Curated Optogenetic Publication Database

Search precisely and efficiently by using the advantage of the hand-assigned publication tags that allow you to search for papers involving a specific trait, e.g. a particular optogenetic switch or a host organism.

Showing 1 - 25 of 285 results

Killing cells using light (activated) sabers.

blue Cryptochromes Review
J Cell Biol, 16 May 2022 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.202205018 Link to full text
Abstract: Many types of regulated cell death exist, however the non-cell autonomous effects of specific forms of cell death remain poorly understood. Addressing this, Shkarina et al. (2022. J. Cell Biol. describe an optogenetic method to activate distinct modes of cell death in select cells.

Molecular Research on Oral Diseases and Related Biomaterials: A Journey from Oral Cell Models to Advanced Regenerative Perspectives.

red Phytochromes Review
Int J Mol Sci, 9 May 2022 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23095288 Link to full text
Abstract: Oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer affect millions of people worldwide. Much research has been conducted to understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these diseases and translate this knowledge into therapeutics. This review aims to take the reader on a journey from the initial molecular discoveries to complex regenerative issues in oral medicine. For this, a semi-systematic literature search was carried out in Medline and Web of Science databases to retrieve the primary literature describing oral cell models and biomaterial applications in oral regenerative medicine. First, an in vitro cell model of gingival keratinocytes is discussed, which illustrates patho- and physiologic principles in the context of oral epithelial homeostasis and carcinogenesis and represents a cellular tool to understand biomaterial-based approaches for periodontal tissue regeneration. Consequently, a layered gradient nonwoven (LGN) is described, which demonstrates that the key features of biomaterials serve as candidates for oral tissue regeneration. LGN supports proper tissue formation and obeys the important principles for molecular mechanotransduction. Furthermore, current biomaterial-based tissue regeneration trends, including polymer modifications, cell-based treatments, antimicrobial peptides and optogenetics, are introduced to represent the full spectrum of current approaches to oral disease mitigation and prevention. Altogether, this review is a foray through established and new concepts in oral regenerative medicine and illustrates the process of knowledge translation from basic molecular and cell biological research to future clinical applications.

Peeking under the hood of early embryogenesis: Using tools and synthetic biology to understand native control systems and sculpt tissues.

blue red Cryptochromes Phytochromes Review
Semin Cell Dev Biol, 4 May 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.04.016 Link to full text
Abstract: Early embryogenesis requires rapid division of pluripotent blastomeres, regulated genome activation, precise spatiotemporal signaling to pattern cell fate, and morphogenesis to shape primitive tissue architectures. The complexity of this process has inspired researchers to move beyond simple genetic perturbation into engineered devices and synthetic biology tools to permit temporal and spatial manipulation of the control systems guiding development. By precise alteration of embryo organization, it is now possible to advance beyond basic analytical strategies and directly test the sufficiency of models for developmental regulation. Separately, advances in micropatterning and embryoid culture have facilitated the bottom-up construction of complex embryo tissues allowing ex vivo systems to recapitulate even later stages of development. Embryos fertilized and grown ex vivo offer an excellent opportunity to exogenously perturb fundamental pathways governing embryogenesis. Here we review the technologies developed to thermally modulate the embryo cell cycle, and optically regulate morphogen and signaling pathways in space and time, specifically in the blastula embryo. Additionally, we highlight recent advances in cell patterning in two and three dimensions that have helped reveal the self-organizing properties and gene regulatory networks guiding early embryo organization.

Engineered Allosteric Regulation of Protein Function.

blue LOV domains Review
J Mol Biol, 2 May 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2022.167620 Link to full text
Abstract: Allosteric regulation of proteins has been utilized to study various aspects of cell signaling, from unicellular events to organism-wide phenotypes. However, traditional methods of allosteric regulation, such as constitutively active mutants and inhibitors, lack tight spatiotemporal control. This often leads to unintended signaling consequences that interfere with data interpretation. To overcome these obstacles, researchers employed protein engineering approaches that enable tight control of protein function through allosteric mechanisms. These methods provide high specificity as well as spatial and temporal precision in regulation of protein activity in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we focus on the recent advancements in engineered allosteric regulation and discuss the various bioengineered allosteric techniques available now, from chimeric GPCRs to chemogenetic and optogenetic switches. We highlight the benefits and pitfalls of each of these techniques as well as areas in which future improvements can be made. Additionally, we provide a brief discussion on implementation of engineered allosteric regulation approaches, demonstrating that these tools can shed light on elusive biological events and have the potential to be utilized in precision medicine.

Design and engineering of light-sensitive protein switches.

blue green near-infrared red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Struct Biol, 20 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1016/ Link to full text
Abstract: Engineered, light-sensitive protein switches are used to interrogate a broad variety of biological processes. These switches are typically constructed by genetically fusing naturally occurring light-responsive protein domains with functional domains from other proteins. Protein activity can be controlled using a variety of mechanisms including light-induced colocalization, caging, and allosteric regulation. Protein design efforts have focused on reducing background signaling, maximizing the change in activity upon light stimulation, and perturbing the kinetics of switching. It is common to combine structure-based modeling with experimental screening to identify ideal fusion points between domains and discover point mutations that optimize switching. Here, we introduce commonly used light-sensitive domains and summarize recent progress in using them to regulate protein activity.

Optogenetic tools for microbial synthetic biology.

blue green near-infrared red BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biotechnol Adv, 6 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2022.107953 Link to full text
Abstract: Chemical induction is one of the most common modalities used to manipulate gene expression in living systems. However, chemical induction can be toxic or expensive that compromise the economic feasibility when it comes to industrial-scale synthetic biology applications. These complications have driven the pursuit of better induction systems. Optogenetics technique can be a solution as it not only enables dynamic control with unprecedented spatiotemporal precision but also is inexpensive and eco-friendlier. The optogenetic technique harnesses natural light-sensing modules that are genetically encodable and re-programmable in various hosts. By further engineering these modules to connect with the microbial regulatory machinery, gene expression and protein activity can be finely tuned simply through light irradiation. Recent works on applying optogenetics to microbial synthetic biology have yielded remarkable achievements. To further expand the usability of optogenetics, more optogenetic tools with greater portability that are compatible with different microbial hosts need to be developed. This review focuses on non-opsin optogenetic systems and the current state of optogenetic advancements in microbes, by showcasing the different designs and functions of optogenetic tools, followed by an insight into the optogenetic approaches used to circumvent challenges in synthetic biology.

Red-shifted optogenetics comes to the spotlight.

near-infrared red Phytochromes Review
Clin Transl Med, Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1002/ctm2.807 Link to full text
Abstract: Abstract not available.

A guide to designing photocontrol in proteins: methods, strategies and applications.

blue green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biol Chem, 31 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1515/hsz-2021-0417 Link to full text
Abstract: Light is essential for various biochemical processes in all domains of life. In its presence certain proteins inside a cell are excited, which either stimulates or inhibits subsequent cellular processes. The artificial photocontrol of specifically proteins is of growing interest for the investigation of scientific questions on the organismal, cellular and molecular level as well as for the development of medicinal drugs or biocatalytic tools. For the targeted design of photocontrol in proteins, three major methods have been developed over the last decades, which employ either chemical engineering of small-molecule photosensitive effectors (photopharmacology), incorporation of photoactive non-canonical amino acids by genetic code expansion (photoxenoprotein engineering), or fusion with photoreactive biological modules (hybrid protein optogenetics). This review compares the different methods as well as their strategies and current applications for the light-regulation of proteins and provides background information useful for the implementation of each technique.

B12-dependent photoreceptor protein as an emerging tool for materials synthetic biology.

green Cobalamin-binding domains Review
Smart Materials in Medicine, 8 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.smaim.2022.03.004 Link to full text
Abstract: Controlling biomolecular interactions with light has gained traction among biomedical researchers due to its high spatiotemporal precision. Although a variety of photoresponsive chemical moieties are readily available thanks to the efforts made by chemists, genetically encoded photoswitches, also known as optogenetic tools, that are compatible with complex biological systems remain highly desirable. Recently, detailed mechanistic studies of the B12-dependent bacterial photoreceptor CarH have provided researchers with some new approaches to materials synthetic biology. Further development of this emerging molecular tool will continue to benefit future materials science and optogenetics.

Optogenetics Illuminates Applications in Microbial Engineering.

blue green red UV violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng, 23 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-092120-092340 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics has been used in a variety of microbial engineering applications, such as chemical and protein production, studies of cell physiology, and engineered microbe-host interactions. These diverse applications benefit from the precise spatiotemporal control that light affords, as well as its tunability, reversibility, and orthogonality. This combination of unique capabilities has enabled a surge of studies in recent years investigating complex biological systems with completely new approaches. We briefly describe the optogenetic tools that have been developed for microbial engineering, emphasizing the scientific advancements that they have enabled. In particular, we focus on the unique benefits and applications of implementing optogenetic control, from bacterial therapeutics to cybergenetics. Finally, we discuss future research directions, with special attention given to the development of orthogonal multichromatic controls. With an abundance of advantages offered by optogenetics, the future is bright in microbial engineering. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Volume 13 is October 2022. Please see for revised estimates.

Optogenetic Application to Investigating Cell Behavior and Neurological Disease.

blue near-infrared red UV Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Front Cell Neurosci, 22 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2022.811493 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells reside in a dynamic microenvironment that presents them with regulatory signals that vary in time, space, and amplitude. The cell, in turn, interprets these signals and accordingly initiates downstream processes including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and self-organization. Conventional approaches to perturb and investigate signaling pathways (e.g., agonist/antagonist addition, overexpression, silencing, knockouts) are often binary perturbations that do not offer precise control over signaling levels, and/or provide limited spatial or temporal control. In contrast, optogenetics leverages light-sensitive proteins to control cellular signaling dynamics and target gene expression and, by virtue of precise hardware control over illumination, offers the capacity to interrogate how spatiotemporally varying signals modulate gene regulatory networks and cellular behaviors. Recent studies have employed various optogenetic systems in stem cell, embryonic, and somatic cell patterning studies, which have addressed fundamental questions of how cell-cell communication, subcellular protein localization, and signal integration affect cell fate. Other efforts have explored how alteration of signaling dynamics may contribute to neurological diseases and have in the process created physiologically relevant models that could inform new therapeutic strategies. In this review, we focus on emerging applications within the expanding field of optogenetics to study gene regulation, cell signaling, neurodevelopment, and neurological disorders, and we comment on current limitations and future directions for the growth of the field.

New developments in the biology of fibroblast growth factors.

blue Cryptochromes LOV domains Review
WIREs Mech Dis, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.1549 Link to full text
Abstract: The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family is composed of 18 secreted signaling proteins consisting of canonical FGFs and endocrine FGFs that activate four receptor tyrosine kinases (FGFRs 1-4) and four intracellular proteins (intracellular FGFs or iFGFs) that primarily function to regulate the activity of voltage-gated sodium channels and other molecules. The canonical FGFs, endocrine FGFs, and iFGFs have been reviewed extensively by us and others. In this review, we briefly summarize past reviews and then focus on new developments in the FGF field since our last review in 2015. Some of the highlights in the past 6 years include the use of optogenetic tools, viral vectors, and inducible transgenes to experimentally modulate FGF signaling, the clinical use of small molecule FGFR inhibitors, an expanded understanding of endocrine FGF signaling, functions for FGF signaling in stem cell pluripotency and differentiation, roles for FGF signaling in tissue homeostasis and regeneration, a continuing elaboration of mechanisms of FGF signaling in development, and an expanding appreciation of roles for FGF signaling in neuropsychiatric diseases. This article is categorized under: Cardiovascular Diseases > Molecular and Cellular Physiology Neurological Diseases > Molecular and Cellular Physiology Congenital Diseases > Stem Cells and Development Cancer > Stem Cells and Development.

A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biophys physicobiology, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.2142/biophysico.bppb-v19.0004 Link to full text
Abstract: Lives have acquired a variety of photoreceptive proteins which absorb light in the UV to far-red region during the evolution, such as many different types of rhodopsin, blue-light receptors including cryptochrome and phototropin, and red/far-red light photochromic phytochromes. After the long-time studies on the molecular mechanism of their action, they have been applied to various photobiological studies. Recent advancement in the research field is remarkable and brought many fruitful results especially in optogenetics. To introduce some of these results, we organized a symposium named “A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics” at the 59th annual meeting of the Biological Society of Japan (BSJ) in November 2021. The symposium was co-organized by a research area of the Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology Program (PRESTO) named “Optical Control”, directed by Prof. Shichida (Ritsumeikan University), sponsored by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). We invited 4 PRESTO members and 2 other researchers to cover the light absorption region from blue to far-red (Figure 1).

Advances in Ophthalmic Optogenetics: Approaches and Applications.

blue Cryptochromes Review
Biomolecules, 8 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3390/biom12020269 Link to full text
Abstract: Recent advances in optogenetics hold promise for vision restoration in degenerative eye diseases. Optogenetics refers to techniques that use light to control the cellular activity of targeted cells. Although optogenetics is a relatively new technology, multiple therapeutic options are already being explored in pre-clinical and phase I/II clinical trials with the aim of developing novel, safe, and effective treatments for major blinding eye diseases, such as glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Optogenetic approaches to visual restoration are primarily aimed at replacing lost or dysfunctional photoreceptors by inserting light-sensitive proteins into downstream retinal neurons that have no intrinsic light sensitivity. Such approaches are attractive because they are agnostic to the genetic causes of retinal degeneration, which raises hopes that all forms of retinal dystrophic and degenerative diseases could become treatable. Optogenetic strategies can also have a far-reaching impact on translational research by serving as important tools to study the pathogenesis of retinal degeneration and to identify clinically relevant therapeutic targets. For example, the CRY-CIBN optogenetic system has been recently applied to animal models of glaucoma, suggesting a potential role of OCRL in the regulation of intraocular pressure in trabecular meshwork. As optogenetic strategies are being intensely investigated, it appears crucial to consider the opportunities and challenges such therapies may offer. Here, we review the more recent promising optogenetic molecules, vectors, and applications of optogenetics for the treatment of retinal degeneration and glaucoma. We also summarize the preliminary results of ongoing clinical trials for visual restoration.

Optogenetic and Chemical Induction Systems for Regulation of Transgene Expression in Plants: Use in Basic and Applied Research.

blue green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Int J Mol Sci, 3 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23031737 Link to full text
Abstract: Continuous and ubiquitous expression of foreign genes sometimes results in harmful effects on the growth, development and metabolic activities of plants. Tissue-specific promoters help to overcome this disadvantage, but do not allow one to precisely control transgene expression over time. Thus, inducible transgene expression systems have obvious benefits. In plants, transcriptional regulation is usually driven by chemical agents under the control of chemically-inducible promoters. These systems are diverse, but usually contain two elements, the chimeric transcription factor and the reporter gene. The commonly used chemically-induced expression systems are tetracycline-, steroid-, insecticide-, copper-, and ethanol-regulated. Unlike chemical-inducible systems, optogenetic tools enable spatiotemporal, quantitative and reversible control over transgene expression with light, overcoming limitations of chemically-inducible systems. This review updates and summarizes optogenetic and chemical induction methods of transgene expression used in basic plant research and discusses their potential in field applications.

Mouse Model for Optogenetic Genome Engineering.

blue LOV domains Review
Acta Med Okayama, Feb 2022 DOI: 10.18926/amo/63202 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics, a technology to manipulate biological phenomena thorough light, has attracted much attention in neuroscience. Recently, the Magnet System, a photo-inducible protein dimerization system which can control the intracellular behavior of various biomolecules with high accuracy using light was developed. Furthermore, photoactivation systems for controlling biological phenomena are being developed by combining this technique with genome-editing technology (CRISPR/Cas9 System) or DNA recombination technology (Cre-loxP system). Herein, we review the history of optogenetics and the latest Magnet System technology and introduce our recently developed photoactivatable Cre knock-in mice with temporal-, spatial-, and cell-specific accuracy.

Optophysiology: Illuminating cell physiology with optogenetics.

blue cyan green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Physiol Rev, 24 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00021.2021 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics combines light and genetics to enable precise control of living cells, tissues, and organisms with tailored functions. Optogenetics has the advantages of noninvasiveness, rapid responsiveness, tunable reversibility, and superior spatiotemporal resolution. Following the initial discovery of microbial opsins as light-actuated ion channels, a plethora of naturally occurring or engineered photoreceptors or photosensitive domains that respond to light at varying wavelengths has ushered in the next chapter of optogenetics. Through protein engineering and synthetic biology approaches, genetically encoded photoswitches can be modularly engineered into protein scaffolds or host cells to control a myriad of biological processes, as well as to enable behavioral control and disease intervention in vivo. Here, we summarize these optogenetic tools on the basis of their fundamental photochemical properties to better inform the chemical basis and design principles. We also highlight exemplary applications of opsin-free optogenetics in dissecting cellular physiology (designated "optophysiology") and describe the current progress, as well as future trends, in wireless optogenetics, which enables remote interrogation of physiological processes with minimal invasiveness. This review is anticipated to spark novel thoughts on engineering next-generation optogenetic tools and devices that promise to accelerate both basic and translational studies.

Towards translational optogenetics.

blue cyan red UV Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Nat Biomed Eng, 13 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41551-021-00829-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is widely used to interrogate the neural circuits underlying disease and has most recently been harnessed for therapeutic applications. The optogenetic toolkit consists of light-responsive proteins that modulate specific cellular functions, vectors for the delivery of the transgenes that encode the light-responsive proteins to targeted cellular populations, and devices for the delivery of light of suitable wavelengths at effective fluence rates. A refined toolkit with a focus towards translational uses would include efficient and safer viral and non-viral gene-delivery vectors, increasingly red-shifted photoresponsive proteins, nanomaterials that efficiently transduce near-infrared light deep into tissue, and wireless implantable light-delivery devices that allow for spatiotemporally precise interventions at clinically relevant tissue depths. In this Review, we examine the current optogenetics toolkit and the most notable preclinical and translational uses of optogenetics, and discuss future methodological and translational developments and bottlenecks.

Optogenetic approaches in biotechnology and biomaterials.

blue cyan green near-infrared red violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Trends Biotechnol, 11 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.12.007 Link to full text
Abstract: Advances in genetic engineering, combined with the development of optical technologies, have allowed optogenetics to broaden its area of possible applications in recent years. However, the application of optogenetic tools in industry, including biotechnology and the production of biomaterials, is still limited, because each practical task requires the engineering of a specific optogenetic system. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the use of optogenetic tools in the production of biofuels and valuable chemicals, the synthesis of biomedical and polymer materials, and plant agrobiology. We also offer a comprehensive analysis of the properties and industrial applicability of light-controlled and other smart biomaterials. These data allow us to outline the prospects for the future use of optogenetics in bioindustry.

Toward Multiplexed Optogenetic Circuits.

blue green red UV violet Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 5 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.804563 Link to full text
Abstract: Owing to its ubiquity and easy availability in nature, light has been widely employed to control complex cellular behaviors. Light-sensitive proteins are the foundation to such diverse and multilevel adaptive regulations in a large range of organisms. Due to their remarkable properties and potential applications in engineered systems, exploration and engineering of natural light-sensitive proteins have significantly contributed to expand optogenetic toolboxes with tailor-made performances in synthetic genetic circuits. Progressively, more complex systems have been designed in which multiple photoreceptors, each sensing its dedicated wavelength, are combined to simultaneously coordinate cellular responses in a single cell. In this review, we highlight recent works and challenges on multiplexed optogenetic circuits in natural and engineered systems for a dynamic regulation breakthrough in biotechnological applications.

Red Light Optogenetics in Neuroscience.

blue near-infrared red LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Front Cell Neurosci, 3 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2021.778900 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics, a field concentrating on controlling cellular functions by means of light-activated proteins, has shown tremendous potential in neuroscience. It possesses superior spatiotemporal resolution compared to the surgical, electrical, and pharmacological methods traditionally used in studying brain function. A multitude of optogenetic tools for neuroscience have been created that, for example, enable the control of action potential generation via light-activated ion channels. Other optogenetic proteins have been used in the brain, for example, to control long-term potentiation or to ablate specific subtypes of neurons. In in vivo applications, however, the majority of optogenetic tools are operated with blue, green, or yellow light, which all have limited penetration in biological tissues compared to red light and especially infrared light. This difference is significant, especially considering the size of the rodent brain, a major research model in neuroscience. Our review will focus on the utilization of red light-operated optogenetic tools in neuroscience. We first outline the advantages of red light for in vivo studies. Then we provide a brief overview of the red light-activated optogenetic proteins and systems with a focus on new developments in the field. Finally, we will highlight different tools and applications, which further facilitate the use of red light optogenetics in neuroscience.

Optogenetic activation of intracellular signaling based on light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Neural Regen Res, Jan 2022 DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.314293 Link to full text
Abstract: Dynamic protein-protein interactions are essential for proper cell functioning. Homo-interaction events-physical interactions between the same type of proteins-represent a pivotal subset of protein-protein interactions that are widely exploited in activating intracellular signaling pathways. Capacities of modulating protein-protein interactions with spatial and temporal resolution are greatly desired to decipher the dynamic nature of signal transduction mechanisms. The emerging optogenetic technology, based on genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins, provides promising opportunities to dissect the highly complex signaling networks with unmatched specificity and spatiotemporal precision. Here we review recent achievements in the development of optogenetic tools enabling light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions and their applications in optical activation of signaling pathways.

Optogenetics in the hot seat.

blue LOV domains Review
Nat Chem Biol, 22 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-021-00928-x Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic and thermogenetic tools have been limited to applications for single-state control of cellular processes. A single-component optogenetic tool was found to act as both a temperature sensor and a photoreceptor, enabling multi-state control of developmental signaling.

Directed evolution approaches for optogenetic tool development.

blue green near-infrared red Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biochem Soc Trans, 17 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1042/bst20210700 Link to full text
Abstract: Photoswitchable proteins enable specific molecular events occurring in complex biological settings to be probed in a rapid and reversible fashion. Recent progress in the development of photoswitchable proteins as components of optogenetic tools has been greatly facilitated by directed evolution approaches in vitro, in bacteria, or in yeast. We review these developments and suggest future directions for this rapidly advancing field.

Time-resolved detection of association/dissociation reactions and conformation changes in photosensor proteins for application in optogenetics.

blue LOV domains Review
Biophys Rev, 15 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1007/s12551-021-00868-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Photosensor proteins are important not only because of their biological functions but also because of their applications in optogenetics. To understand the molecular mechanism behind their biological functions and consequently seek possible applications to optogenetics, the dynamics of their intermolecular interaction (for example, association/dissociation reaction and conformational changes) upon photoexcitation need to be elucidated. Although it has been difficult to trace such reactions in the time domain using traditional spectroscopic techniques, the time-resolved diffusion method based on the transient grating technique has been demonstrated to possess a significant advantage in detecting such spectrally silent dynamics in a time-resolved manner. In this paper, the principle and studies on blue light sensor proteins, phototropins, are described. Reaction kinetics of dimerization, dissociation reactions, and conformational changes were measured, and reaction schemes were determined. This method can be employed to study protein reactions from the viewpoint of diffusion and to elucidate the reaction schemes and kinetics that cannot be detected by other spectroscopic methods.
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