We describe neurobiological applications of RuBi-Glutamate, a novel caged-glutamate compound based on ruthenium photochemistry. RuBi-Glutamate can be excited with visible wavelengths and releases glutamate after one- or two-photon excitation. It has high quantum efficiency and can be used at low concentrations, partly avoiding the blockade of GABAergic transmission present with other caged compounds. Two-photon uncaging of RuBi-Glutamate has a high spatial resolution and generates excitatory responses in individual dendritic spines with physiological kinetics. With laser beam multiplexing, two-photon RuBi-Glutamate uncaging can also be used to depolarize and fire pyramidal neurons with single-cell resolution. RuBi-Glutamate therefore enables the photoactivation of neuronal dendrites and circuits with visible or two-photon light sources, achieving single cell, or even single spine, precision.
Keywords: RuBi-GABA; Ruthenium; bipyridine; uncaging.