To understand how the nervous system processes information, a map of the connections among neurons would be of great benefit. Here we describe the use of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) for tracing neuronal connections in vivo. We made VSV vectors that used glycoprotein (G) genes from several other viruses. The G protein from lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus endowed VSV with the ability to spread transsynaptically, specifically in an anterograde direction, whereas the rabies virus glycoprotein gave a specifically retrograde transsynaptic pattern. The use of an avian G protein fusion allowed specific targeting of cells expressing an avian receptor, which allowed a demonstration of monosynaptic anterograde tracing from defined cells. Synaptic connectivity of pairs of virally labeled cells was demonstrated by using slice cultures and electrophysiology. In vivo infections of several areas in the mouse brain led to the predicted patterns of spread for anterograde or retrograde tracers.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Sep 13 2011
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