Learned associations about salient experiences (e.g., drug exposure, stress) and their associated environmental stimuli are mediated by a minority of sparsely distributed, behaviorally activated neurons coined 'neuronal ensembles.' For many years, it was not known whether these neuronal ensembles played causal roles in mediating learned behaviors. However, in the last several years the 'Daun02 inactivation technique' in Fos-lacZ transgenic rats has proved very useful in establishing causal links between neuronal ensembles that express the activity-regulated protein Fos and learned behaviors. Fos-expressing neurons in these rats also express the bacterial protein β-galactosidase (β-gal) in strongly activated neurons. When the prodrug Daun02 is injected into the brains of these rats 90 min after a behavior (e.g., drug-seeking) or cue exposure, then Daun02 is converted into daunorubicin by β-gal, which selectively inactivates Fos- and β-gal-expressing neurons that were activated 90 min before the Daun02 injection. This unit presents protocols for breeding the Fos-lacZ rats and conducting appropriate Daun02 inactivation experiments. © 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Keywords: Daun02 inactivation; Fos-lacZ rats; neuronal ensemble inactivation.
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.