The Seven Stones

Visualizing the neuroanatomical code of memory

In a very elegant study published last week in Science, Mark Mayford and colleagues use a synthetic bistable genetic switch to visualize the activity of neurons during associative learning in mice (Reijmers et al, 2007). The reporter system (called TetTag) has two components (see drawing, adapted from Reijmers et al, 2007): 1) the tTA transactivator (tetR-VP16) is placed under the control of the immediate-early gene fos; 2) a tetO-regulated bidirectional promoter drives the expression of both a tau-LacZ reporter and a mutated tetracycline-insensitive version of the tet transactivator, *tTA (tTAH100Y). 


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