Targeted Transgene Expression in Cholinergic Interneurons in the Monkey Striatum Using Canine Adenovirus Serotype 2 Vectors


  • Martel Anne-Caroline
  • Elseedy Heba
  • Lavigne Marina
  • Scapula Jennyfer
  • Ghestem Antoine
  • Kremer Eric J.
  • Esclapez Monique
  • Apicella Paul


  • Acetylcholine
  • Microcircuit analysis
  • Basal ganglia
  • Viral vectors
  • Nonhuman primate

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The striatum, the main input structure of the basal ganglia, is critical for action selection and adaptive motor control. To understand the neuronal mechanisms underlying these functions, an analysis of microcircuits that compose the striatum is necessary. Among these, cholinergic interneurons (ChIs) provide intrinsic striatal innervation whose dysfunction is implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Tourette syndrome. The ability to experimentally manipulate the activity of ChIs is critical to gain insights into their contribution to the normal function of the striatum and the emergence of behavioral abnormalities in pathological states. In this study, we generated and tested CAV-pChAT-GFP, a replication-defective canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) vector carrying the green fluorescent protein (GFP) sequence under the control of the human choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) promoter. We first tested the potential specificity of CAV-pChAT-GFP to label striatal ChIs in a rat before performing experiments on two macaque monkeys. In the vector-injected rat and monkey striatum, we found that GFP expression preferentially colocalized with ChAT-immunoreactivity throughout the striatum, including those from local circuit interneurons. CAV-2 vectors containing transgene driven by the ChAT promoter provide a powerful tool for investigating ChI contributions to circuit function and behavior in nonhuman primates.

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