Mar 31, 2020

New and improved GRAB fluorescent sensors for monitoring dopaminergic activity in vivo

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Robert KoflerYulong Li


The monoamine neuromodulator dopamine (DA) plays a critical role in the brain, and the ability to directly measure dopaminergic activity is essential for understanding its physiological functions. We therefore developed the first red fluorescent GPCR-activation-based DA (GRABDA) sensors and optimized versions of green fluorescent GRABDA sensors following our previous studies. In response to extracellular DA, both the red and green GRABDA sensors have a large increase in fluorescence ({Delta}F/F0 values of 150% and 340%, respectively), with subcellular resolution, subsecond kinetics, and nanomolar to submicromolar affinity. Moreover, both the red and green GRABDA sensors readily resolve evoked DA release in mouse brain slices, detect compartmental DA release in live flies with single-cell resolution, and report optogenetically elicited nigrostriatal DA release as well as mesoaccumbens dopaminergic activity during sexual behavior in freely behaving mice. Importantly, co-expressing red GRABDA with either green GRABDA or the calcium indicator GCaMP6s provides a robust tool for simultaneously tracking neuronal activity and dopaminergic signaling in distinct circuits in vivo.

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