Treatments that stimulate neuronal excitability enhance motor performance after stroke. cAMP-response-element binding protein (CREB) is a transcription factor that plays a key role in neuronal excitability. Increasing the levels of CREB with a viral vector in a small pool of motor neurons enhances motor recovery after stroke, while blocking CREB signaling prevents stroke recovery. Silencing CREB-transfected neurons in the peri-infarct region with the hM4Di-DREADD blocks motor recovery. Reversing this inhibition allows recovery to continue, demonstrating that by manipulating the activity of CREB-transfected neurons it is possible to turn off and on stroke recovery. CREB transfection enhances remapping of injured somatosensory and motor circuits, and induces the formation of new connections within these circuits. CREB is a central molecular node in the circuit responses after stroke that lead to recovery from motor deficits.