The Use of Herpes Simplex Virus in Ex Vivo Slice Culture

Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2015 Jul 1;72:4.36.1-4.36.7. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0436s72.


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can be used for a wide range of genetic manipulations in ex vivo slices of central nervous system tissue from both young and adult rodents. The fast expression of the HSV viral-mediated gene transfer, which can be engineered to produce cell-type specificity, can be utilized in slice cultures for a variety of purposes over a 1- to 4-day period with spatial and temporal specificity. This protocol exploits the rapid expression of HSV viral vectors by utilizing slice culture for electrophysiological recordings, avoiding the need to do intracranial viral injections. Brain slice cultures maintain many aspects of in vivo biology, including functional local synaptic circuitry with preserved brain architecture, while allowing good experimental access and precise control of the extracellular environment, making them ideal platforms for quick access to evaluate expression effects of HSV viral-mediated gene transfer on the molecular and cellular properties of specific neurons. This protocol provides an easy way to study neuronal function following viral expression of a gene of interest.

Keywords: HSV; gene transfer; neuronal property; slice culture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / genetics
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Vectors / physiology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques*