Temporally precise inhibition of genetically defined cell populations in intact nervous systems has been enabled by the microbial halorhodopsin NpHR, a fast, light-activated chloride pump. Here, we report the generation of new mouse strains that express eNpHR2-EYFP fusion proteins after Cre- and/or Flp-mediated recombination to silence neural activity in vivo. In these mouse strains, Cre/Flp recombination induced a high-level of eNpHR2-EYFP expression. Slice whole-cell patch clamp experiments confirmed that eNpHR2-EYFP-expressing neurons could be optically hyperpolarized and inhibited from firing action potentials. Thus, these mouse strains offer powerful tools for light-induced silencing of neural activity in genetically defined cell populations.
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