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Digital Imaging Applications Library
Spatially Selective Photoactivation of GFP in Neurons

Dr. Baris Bingol

Sheng Laboratory, Picower Institute for learning and memory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A neuron expressing red fluorescent protein (mCherry) and photoactivatable green fluorescent protein (PA-GFP) is shown. Before (top) and after (below) photoactivation of PA-GFP images show that proteins could be photoactivated in a spatially- selective fashion.

Research Focus & Application:

A single neuronal synapse is thought to comprise hundreds of distinct proteins. The goal of Dr. Morgan Sheng’s lab is to identify and understand these proteins, particularly those critical to memory formation. The lab’s progress in decoding the synaptic architecture may lead to a deeper understanding of how synaptic connections may go wrong in disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and autism.

Microscopy and Imaging Methods:

Photoactivatable GFP converts from a dark state to fluorescent state upon exposure to light at a wavelength of 405 nanometers. The ZEISS LSM 510 Meta can activate PA-GFP fusion proteins localized in discrete areas through the use of the Region of Interest (ROI) tool in the LSM software.