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BRICseq bridges brain-wide interregional connectivity to neural activity and gene expression in single animals

By Longwen Huang, Justus M. Kebschull, Daniel Furth, Simon Musall, Matthew T. Kaufman, Anne K. Churchland, Anthony M. Zador

Posted 20 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/422477 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.029)

Comprehensive analysis of neuronal networks requires brain-wide measurement of connectivity, activity, and gene expression. Although high-throughput methods are available for mapping brain-wide activity and transcriptomes, comparable methods for mapping region-to-region connectivity remain slow and expensive because they require averaging across hundreds of brains. Here we describe BRICseq, which leverages DNA barcoding and sequencing to map connectivity from single individuals in a few weeks and at low cost. Applying BRICseq to the mouse neocortex, we find that region-to-region connectivity provides a simple bridge relating transcriptome to activity: The spatial expression patterns of a few genes predict region-to-region connectivity, and connectivity predicts activity correlations. We also exploited BRICseq to map the mutant BTBR mouse brain, which lacks a corpus callosum, and recapitulated its known connectopathies. BRICseq allows individual laboratories to compare how age, sex, environment, genetics and species affect neuronal wiring, and to integrate these with functional activity and gene expression.

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