Viral transsynaptic labeling has become indispensable for investigating the functional connectivity of neural circuits in the mammalian brain. Adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1) allows for anterograde transneuronal labeling and manipulation of postsynaptic neurons. However, it is limited to delivering an AAV1 expressing a recombinase which relies on using transgenic animals or genetic access to postsynaptic neurons. We reasoned that a strong expression level could overcome this limitation. To this end, we used a self-complementary AAV of serotype 1 (scAAV1) under a strong promoter (CAG). We demonstrated the anterograde transneuronal efficiency of scAAV1 by delivering a fluorescent marker in mouse retina-superior colliculus and thalamic-amygdala pathways in a recombinase-independent manner in the mouse brain. In addition to investigating neuronal connectivity, anterograde transsynaptic AAVs with a strong promoter may be suitable for functional mapping and imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalMolecular Brain
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • AAV
  • Neural-circuit
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Transsynaptic
  • Viral-tracing


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