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Chronic Ca2+ imaging of cortical neurons with long-term expression of GCaMP-X

Citation

Geng, Jinli et al. (2022), Chronic Ca2+ imaging of cortical neurons with long-term expression of GCaMP-X, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zw3r22893

Abstract

Dynamic Ca2+ signals reflect acute changes in membrane excitability and also mediate signaling cascades in chronic processes. In both cases, chronic Ca2+ imaging is often desired but challenged by the cytotoxicity intrinsic to calmodulin (CaM)-based GCaMP, a series of genetically-encoded Ca2+ indicators that have been widely applied. Here, we demonstrate the performance of GCaMP-X in chronic Ca2+ imaging of cortical neurons, where GCaMP-X by design is to eliminate the unwanted interactions between the conventional GCaMP and endogenous (apo)CaM-binding proteins. By expressing in adult mice at high levels over an extended time frame, GCaMP-X showed less damage and improved performance in two-photon imaging of sensory (whisker-deflection) responses or spontaneous Ca2+ fluctuations, in comparison with GCaMP. Chronic Ca2+ imaging of one month or longer was conducted for cultured cortical neurons expressing GCaMP-X, unveiling that spontaneous/local Ca2+ transients progressively developed into autonomous/global Ca2+ oscillations. Along with the morphological indices of neurite length and soma size, the major metrics of oscillatory Ca2+, including rate, amplitude and synchrony were also examined. Dysregulations of both neuritogenesis and Ca2+ oscillations became discernible around 23 weeks after virus injection or drug induction to express GCaMP in newborn or mature neurons, which were exacerbated by stronger or prolonged expression of GCaMP. In contrast, neurons expressing GCaMP-X were significantly less damaged or perturbed, altogether highlighting the unique importance of oscillatory Ca2+ to neural development and neuronal health. In summary, GCaMP-X provides a viable solution for Ca2+ imaging applications involving long-time and/or high-level expression of Ca2+ probes. 

Methods

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Usage Notes

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Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 81971728

Natural Science Foundation of Beijing Municipality, Award: 7191006

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 32170998

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 11902021

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: U20A20390; 11827803