Improved tools for the Brainbow toolbox

Nat Methods. 2013 May 5;10(6):540-7. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2450. Epub 2013 May 5.


In the transgenic multicolor labeling strategy called 'Brainbow', Cre-loxP recombination is used to create a stochastic choice of expression among fluorescent proteins, resulting in the indelible marking of mouse neurons with multiple distinct colors. This method has been adapted to non-neuronal cells in mice and to neurons in fish and flies, but its full potential has yet to be realized in the mouse brain. Here we present several lines of mice that overcome limitations of the initial lines, and we report an adaptation of the method for use in adeno-associated viral vectors. We also provide technical advice about how best to image Brainbow-expressing tissue.