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Two-color, one-photon uncaging of glutamate and GABA.


Neuronal cells receive a variety of excitatory and inhibitory signals which they process to generate an output signal. In order to study the interaction between excitatory and inhibitory receptors with exogenously applied transmitters in the same preparation, two caging chromophores attached to glutamate and GABA were developed that were selectively photolyzed by different wavelengths of light. This technique has the advantage that the biologically inactive caged compound can be applied at equilibrium prior to the near instantaneous release of the transmitters. This method therefore mimics the kinetics of endogenously released transmitters that is otherwise not possible in brain slice preparations. Repeated photolysis with either of the two wavelengths resulted in GABA- or glutamate-induced activation of both ionotropic and metabotropic receptors to evoke reproducible currents. With these compounds, the interaction between inhibitory and excitatory receptors was examined using whole field photolysis.