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Neuron. 2000 Sep;27(3):447-59.

A genetically encoded ratiometric indicator for chloride: capturing chloride transients in cultured hippocampal neurons.

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Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


We constructed a novel optical indicator for chloride ions by fusing the chloride-sensitive yellow fluorescent protein with the chloride-insensitive cyan fluorescent protein. The ratio of FRET-dependent emission of these fluorophores varied in proportion to the concentration of Cl and was used to measure intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl-]i) in cultured hippocampal neurons. [Cl-]i decreased during neuronal development, consistent with the shift from excitation to inhibition during maturation of GABAergic synapses. Focal activation of GABAA receptors caused large changes in [Cl-]i that could underlie use-dependent depression of GABA-dependent synaptic transmission. GABA-induced changes in somatic [Cl-]i spread into dendrites, suggesting that [Cl-]i can signal the location of synaptic activity. This genetically encoded indicator will permit new approaches ranging from high-throughput drug screening to direct recordings of synaptic Cl- signals in vivo.

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