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Neuron. 2014 Jan 22;81(2):280-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.021.

Cell-type-specific labeling of synapses in vivo through synaptic tagging with recombination.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
2
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA 20147-2408, USA.
3
Department of Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Electronic address: lzipursky@mednet.ucla.edu.

Abstract

The study of synaptic specificity and plasticity in the CNS is limited by the inability to efficiently visualize synapses in identified neurons using light microscopy. Here, we describe synaptic tagging with recombination (STaR), a method for labeling endogenous presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins in a cell-type-specific fashion. We modified genomic loci encoding synaptic proteins within bacterial artificial chromosomes such that these proteins, expressed at endogenous levels and with normal spatiotemporal patterns, were labeled in an inducible fashion in specific neurons through targeted expression of site-specific recombinases. Within the Drosophila visual system, the number and distribution of synapses correlate with electron microscopy studies. Using two different recombination systems, presynaptic and postsynaptic specializations of synaptic pairs can be colabeled. STaR also allows synapses within the CNS to be studied in live animals noninvasively. In principle, STaR can be adapted to the mammalian nervous system.

PMID:
24462095
PMCID:
PMC4025979
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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