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Basal forebrain GABAergic neurons promote arousal and predato
AAV-hChR2 was used for optogenetic manipulation. (From BrainVTA)
The viruses used in this article are in the table below
CRE Recombinase  PT-0346 AAV-Vgat-Cre
Optogenetic  PT-0002 AAV-Ef1α-DIO-ChR2-mCherry
Ping Cai, Li Chen, Yu-Rou Guo, Jing Yao, Hui-Yun Chen, Yi-Ping Lu, Sheng-Nan Huang, Peng He, Ze-Hong Zheng, Ji-Yuan Liu, Jian Chen, Li-Huan Hu, Shang-Yi Chen, Le-Tong Huang, Guo-Qiang Chen, Wei-Tao Tang, Wei-Kun Su, Huang-Yuan Li, Wen-Xiang Wang, Chang-Xi Yu
Pub Date: 2020-09-09, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108299, Email:
Predatory hunting is an important approach for animals to obtain valuable nutrition and energy, which critically depends on heightened arousal. Yet the neural substrates underlying predatory hunting remain largely undefined. Here, we report that basal forebrain (BF) GABAergic neurons play an important role in regulating predatory hunting. Our results showed that BF GABAergic neurons were activated during the prey (cricket)-hunting and food feeding in mice. Optogenetic activation of BF GABAergic neurons evoked immediate predatory-like actions to both artificial and natural preys, significantly reducing the attack latency while increasing the attack probability and the number of killed natural prey (crickets). Similar to the effect of activating the soma of BF GABAergic neurons, photoactivation of their terminals in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) also strongly promotes predatory hunting. Moreover, photoactivation of GABAergic BF - VTA pathway significantly increases the intake of various food in mice. By synchronous recording of electroencephalogram and electromyogram, we showed that photoactivation of GABAergic BF - VTA pathway induces instant arousal and maintains long-term wakefulness. In summary, our results clearly demonstrated that the GABAergic BF is a key neural substrate for predatory hunting, and promotes this behavior through GABAergic BF - VTA pathway.

Figure 1. BF GABAergic Neurons are Activated During Predation and Feeding.
The study is aimed to explore the association between the BF GABAergic neurons and the neural circuit underlying predatory hunting. Combining optogenetic manipulation and the anterograde activation with synchronous electroencephalogram (EEG)/electromyogram (EMG) recording, the study clearly illustrated that BF GABAergic is a key node in the neural circuits regulating predatory hunting, which promotes this behavior through its projection to VTA.
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