Dynamic labelling of neural connections in multiple colours by trans-synaptic fluorescence complementation

Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 4;6:10024. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10024.

Abstract

Determining the pattern of activity of individual connections within a neural circuit could provide insights into the computational processes that underlie brain function. Here, we develop new strategies to label active synapses by trans-synaptic fluorescence complementation in Drosophila. First, we demonstrate that a synaptobrevin-GRASP chimera functions as a powerful activity-dependent marker for synapses in vivo. Next, we create cyan and yellow variants, achieving activity-dependent, multi-colour fluorescence reconstitution across synapses (X-RASP). Our system allows for the first time retrospective labelling of synapses (rather than whole neurons) based on their activity, in multiple colours, in the same animal. As individual synapses often act as computational units in the brain, our method will promote the design of experiments that are not possible using existing techniques. Moreover, our strategies are easily adaptable to circuit mapping in any genetic system.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / chemistry
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Fluorescence
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Staining and Labeling / instrumentation
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*
  • Synapses / chemistry*
  • Synapses / physiology

Substances

  • Green Fluorescent Proteins