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Neuron. 1999 Jul;23(3):449-59.

Identification of neural circuits by imaging coherent electrical activity with FRET-based dyes.

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  • 1Group in Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


We show that neurons that underlie rhythmic patterns of electrical output may be identified by optical imaging and frequency-domain analysis. Our contrast agent is a two-component dye system in which changes in membrane potential modulate the relative emission between a pair of fluorophores. We demonstrate our methods with the circuit responsible for fictive swimming in the isolated leech nerve cord. The output of a motor neuron provides a reference signal for the phase-sensitive detection of changes in fluorescence from individual neurons in a ganglion. We identify known and possibly novel neurons that participate in the swim rhythm and determine their phases within a cycle. A variant of this approach is used to identify the postsynaptic followers of intracellularly stimulated neurons.

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