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Brain Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;36(1-4):53-67. doi: 10.1007/s11068-008-9026-7. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

Genetically encoded fluorescent sensors of membrane potential.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Imaging activity of neurons in intact brain tissue was conceived several decades ago and, after many years of development, voltage-sensitive dyes now offer the highest spatial and temporal resolution for imaging neuronal functions in the living brain. Further progress in this field is expected from the emergent development of genetically encoded fluorescent sensors of membrane potential. These fluorescent protein (FP) voltage sensors overcome the drawbacks of organic voltage sensitive dyes such as non-specificity of cell staining and the low accessibility of the dye to some cell types. In a transgenic animal, a genetically encoded sensor could in principle be expressed specifically in any cell type and would have the advantage of staining only the cell population determined by the specificity of the promoter used to drive expression. Here we critically review the current status of these developments.

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