Cell Rep. 2023 Aug 4;42(8):112909. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112909. Online ahead of print.
Determining which features of the neural code drive behavior requires the ability to simultaneously read out and write in neural activity patterns with high precision across many neurons. All-optical systems that combine two-photon calcium imaging and targeted photostimulation enable the activation of specific, functionally defined groups of neurons. However, these techniques are unable to test how patterns of activity across a population contribute to computation because of an inability to both read and write cell-specific firing rates. To overcome this challenge, we make two advances: first, we introduce a genetic line of mice for Cre-dependent co-expression of a calcium indicator and a potent soma-targeted microbial opsin. Second, using this line, we develop a method for read-out and write-in of precise population vectors of neural activity by calibrating the photostimulation to each cell. These advances offer a powerful and convenient platform for investigating the neural codes of computation and behavior.