Expanding the repertoire of optogenetically targeted cells with an enhanced gene expression system

Cell Rep. 2012 Aug 30;2(2):397-406. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


Optogenetics has been enthusiastically pursued in recent neuroscience research, and the causal relationship between neural activity and behavior is becoming ever more accessible. Here, we established knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction (KENGE-tet) and succeeded in generating transgenic mice expressing a highly light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 mutant at levels sufficient to drive the activities of multiple cell types. This method requires two lines of mice: one that controls the pattern of expression and another that determines the protein to be produced. The generation of new lines of either type readily expands the repertoire to choose from. In addition to neurons, we were able to manipulate the activity of nonexcitable glial cells in vivo. This shows that our system is applicable not only to neuroscience but also to any biomedical study that requires understanding of how the activity of a selected population of cells propagates through the intricate organic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Rhodopsin / biosynthesis
  • Rhodopsin / genetics


  • Rhodopsin