Optogenetics is the combination of genetic and optical methods to achieve gain or loss of function of well-defined events in specific cells of living tissue. Optognetics is like a light sensitive switch. The method allows staining, enhancing or decreasing the activity of neural, retinal or cardiac cell populations just in using light. This optical control of the cells is fast (millisecond-scale) precise (cell specific) and reversible. Optogenetics approaches have opened new landscapes for the study of biology, both in health and disease.


In neurology, optogenetics is a method of choice to trace functional neurocircuit in the brain.  For example, ChR2 and NpHR allow to excite and inhibit particular neurons, respectively, and thereby to control excitability by applying different excitation wavelengths even when these modified neurons coexist in a particular region of interest (figure below).

Optogenetics -

(Deisseroth K 1 al, 2015)

However, this strategy needs an efficient transfer of Chr2 or NpHR in the brain. For this purpose, lentiviral vector is a tool of choice given its high efficiency in vivo, its large cargo capacity which easily allows including reporter genes with Chr2 and NpHR. Furthermore, its low diffusion after injection in the brain allows a spatial specificity which is preferable in optogenetics context.

GEG Tech provides Chr2 and NpHR lentiviral vectors with many options (promoters, integrase….) fused to GFP. However, if you need another promoter or another reporter, no problem, just tell us and we design it for you. You can also contact us if you have question about optogenetic & lentiviral vectors.


Lentiviral vectors as tools to understand central nervous system biology in mammalian model organisms. Parr-Brownlie LC, Bosch-Bouju C, Schoderboeck L Front Mol. Neurosci. 2015 May 18 doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2015.00014 

Optogenetic approaches to characterize the long-range synaptic pathways fromthe hypothalamus to brain stem autonomic nuclei. Pinol RA, Bateman R, Mendelowitz D J Neurosci Methods. 2012 Sep; 210(2):238-246. Pubmed

An optogenetic toolbox designed for primates. Diester I, Kaufman MT, Murtaza M Nat Neurosci. 2011 Mar; 14(3);387-397. Pubmed