UNIT 2.16 Use of Channelrhodopsin for Activation of CNS Neurons

  1. Jonathan P. Britt,
  2. Ross A. McDevitt,
  3. Antonello Bonci

Published Online: 1 JAN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0216s58

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Britt, J. P., McDevitt, R. A. and Bonci, A. 2012. Use of Channelrhodopsin for Activation of CNS Neurons. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 58:2.16:2.16.1–2.16.19.

Author Information

  1. Cellular Neurobiology Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse—Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2012
  2. Published Print: JAN 2012


Optogenetics—the use of optically activated proteins to control cell function—allows for control of neurons with an unprecedented degree of spatial, temporal, and neurochemical precision. Three protocols are presented in this unit describing the use of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated cation channel. These protocols emphasize practical issues of working with ChR2, including guidelines for selecting a gene delivery method, light source, and method of tissue implantation, as well as steps for fabricating fiber optic patch cables and chronic implantable optical fibers. The first protocol describes the use of ChR2 in electrophysiological recordings from brain slices. The second and third involve the use of ChR2 in vivo, with light delivered through chronic fiber implants or guide cannula. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 58:2.16.1-2.16.19. © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • optogenetics;
  • channelrhodopsin;
  • ChR2;
  • optical;
  • light;
  • laser;
  • LED