Neuronal Activity at Synapse Resolution: Reporters and Effectors for Synaptic Neuroscience

Francesco Gobbo*, Antonino Cattaneo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The development of methods for the activity-dependent tagging of neurons enabled a new way to tackle the problem of engram identification at the cellular level, giving rise to groundbreaking findings in the field of memory studies. However, the resolution of activity-dependent tagging remains limited to the whole-cell level. Notably, events taking place at the synapse level play a critical role in the establishment of new memories, and strong experimental evidence shows that learning and synaptic plasticity are tightly linked. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the currently available techniques that enable to identify and track the neuronal activity with synaptic spatial resolution. We also present recent technologies that allow to selectively interfere with specific subsets of synapses. Lastly, we discuss how these technologies can be applied to the study of learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572312
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020


  • imaging
  • synapse
  • synaptic activity indicators
  • synaptic activity reporter
  • synaptic engram


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