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Modeling Study of the Light Stimulation of a Neuron Cell With Channelrhodopsin-2 Mutants

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Patrick Degenaar


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Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) has become a widely used tool for stimulating neurons with light. Nevertheless, the underlying dynamics of the ChR2-evoked spikes are still not yet fully understood. Here, we develop a model that describes the response of ChR2-expressing neurons to light stimuli and use the model to explore the light-to-spike process. We show that an optimal stimulation yield is achieved when the optical energies are delivered in short pulses. The model allows us to theoretically examine the effects of using various types of ChR2 mutants. We show that while increasing the lifetime and shuttering speed of ChR2 have limited effect, reducing the threshold irradiance by increased conductance will eliminate adaptation and allow constant dynamic range. The model and the conclusion presented in this study can help to interpret experimental results, design illumination protocols, and seek improvement strategies in the nascent optogenetic field.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grossman N, Nikolic K, Toumazou C, Degenaar P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering

Year: 2011

Volume: 58

Issue: 6

Pages: 1742-1751

Print publication date: 14/02/2011

ISSN (print): 0018-9294

ISSN (electronic): 1558-2531

Publisher: IEEE


DOI: 10.1109/TBME.2011.2114883


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Funder referenceFunder name
University of London Central Research
F029241U.K. Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council
F021127U.K. Biological and Biotechnology Research Council
H024581U.K. Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council