A herpes simplex viral vector expressing green fluorescent protein can be used to visualize morphological changes in high-density neuronal culture

Torsten Falk, Lori Strazdas, Rebecca Borders, Ramsey Kilani, Andrea Yool, Scott Sherman
2001 EJB Electronic Journal of Biotechnology   unpublished
This paper is available on line at http://www.ejb.org/content/vol4/issue1/full/5 Falk, T. et al. 34 High-density cultures of mammalian neurons offer a model system for studies of brain development, but the morphological features of individual neurons is difficult to ascertain. We show that a herpes virus vector expressing a bioluminescent protein allows detailed morphometric analyses of living neurons in complex culture environments. Expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) was
more » ... rotein (eGFP) was constitutively driven in neurons using the herpes simplex virus amplicon system. This system allowed us to make novel observations regarding development in high-density cultures from rat hippocampus and cerebellum. After the phase of initial neurite outgrowth, maturing neurons continue to show rapid remodeling of the neurite branches (0.79 ± 0.11 µ µm/h per neurite; mean ± SEM, n=8), and displacement of the soma within the neurite arbor (1.35 ± 0.74 µ µm/h). These results demonstrate that a substantial capacity for morphological plasticity persists in maturing mammalian CNS neurons after cessation of net neurite outgrowth in early development.