Cre-dependent adeno-associated virus preparation and delivery for labeling neurons in the mouse brain

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2014 Feb 1;2014(2):190-4. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot080382.


Virus-mediated gene delivery is a powerful strategy for labeling and manipulating neurons in mammalian brains. A major drawback of this gene delivery method has been the lack of cell-type specificity. However, methods that combine Cre-knockin mice and Cre-activated adeno-associated virus (AAV) have now been developed to achieve high-level, stable, and cell-type-specific gene expression. Here, we describe a protocol for the design, production, and delivery of Cre-dependent AAVs. This method is simple and highly efficient, and allows chronic live imaging of defined classes of synapses in the mouse brain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Dependovirus / classification
  • Dependovirus / metabolism*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Integrases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Serotyping


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases