Quantitative analysis of rabies virus-based synaptic connectivity tracing

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Monosynaptically restricted rabies viruses have been used for more than a decade for synaptic connectivity tracing. However, the verisimilitude of quantitative conclusions drawn from these experiments is largely unknown. The primary reason is the simple metrics commonly used, which generally disregard the effect of starter cell numbers. Here we present an experimental dataset with a broad range of starter cell numbers and explore their relationship with the number of input cells across the brain using descriptive statistics and modelling. We show that starter cell numbers strongly affect input fraction and convergence index measures, making quantitative comparisons unreliable. Furthermore, we suggest a principled way to analyse rabies derived connectivity data by taking advantage of the starter vs input cell relationship that we describe and validate across independent datasets.

Journal details

Journal PLOS ONE
Volume 18
Issue number 3
Pages e0278053
Available online
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities

Acknowledged team

Crick authors

Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author