Weizmann Institute Optogeneticists Use Mosquito Rhodopsins to Boost Brain Research

The Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Ofer Yizhar and colleagues used mosquito rhodopsins to create an optogenetics tool that is more precise, selective, and controllable than current techniques. In addition to increasing our understanding of the brain and advancing the field of optogenetics, the technology could lead to improved therapies for neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Dopamine Surge Reveals How Even for Mice, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’

“There’s no place like home,” has its roots deep in the brain. Using fiber photometry, scientists are the first to show that home evokes a surge of dopamine in mice that mimics the response to a dose of cocaine. The study demonstrates how dopamine rises rapidly in mice moved from a simple recording chamber to their home cage, but less so when they return to a cage not quite like the one they knew.

New dopamine sensors could help unlock the mysteries of brain chemistry

In 2018, Tian Lab at UC Davis Health developed dLight1, a single fluorescent protein-based biosensor. This sensor allows high resolution, real-time imaging of the spatial and temporal release of dopamine in live animals. Now, the team expanded the color spectrum of dLight1 to YdLight1 and RdLight1. The increased light penetration and imaging depth of these variants provide enhanced dopamine signal quality allowing researchers to optically dissect dopamine’s release and model its effects on neural circuits.