Published: April 21st, 2023
This protocol details the procedure for imaging calcium responses in the superior colliculus (SC) of awake mice, including imaging single-neuron activity with two-photon microscopy while leaving the cortex intact in wild-type mice, and imaging the entire SC with wide-field microscopy in partial-cortex mutant mice.
The superior colliculus (SC), an evolutionarily conserved midbrain structure in all vertebrates, is the most sophisticated visual center before the emergence of the cerebral cortex. It receives direct inputs from ~30 types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), with each encoding a specific visual feature. It remains elusive whether the SC simply inherits retinal features or if additional and potentially de novo processing occurs in the SC. To reveal the neural coding of visual information in the SC, we provide here a detailed protocol to optically record visual responses with two complementary methods in awake mice. One method uses two-photon microscopy to image calcium activity at single-cell resolution without ablating the overlaying cortex, while the other uses wide-field microscopy to image the whole SC of a mutant mouse whose cortex is largely undeveloped. This protocol details these two methods, including animal preparation, viral injection, headplate implantation, plug implantation, data acquisition, and data analysis. The representative results show that the two-photon calcium imaging reveals visually evoked neuronal responses at single-cell resolution, and the wide-field calcium imaging reveals neural activity across the entire SC. By combining these two methods, one can reveal the neural coding in the SC at different scales, and such combination can also be applied to other brain regions.
The superior colliculus (SC) is an important visual center in all vertebrates. In mammals, it receives direct inputs from the retina and the visual cortex1. While optical recording has been widely applied to the cortex2,3,4,5, its application in the SC is hindered by poor optical accesss6,7,8,9,10,11,
All experimental procedures were performed in accordance with the animal welfare guidelines and approved by the IACUC at the Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing.
NOTE: The timeline for this protocol is as follows: 1) make the suction cup; 2) inject the virus; 3) implant the headplate; 4) after 3 weeks, implant the plug; 5) after a ~3 day recovery and habituation on the treadmill, perform two-photon/wide-field imaging.
1. Preparation of.......
Figures 1A,B show how to make the suction cup and the plugs, respectively. Figure 2 shows how to implant the plug successfully. After implanting the plug, the posterior-medial SC is exposed, as shown in Figure 2D. Figure 3 shows calcium responses of SC neurons from an example wild-type mouse imaged using two-photon microscopy. The triangular prism, which is easily captured under th.......
Critical steps in the protocol
The most critical step is the craniotomy in steps 5.2 and 5.3. First, the bone at 0.5 mm posterior to the lambda is thick and has blood vessels inside, which can cause bleeding during the drilling process. Adequate gel foam should be prepared to stop the bleeding. Second, there is a good chance of angiorrhexis when removing the bone just above the transverse sinus. For troubleshooting, one alternative approach is to thin the bone inside the oval and remove it piece by.......
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32271060). Y.-t.L. designed the research, performed the experiment, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript. Z.L. and R.W. performed the experiment.....
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|camera for widefield imaging
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|SuperBond C&B, Sun Medical Co, Ltd. Moriyama, Japan
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|Vector Core at Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing
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|Laboratory Animal Resource Center at Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing
|The Jackson Laboratory
|Christopher A. Walsh Lab
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