Melanopsin (OPN4) is a photosensitive G-protein-coupled photopigment and its ectopic expression enables control of neural activity induced by blue light. Here we report that we successfully expressed OPN4 in hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons of double-transgenic mice (orexin-tTA; Bitet-O human OPN4 [hOPN4]/mCherry mice). In the double-transgenic mice, hypothalamic orexin neurons selectively expressed hOPN4 as well as mCherry as a reporter. We conducted slice patch-clamp recordings on hOPN4/mCherry-expressing orexin neurons, which showed long-lasting activation initiated by blue light even after the light was switched off. Optical fiber-guided blue light stimulation in the hypothalamus successfully initiated the electroencephalography pattern that reflects long-lasting wakefulness in the mice in vivo. Taken together, the results indicate that ectopic expression of hOPN4 in orexin neurons enables long-lasting activation of orexin neurons by blue light to control sleep/wakefulness of the mice.
- Orexin/hypocretin neurons
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