Understanding how the brain encodes and processes information requires the recording of neural activity that underlies different behaviors. Recent efforts in fluorescent protein engineering have succeeded in developing powerful tools for visualizing neural activity, in general by coupling neural activity to different properties of a fluorescent protein scaffold. Here, we take advantage of a previously unexploited class of reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins to engineer a new type of calcium sensor. We introduce rsCaMPARI, a genetically encoded calcium marker engineered from a reversibly switchable fluorescent protein that enables spatiotemporally precise marking, erasing, and remarking of active neuron populations under brief, user-defined time windows of light exposure. rsCaMPARI photoswitching kinetics are modulated by calcium concentration when illuminating with blue light, and the fluorescence can be reset with violet light. We demonstrate the utility of rsCaMPARI for marking and remarking active neuron populations in freely swimming zebrafish.
Keywords: E. coli; biochemistry; calcium; chemical biology; fluorescent protein; neuronal activity; neuroscience; photoswitchable fluorescent protein; protein engineering; rat; sensor; zebrafish.
© 2020, Sha et al.