Research Article

Optogenetics: shining a light on the brain

James Butler

Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK

Received:

10 Jul 2011

Accepted:

12 Oct 2011

Published:

26 Dec 2011

Volume:

5

Issue:

1

Keywords:

Neural, neuron, brain, review, halorhodopsin, channelrhodopsin

Abstract:

In 2005, Boyden et al. used the protein channelrhodopsin-2 to generate the first ever light-induced action potential, involving a single component device. Since then, an explosion of so-called ‘optogenetic’ research has occurred. This abundance of new discoveries is reviewed here in depth. First, methods of targeting optogenetic techniques are discussed in brief. Next, both optogenetic sensors, used for observing neural circuits, and single-component optogenetic effectors, used for manipulating neural circuits, are assessed. The discoveries that these new technologies have led to is presented, current limitations of the respective technologies are examined and directions of future research discussed.

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