Review ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci., 05 April 2011 | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00048

Genetic approaches to reveal the connectivity of adult-born neurons

  • 1 Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
  • 2 Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
  • 3 Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

Much has been learned about the environmental and molecular factors that influence the division, migration, and programmed cell death of adult-born neurons in the mammalian brain. However, detailed knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the formation and maintenance of functional circuit connectivity via adult neurogenesis remains elusive. Recent advances in genetic technologies now afford the ability to precisely target discrete brain tissues, neuronal subtypes, and even single neurons for vital reporter expression and controlled activity manipulations. Here, I review current viral tracing methods, heterologous receptor expression systems, and optogenetic technologies that hold promise toward elucidating the wiring diagrams and circuit properties of adult-born neurons.

Keywords: neurogenesis, synapse, circuit, viruses, optogenetics, heterologous, trans-synaptic, monosynaptic

Citation: Arenkiel BR (2011) Genetic approaches to reveal the connectivity of adult-born neurons. Front. Neurosci. 5:48. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00048

Received: 11 January 2011; Accepted: 24 March 2011;
Published online: 05 April 2011.

Edited by:

Silvia De Marchis, University of Turin, Italy

Reviewed by:

Alan Carleton, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Serena Bovetti, University of Turin, Italy

Copyright: © 2011 Arenkiel. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Benjamin R. Arenkiel, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, 1250 Moursund Street, Suite 1165.0, Houston, TX 77030, USA. e-mail: arenkiel@bcm.edu

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