The demonstration in the late 80s and early 90s that specific strains of herpes and rabies virus are transported transneuronally exclusively at synapses in a time and direction dependent fashion opened up a new era in experimental neuroanatomy. Virus transneuronal transport is uniquely able to reveal the cellular composition of multi-synaptic circuits. As a consequence, this technique is providing fundamental new insights into the functional architecture of sensory, motor, cognitive and affective circuits in th central nervous system. The Center for Neuroanatomy with Neurotropic Viruses (CNNV) was created in 2004 to provide the neuroscience community with access to the highly specialized reagents, training and facilities that are necessary to use neurotropic viruses as transneuronal tracers. We document in this application that the CNNV has become an essential national and international resource for an important segment of the neuroscience community. Users of the Center are funded by 12 different institutes of the NIH, NSF and by private foundations and international research organizations. The Center has established a strong history of providing well-characterized reagents, training and guidance in the use of the method, and specialized biohazard facilities for performing experiments using neurotropic viruses. The Center also has played a vital role in the development of new and improved transneuronal tracing tools that permit more targeted dissection of the functional architecture of neural circuits, and the Center has served as a critical technical and intellectual resource for those interested in using this novel method. The goal of this competitive renewal is to continue both the resource and research functions of the Center.

Public Health Relevance

The ability to treat disease and injury of the brain depends upon developing a fundamental understanding of the complex neural circuits that comprise the central nervous system. The use of neurotrophic viruses as transneuronal tracers provides a unique and powerful tool that reveals the functional organization of these complex circuits. The CNNV is a national resource that provides and develops the reagents for this purpose.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Animal (Mammalian and Nonmammalian) Model, and Animal and Biological Material Resource Grants (P40)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Watson, Harold L
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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