuronal activity, in real-time, to analyse causal relationships between oscillations and neuronal information flow. These latter experiments will assess classical but unproven theories such as the implication of gamma frequency oscillations in connecting different streams of sensory information. Significance: By studying oscillatory activity from the cell to the network level, with the ability to differentiate cell populations we have the real chance to make sense of information coding in the brain. In addition, we will significantly contribute to improve the efficiency of genetically encoded voltage probes by targeting these sensors to specific cell compartments.