Curr. Opin. Neuro. 22: 1-10.
The development of advanced optical methods has played a key role in propelling progress in neurobiology. Genetically-encoded fluorescent molecules found in nature have enabled labeling of individual neurons to study their physiology and anatomy. Here we discuss the recent use of both native and synthetic optical highlighter proteins to address key problems in neurobiology, including questions relevant to synaptic function, neuroanatomy, and the organization of neural circuits.