Optogenetics has revolutionized the study of functional neuronal circuitry (Boyden ES, Zhang F, Bamberg E, Nagel G, Deisseroth K. Nat Neurosci 8: 1263–1268, 2005; Deisseroth K. Nat Methods 8: 26–29, 2011). Although these techniques have been most successfully implemented in rodent models, they have the potential to be similarly impactful in studies of nonhuman primate brains. Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) have recently emerged as a candidate primate model for gene editing, providing a potentially powerful model for studies of neural circuitry and disease in primates. The application of viral transduction methods in marmosets for identifying and manipulating neuronal circuitry is a crucial step in developing this species for neuroscience research. In the present study we developed a novel, chronic method to successfully induce rapid photostimulation in individual cortical neurons transduced by adeno-associated virus to express channelrhodopsin (ChR2) in awake marmosets. We found that large proportions of neurons could be effectively photoactivated following viral transduction and that this procedure could be repeated for several months. These data suggest that techniques for viral transduction and optical manipulation of neuronal populations are suitable for marmosets and can be combined with existing behavioral preparations in the species to elucidate the functional neural circuitry underlying perceptual and cognitive processes.
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