Viral vectors for circuit analysis
Mono-trans-synaptic retrograde tracing (“monosynaptic” tracing) with modified G-deficient rabies virus (ΔG RABV) as introduced 10 years ago has emerged as a superb technology for mapping of direct neuronal connections. The present project Z01 is developing and producing novel and improved RABV-derived vectors for tracing connections and enhanced readout, as well as manipulation of neuronal activity and circuit function. In addition, we are investigating the factors governing the mechanism behind the exclusive transsynaptic transmission of RABV. The studies are not only aimed at improving the current retrograde RABV tracers but also to extend the system to future anterograde tracers, and for devising ways to generate alternative transsynaptic viruses, including DNA viruses, or non-viral tracing strategies where neuronal connection can be analyzed by high throughput methodologies.