Neuromodulatory systems exert profound influences on brain function. Understanding how these systems modify the operating mode of target circuits requires measuring spatiotemporally precise neuromodulator release. We developed dLight1, an intensity-based genetically encoded dopamine indicator, to enable optical recording of dopamine dynamics with high spatiotemporal resolution in behaving mice. We demonstrated the utility of dLight1 by imaging dopamine dynamics simultaneously with pharmacological manipulation, electrophysiological or optogenetic stimulation, and calcium imaging of local neuronal activity. dLight1 enabled chronic tracking of learning-induced changes in millisecond dopamine transients in striatum. Further, we used dLight1 to image spatially distinct, functionally heterogeneous dopamine transients relevant to learning and motor control in cortex. We also validated our sensor design platform for developing norepinephrine, serotonin, melatonin, and opioid neuropeptide indicators.
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