Defining the connections among neurons is critical to our understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system. Recombinant viruses engineered to transmit across synapses provide a powerful approach for the dissection of neuronal circuitry in vivo. We recently demonstrated that recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) can be endowed with anterograde or retrograde synaptic tracing ability by providing the virus with different glycoproteins. Here we extend the characterization of the transmission and gene expression of VSV with the rabies virus glycoprotein (RABV-G), and provide examples of its activity relative to the anterograde tracer form of rVSV. rVSV with RABV-G was found to drive strong expression of transgenes and to spread rapidly from neuron to neuron in only a retrograde manner. Depending upon how the RABV-G was delivered, VSV served as a polysynaptic or monosynaptic tracer, or was able to define projections through axonal uptake and retrograde transport. In animals co-infected with rVSV in its anterograde form, rVSV with RABV-G could be used to begin to characterize the similarities and differences in connections to a given area. rVSV with RABV-G provides a flexible, rapid, and versatile tracing tool that complements the previously described VSV-based anterograde transsynaptic tracer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Sensory Systems
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience