Combinatorial methods for refined neuronal gene targeting

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Oct;17(5):572-80. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.10.001. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Methods for the selective and reproducible expression of genetically encoded tools in targeted subsets of cells are required to facilitate studies of neuronal development, connectivity, and function in living animals. In the absence of techniques for synthesizing promoters that target defined cell groups, current methods exploit the regulatory elements of endogenous genes to achieve specificity of transgene expression. However, single promoters often have expression patterns too broad to pinpoint the functional roles of specific neurons. In this review, we describe emerging combinatorial techniques that make transgene expression contingent not upon a single promoter, but upon two or more promoters. Although only a few such techniques are currently available, recent developments promise rapid growth in this area in the coming years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Transgenes / physiology*