Optogenetic stimulation of complex spatio-temporal activity patterns by acousto-optic light steering probes cerebellar granular layer integrative properties

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 13;8(1):13768. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32017-w.


Optogenetics provides tools to control afferent activity in brain microcircuits. However, this requires optical methods that can evoke asynchronous and coordinated activity within neuronal ensembles in a spatio-temporally precise way. Here we describe a light patterning method, which combines MHz acousto-optic beam steering and adjustable low numerical aperture Gaussian beams, to achieve fast 2D targeting in scattering tissue. Using mossy fiber afferents to the cerebellar cortex as a testbed, we demonstrate single fiber optogenetic stimulation with micron-scale lateral resolution, >100 µm depth-penetration and 0.1 ms spiking precision. Protracted spatio-temporal patterns of light delivered by our illumination system evoked sustained asynchronous mossy fiber activity with excellent repeatability. Combining optical and electrical stimulations, we show that the cerebellar granular layer performs nonlinear integration, whereby sustained mossy fiber activity provides a permissive context for the transmission of salient inputs, enriching combinatorial views on mossy fiber pattern separation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Female
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Optogenetics / methods*
  • Photons
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiology*
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis