Practical Considerations for the Use of DREADD and Other Chemogenetic Receptors to Regulate Neuronal Activity in the Mammalian Brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Chemogenetics is the process of genetically expressing a macromolecule receptor capable of modulating the activity of the cell in response to selective chemical ligand. This chapter will cover the chemogenetic technologies that are available to date, focusing on the commonly available engineered or otherwise modified ligand-gated ion channels and G-protein-coupled receptors in the context of neuromodulation. First, we will give a brief overview of each chemogenetic approach as well as in vitro/in vivo applications, then we will list their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we will provide tips for ligand application in each case.Each technology has specific limitations that make them more or less suitable for different applications in neuroscience although we will focus mainly on the most commonly used and versatile family named designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs or DREADDs. We here describe the most common cases where these can be implemented and provide tips on how and where these technologies can be applied in the field of neuroscience.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • Allatostatin, Chemogenetics, DREADD, Engineered receptors, G-Protein-coupled receptor, Gene therapy, GluCl, Ligand, Ligand-gated ion channel, Neuronal modulation, PSAM/PSEM, TRPV1
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-87
Number of pages29
JournalMethods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch