A number of new 'caged' intracellular second messengers and neurotransmitters have been developed using the photolabile o-nitrobenzyl group. This chemistry has also recently been exploited in novel ways, including the development of caged enzyme substrates and caged proteins. Although caged compounds continue to be used primarily for mechanistic (kinetic) studies of processes mediated by transmitters or second messengers, the spatial resolution afforded by the use of light to effect changes in transmitter concentrations has now been clearly demonstrated. The increased availability of caged compounds and of the technologies required to exploit them provides neurobiologists with powerful tools for probing neuronal response properties and connectivity patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996


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