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For studying the function of specific neurons in their native circuitry, it is desired to precisely control their activity. This often requires dissection to allow accurate electrical stimulation or neurotransmitter application , and it is thus inherently difficult in live animals, especially in small model organisms. Here, we employed channelrhodopsin-2(More)
Our understanding of the cellular implementation of systems-level neural processes like action, thought and emotion has been limited by the availability of tools to interrogate specific classes of neural cells within intact, living brain tissue. Here we identify and develop an archaeal light-driven chloride pump (NpHR) from Natronomonas pharaonis for(More)
RIC-3 belongs to a conserved family of proteins influencing nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) maturation. RIC-3 proteins are integral membrane proteins residing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and containing a C-terminal coiled-coil domain (CC-I). Conservation of CC-I in all RIC-3 family members indicates its importance; however, previous studies(More)
In the nervous system, a perfect balance of excitation and inhibition is required, for example, to enable coordinated locomotion. In Caenorhabditis elegans, cholinergic and GABAergic motor neurons (MNs) effect waves of contralateral muscle contraction and relaxation. Cholinergic MNs innervate muscle as well as GABAergic MNs, projecting to the opposite side(More)
We introduce optogenetic investigation of neurotransmission (OptIoN) for time-resolved and quantitative assessment of synaptic function via behavioral and electrophysiological analyses. We photo-triggered release of acetylcholine or gamma-aminobutyric acid at Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junctions using targeted expression of Chlamydomonas(More)
Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is widely used for rapid photodepolarization of neurons, yet, as it requires high-intensity blue light for activation, it is not suited for long-term in vivo applications, e.g. for manipulations of behavior, or photoactivation of neurons during development. We used "slow" ChR2 variants with mutations in the C128 residue, that(More)
Optogenetic approaches using light-activated proteins like Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) enable investigating the function of populations of neurons in live Caenorhabditis elegans (and other) animals, as ChR2 expression can be targeted to these cells using specific promoters. Sub-populations of these neurons, or even single cells, can be further addressed by(More)
Photoactivated adenylyl cyclase α (PACα) was originally isolated from the flagellate Euglena gracilis. Following stimulation by blue light it causes a rapid increase in cAMP levels. In the present study, we expressed PACα in cholinergic neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans. Photoactivation led to a rise in swimming frequency, speed of locomotion, and a(More)
Local recycling of synaptic vesicles (SVs) allows neurons to sustain transmitter release. Extreme activity (e.g., during seizure) may exhaust synaptic transmission and, in vitro, induces bulk endocytosis to recover SV membrane and proteins; how this occurs in animals is unknown. Following optogenetic hyperstimulation of Caenorhabditis elegans motoneurons,(More)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are homo- or heteropentameric ligand-gated ion channels mediating excitatory neurotransmission and muscle activation. Regulation of nAChR subunit assembly and transfer of correctly assembled pentamers to the cell surface is only partially understood. Here, we characterize an ER transmembrane (TM) protein complex(More)