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Targeting neurotransmitter receptors with nanoparticles in vivo allows single-molecule tracking in acute brain slices

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Author(s)

Juan A Varela, Julien P Dupuis, Laetitia Etchepare, Agnès Espana, Laurent Cognet, Laurent Groc

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Abstract

Single-molecule imaging has changed the way we understand many biological mechanisms, particularly in neurobiology, by shedding light on intricate molecular events down to the nanoscale. However, current single-molecule studies in neuroscience have been limited to cultured neurons or organotypic slices, leaving as an open question the existence of fast receptor diffusion in intact brain tissue. Here, for the first time, we targeted dopamine receptors in vivo with functionalized quantum dots and were able to perform single-molecule tracking in acute rat brain slices. We propose a novel delocalized and non-inflammatory way of delivering nanoparticles (NPs) in vivo to the brain, which allowed us to label and track genetically engineered surface dopamine receptors in neocortical neurons, revealing inherent behaviour and receptor activity regulations. We thus propose a NP-based platform for single-molecule studies in the living brain, opening new avenues of research in physiological and pathological animal models.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number10947
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016

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