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Optogenetics

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  • What is Photomanipulation?

    The term photomanipulation describes a wide range of techniques that enable the microscopist the transition from passive observer to instigator of events by offering a way of interacting with their sample via targeted illumination. Typically researchers are trying to observe specific processes of interest in order to understand the underlying biological process. Microscopists are often forced to hunt through large populations of cells or acquire hours of time laps footage before they’re able to observe events of interest and in many cases it’s simply not possible to observe certain processes using conventional microscopy techniques alone. Photomanipulation tools enable the microscopist to initiate biological events, precisely adjusting sample labeling, biological activity, local chemical environments and in some instances physically destroy parts of their specimen.
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  • Clap On, Clap Off. Protein On, Protein Off

    Unlike genetic or pharmacological manipulation, light-controlled proteins respond immediately, can be temporally and spatially triggered, are reversible, and are specific to the protein of interest. However, designing and using light-controllable proteins often requires expertise and specialized equipment. Now, two recently published articles in Science describe generalizable methods for making photo-controllable proteins.
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  • Initiation of Lamellipodia and Ruffles Involves Cooperation Between mDia1 and the Arp2/3 Complex

    Protrusion of lamellipodia and ruffles requires polymerization of branched actin filaments by the Arp2/3 complex. Although regulation of Arp2/3 complex activity has been extensively investigated, the mechanism of initiation of lamellipodia and ruffles remains poorly understood. Here, we show that mDia1 acts in concert with the Arp2/3 complex to promote initiation of lamellipodia and ruffles.
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  • Webinar: Advances in Neuroscience: New Methods for Correlating Structure and Function

    During this webcast, we will present recent advances in targeted cell labelling, tissue clearing, and fluorescence imaging methods for the study of brain function. These exciting methods are helping to accelerate the understanding of how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact both structurally and functionally.
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  • Video Talk by Karl Deisseroth: Optogenetics

    Optogenetics is a combination of genetics and optics to achieve a gain or loss of function of biochemical events such as action potentials in a particular neuron or tissue. Opsin genes encode proteins that receive light and give rise to ion flow. This talk gives an introduction to optogenetics followed by examples of how optogenetics is being used to study the brain.
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  • Deeper Insights in Transparent Animals

    CLARITY clearing derivatives for multiphoton microscopy. Transparent organisms help us to identify spatial arrangements and connections of cells and tissues, especially neuronal circuits can easily be identified and characterized. CLARITY is on everyone's lips.
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  • Webinar: Advances in Neurotechniques – Methods that Reveal the Structure and Function of the Brain

    In this webinar Karl Deisseroth and Viviana Gradinaru will explain the most recent neurotechniques and how these are being used to advance our knowledge of the brain.
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  • Webinar: "Flash-and-Freeze" Time-resolved Electron Microscopy

    Electron microscopy only captures a static image of a cell. What is the cell doing? What is the true sequence of events in a cellular process? We can make flip books from our micrographs that tell a story, but their arrangement can be influenced by the story we want to tell.
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  • Capturing Cellular Dynamics with Millisecond Temporal Resolution

    The combination of two powerful techniques: optogenetics and high-pressure freezing now makes it possible to visualize a dynamic cellular activity with temporal resolution of 5 milliseconds. By coupling a flash of light with high-pressure freezing, the process of vesicle recycling at the synapses can now be imaged by electron microscopy.
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  • Optogenetic Toolkit Goes Multicolor

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain.
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  • Structural and Molecular Interrogation of Intact Biological Systems

    To understand structure and function of brains or other complex biological systems, the method of choice is microscopy. In particular, confocal microscopy is employed to reveal three-dimensional connectivity and functional interactions. To come to a real insight into brain’s way of working, one must look deep into the tissue – which usually is non-transparent. A couple of clearing methods have been developed in the past, but they usually come along with distortions of the structures, incompatibilities with fluorescence stainings or are just prohibitively toxic to the lab technician.
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  • Optogenetics

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows light-controlled responses of transfected cells. The cells are genetically modified by introduction of genes that code for light-induced channels or ion pumps. The term optogenetics denotes the light control feature introduced by genetic engineering.
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