Use and visualization of neuroanatomical viral transneuronal tracers

J. Patrick Card, Lynn W. Enquist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Methods to define circuit organization in the brain are largely based upon the axonal transport capabilities of neurons. Numerous tracers have been developed since the 1970s that are sequestered by neurons and transported through axons in either the anterograde or retrograde directions. These tracers have been widely applied and are integral to the literature that has defined the functional organization of the nervous system. Nevertheless, with few exceptions these tracers do not cross synapses and therefore cannot provide insight into the polysynaptic organization of neurons devoted to a particular function. Viral transneuronal tracers introduced in the 1980s have been developed to fill this void. These tracers exploit the abilities of neurotropic viruses to invade neurons and generate infectious progeny that cross synapses to infect other neurons within a circuit. The method has become increasingly popular with the development of recombinant strains of virus that are reduced in virulence and express unique reporters. In this chapter we provide an overview of guidelines for the use of pseudorabies virus for transneuronal tracing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuromethods
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages44
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Alpha herpesvirus
  • Neurotropic
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • Reporter genes


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