Spotlighting the brain

IMAGE: FlicR1 translates the electrical signals between neurons into fluorescence that can be easily measured using conventional widefield fluorescence microscopy. view more Credit: Courtesy Ahmed Abdelfattah Scientists have now described the engineering of a bright red fluorescent protein-based voltage indicator, providing pathways to understanding complex neurological disorders. Designated as FlicR1 (fluorescent indicator for voltage imaging red), these indicators enable imaging of the electrical activity of many genetically targeted neurons with high spatial and temporal resolution. Led by the University of Alberta with support from colleagues at Harvard and Yale, FlicR1 has sufficient speed and sensitivity to report single action potentials and voltage fluctuations at frequencies up to 100 Hz in single-trial recordings with wide-field microscopy. What does this mean for the average citizen? “Neuronal disorders have a profound and constantly growing…

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