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CRISPR-based transcriptional control of dopaminergic gene programs 

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Drugs of abuse increase dopamine concentrations in the nucleus accumbens, a key reward structure that integrates contextual and cue-related information and regulates motivated behavior. This surge of dopamine triggers cell signaling cascades that converge in the nucleus to cause changes in gene expression, which are thought to lead to the observed functional and structural alterations in the reward circuit after exposure to drugs of abuse.

In this study, a multiplexed CRISPR sgRNA delivery system was used to recreate a dopamine-induced gene expression program in cultured striatal neurons.  Microelectrode array (MEA) was integrated with this approach to identify how dopamine-regulated gene programs influence neuronal physiology and function.