What is optogenetic silencing?


I just came across it in a research paper and can’t work out what it means. Context:

> Optogenetic silencing of this sparse ABN [adult-born neuron] activity during REM sleep alters the structural remodelling of spines on ABN dendrites and impairs memory consolidation.

Does it mean they kind of “switched off” the ABNs? I’ve tried googling but there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation. I don’t even need all the ins and outs, just a super basic overview of what this means. Thank you! 🙂

In: 1

You didn’t give much to go on, do here’s my ten cent answer.

Photoreceptor cells in your retina turn off when light hits them; and we know the genes needed for that process and reactivity. They added that function to a specific group of neurons, so they can run a fiber optic fiber into the brain of the mouse and selectively turn off neurons in specific areas of the brain.