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 1700 results

The Dystrophin-Dystroglycan complex ensures cytokinesis efficiency in Drosophila epithelia.

blue CRY2/CIB1 D. melanogaster in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
bioRxiv, 14 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.03.14.585005 Link to full text
Abstract: Cytokinesis physically separates daughter cells at the end of cell division. This step is particularly challenging for epithelial cells, which are connected to their neighbors and to the extracellular matrix by transmembrane protein complexes. To systematically evaluate the impact of the cell adhesion machinery on epithelial cytokinesis efficiency, we performed an RNAi-based modifier screen in the Drosophila follicular epithelium. Strikingly, this unveiled adhesion molecules and transmembrane receptors that facilitate cytokinesis completion. Among these is Dystroglycan, which connects the extracellular matrix to the cytoskeleton via Dystrophin. Live imaging revealed that Dystrophin and Dystroglycan become enriched in the ingressing membrane, below the cytokinetic ring, during and after ring constriction. Using multiple alleles, including Dystrophin isoform-specific mutants, we show that Dystrophin/Dystroglycan localization is linked with unanticipated roles in regulating cytokinetic ring contraction and in preventing membrane regression during the abscission period. Altogether, we provide evidence that, rather than opposing cytokinesis completion, the machinery involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions has also evolved functions to ensure cytokinesis efficiency in epithelial tissues.

Reduction Midpoint Potential of a Paradigm Light-Oxygen-Voltage Receptor and its Modulation by Methionine Residues.

blue LOV domains Background
bioRxiv, 3 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.29.582800 Link to full text
Abstract: Light-dependent adaptations of organismal physiology, development, and behavior abound in nature and depend on sensory photoreceptors. As one class, light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) photoreceptors harness flavin-nucleotide chromophores to sense blue light. Photon absorption drives the LOV receptor to its signaling state, characterized by a metastable thioadduct between the flavin and a conserved cysteine residue. With this cysteine absent, LOV receptors instead undergo photoreduction to the flavin semiquinone which however can still elicit downstream physiological responses. Irrespective of the cysteine presence, the LOV photochemical response thus entails a formal reduction of the flavin. Against this backdrop, we here investigate the reduction midpoint potential E0 in the paradigm LOV2 domain from Avena sativa phototropin 1 (AsLOV2), and how it can be deliberately varied. Replacements of residues at different sites near the flavin by methionine consistently increase E0 from its value of around –280 mV by up to 40 mV. Moreover, methionine introduction invariably impairs photoactivation efficiency and thus renders the resultant AsLOV2 variants less light-sensitive. Although individual methionine substitutions also affect the stability of the signaling state and downstream allosteric responses, no clear-cut correlation with the redox properties emerges. With a reduction midpoint potential near –280 mV, AsLOV2 and, by inference, other LOV receptors may be partially reduced inside cells which directly affects their light responsiveness. The targeted modification of the chromophore environment, as presently demonstrated, may mitigate this effect and enables the design of LOV receptors with stratified redox sensitivities.

Protein supersaturation powers innate immune signaling.

blue CRY2clust HEK293T THP-1 Cell death
bioRxiv, 3 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2023.03.20.533581 Link to full text
Abstract: Innate immunity protects us in youth but turns against us as we age. The reason for this tradeoff is unclear. Seeking a thermodynamic basis, we focused on death fold domains (DFDs), whose ordered polymerization has been stoichiometrically linked to innate immune signal amplification. We hypothesized that soluble ensembles of DFDs function as phase change batteries that store energy via supersaturation and subsequently release it through nucleated polymerization. Using imaging and FRET-based cytometry to characterize the phase behaviors of all 109 human DFDs, we found that the hubs of innate immune signaling networks encode large nucleation barriers that are intrinsically insulated from cross-pathway activation. We showed via optogenetics that supersaturation drives signal amplification and that the inflammasome is constitutively supersaturated in vivo. Our findings reveal that the soluble “inactive” states of adaptor DFDs function as essential, yet impermanent, kinetic barriers to inflammatory cell death, suggesting a thermodynamic driving force for aging.

Light-directed evolution of dynamic, multi-state, and computational protein functionalities.

blue red EL222 PhyB/PIF3 S. cerevisiae Cell cycle control Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 2 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.28.582517 Link to full text
Abstract: Directed evolution is a powerful method in biological engineering. Current approaches were devised for evolving steady-state properties such as enzymatic activity or fluorescence intensity. A fundamental problem remains how to evolve dynamic, multi-state, or computational functionalities, e.g., folding times, on-off kinetics, state-specific activity, stimulus-responsiveness, or switching and logic capabilities. These require applying selection pressure on all of the states of a protein of interest (POI) and the transitions between them. We realized that optogenetics and cell cycle oscillations could be leveraged for a novel directed evolution paradigm (‘optovolution’) that is germane for this need: We designed a signaling cascade in budding yeast where optogenetic input switches the POI between off (0) and on (1) states. In turn, the POI controls a Cdk1 cyclin, which in the re-engineered cell cycle system is essential for one cell cycle stage but poisonous for another. Thus, the cyclin must oscillate (1-0-1-0…) for cell proliferation. In this system, evolution can act efficiently on the dynamics, transient states, and input-output relations of the POI in every cell cycle. Further, controlling the pacemaker, light, directs and tunes selection pressures. Optovolution is in vivo, continuous, self-selecting, and genetically robust. We first evolved two optogenetic systems, which relay 0/1 input to 0/1 output: We obtained 25 new variants of the widely used LOV transcription factor El222. These mutants were stronger, less leaky, or green- and red-responsive. The latter was conjectured to be impossible for LOV domains but is needed for multiplexing and lowering phototoxicity. Evolving the PhyB-Pif3 optogenetic system, we discovered that loss of YOR1 makes supplementing the expensive and unstable chromophore phycocyanobilin (PCB) unnecessary. Finally, we demonstrate the generality of the method by creating and evolving a destabilized rtTA transcription factor, which performs an AND operation between transcriptional and doxycycline input. Optovolution makes coveted, difficult-to-change protein functionalities evolvable.

Phosphatidic acid is an endogenous negative regulator of PIEZO2 channels and mechanical sensitivity.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Neuro-2a Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 2 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.03.01.582964 Link to full text
Abstract: Mechanosensitive PIEZO2 ion channels play roles in touch, proprioception, and inflammatory pain. Currently, there are no small molecule inhibitors that selectively inhibit PIEZO2 over PIEZO1. The TMEM120A protein was shown to inhibit PIEZO2 while leaving PIEZO1 unaffected. Here we find that TMEM120A expression elevates cellular levels of phosphatidic acid and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), aligning with its structural resemblance to lipid-modifying enzymes. Intracellular application of phosphatidic acid or LPA inhibited PIEZO2, but not PIEZO1 activity. Extended extracellular exposure to the non-hydrolyzable phosphatidic acid and LPA analogue carbocyclic phosphatidic acid (ccPA) also inhibited PIEZO2. Optogenetic activation of phospholipase D (PLD), a signaling enzyme that generates phosphatidic acid, inhibited PIEZO2, but not PIEZO1. Conversely, inhibiting PLD led to increased PIEZO2 activity and increased mechanical sensitivity in mice in behavioral experiments. These findings unveil lipid regulators that selectively target PIEZO2 over PIEZO1, and identify the PLD pathway as a regulator of PIEZO2 activity.

'Seeing' the electromagnetic spectrum: spotlight on the cryptochrome photocycle.

blue Cryptochromes Review Background
Front Plant Sci, 1 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2024.1340304 Link to full text
Abstract: Cryptochromes are widely dispersed flavoprotein photoreceptors that regulate numerous developmental responses to light in plants, as well as to stress and entrainment of the circadian clock in animals and humans. All cryptochromes are closely related to an ancient family of light-absorbing flavoenzymes known as photolyases, which use light as an energy source for DNA repair but themselves have no light sensing role. Here we review the means by which plant cryptochromes acquired a light sensing function. This transition involved subtle changes within the flavin binding pocket which gave rise to a visual photocycle consisting of light-inducible and dark-reversible flavin redox state transitions. In this photocycle, light first triggers flavin reduction from an initial dark-adapted resting state (FADox). The reduced state is the biologically active or 'lit' state, correlating with biological activity. Subsequently, the photoreduced flavin reoxidises back to the dark adapted or 'resting' state. Because the rate of reoxidation determines the lifetime of the signaling state, it significantly modulates biological activity. As a consequence of this redox photocycle Crys respond to both the wavelength and the intensity of light, but are in addition regulated by factors such as temperature, oxygen concentration, and cellular metabolites that alter rates of flavin reoxidation even independently of light. Mechanistically, flavin reduction is correlated with conformational change in the protein, which is thought to mediate biological activity through interaction with biological signaling partners. In addition, a second, entirely independent signaling mechanism arises from the cryptochrome photocycle in the form of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These are synthesized during flavin reoxidation, are known mediators of biotic and abiotic stress responses, and have been linked to Cry biological activity in plants and animals. Additional special properties arising from the cryptochrome photocycle include responsivity to electromagnetic fields and their applications in optogenetics. Finally, innovations in methodology such as the use of Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) diamond centers to follow cryptochrome magnetic field sensitivity in vivo are discussed, as well as the potential for a whole new technology of 'magneto-genetics' for future applications in synthetic biology and medicine.

Stress pathway outputs are encoded by pH-dependent phase separation of its components.

blue CRY2clust HEK293 Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 26 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.24.581896 Link to full text
Abstract: Signal processing by intracellular kinases control near all biological processes but how precise functions of signal pathways evolve with changed cellular contexts is poorly understood. Functional specificity of c-Jun N-terminal Kinases (JNK) activated in response to a broad range of pathological and physiological stimuli are partly encoded by signal strength. Here we reveal that intracellular pH (pHi) is a significant component of the JNK regulatory network and defines JNK signal response to precise stimuli. We showed that nuanced fluctuations in physiological pHi regulates JNK activity in response to cell stress. Interestingly, the relationship between pHi and JNK activity was dependent on specific stimuli and upstream kinases involved in pathway activation. Cytosolic alkalinisation promoted phase transition of upstream ASK1 to augment JNK activation. While increased pHi similarly induced JNK2 to form condensates, this led to attenuated JNK activity. Mathematical modelling of feedback signalling incorporating pHi and differential contribution by JNK2 and ASK1 condensates was sufficient to delineate the strength of JNK signal response to specific stimuli. This new knowledge of pHi regulation with consideration of JNK2 and ASK1 contribution to signal transduction may delineate oncogenic versus tumour suppressive functions of the JNK pathway and cancer cell drug responses.

Light-Guided Rabies Virus Tracing for Neural Circuit Analysis.

red PhyB/PIF3 rat cortical neurons Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 23 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2023.03.04.531104 Link to full text
Abstract: Neuronal tracing methods are essential tools to understand the fundamental architecture of neural circuits and their connection to the overall functional behavior of the brain. Viral vectors used to map these transsynaptic connections are capable of cell-type-specific and directional-specific labeling of the neuronal connections. Herein, we describe a novel approach to guide the transsynaptic spreading of the Rabies Virus (RV) retrograde tracer using light. We built a Baculovirus (BV) as a helper virus to deliver all the functional components necessary and sufficient for a nontoxic RV to spread from neuron to neuron, with a light-actuated gene switch to control the RV polymerase, the L gene. This design should allow for precisely controlled polysynaptic viral tracing with minimal viral toxicity. To use this system in a highly scalable and automated manner, we built optoelectronics for controlling this system in vitro with a large field of view using an off-the-shelf CMOS sensor, OLED display panel, and microcontrollers. We describe the assembly of these genetic circuits using the uLoop DNA assembly method and a library of genetic parts designed for the uLoop system. Combining these tools provides a framework for increasing the capabilities of nontoxic tracing through multiple synapses and increasing the throughput of neural tracing using viruses.

Dynamic Light-Induced Protein Patterns at Model Membranes.

blue iLID in vitro
J Vis Exp, 23 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.3791/66531 Link to full text
Abstract: The precise localization and activation of proteins at the cell membrane at a certain time gives rise to many cellular processes, including cell polarization, migration, and division. Thus, methods to recruit proteins to model membranes with subcellular resolution and high temporal control are essential when reproducing and controlling such processes in synthetic cells. Here, a method is described for fabricating light-regulated reversible protein patterns at lipid membranes with high spatiotemporal precision. For this purpose, we immobilize the photoswitchable protein iLID (improved light-inducible dimer) on supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) and on the outer membrane of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). Upon local blue light illumination, iLID binds to its partner Nano (wild-type SspB) and allows the recruitment of any protein of interest (POI) fused to Nano from the solution to the illuminated area on the membrane. This binding is reversible in the dark, which provides dynamic binding and release of the POI. Overall, this is a flexible and versatile method for regulating the localization of proteins with high precision in space and time using blue light.

Asymmetric oligomerization state and sequence patterning can tune multiphase condensate miscibility.

blue iLID S. cerevisiae U-2 OS Organelle manipulation
Nat Chem, 21 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1038/s41557-024-01456-6 Link to full text
Abstract: Endogenous biomolecular condensates, composed of a multitude of proteins and RNAs, can organize into multiphasic structures with compositionally distinct phases. This multiphasic organization is generally understood to be critical for facilitating their proper biological function. However, the biophysical principles driving multiphase formation are not completely understood. Here we use in vivo condensate reconstitution experiments and coarse-grained molecular simulations to investigate how oligomerization and sequence interactions modulate multiphase organization in biomolecular condensates. We demonstrate that increasing the oligomerization state of an intrinsically disordered protein results in enhanced immiscibility and multiphase formation. Interestingly, we find that oligomerization tunes the miscibility of intrinsically disordered proteins in an asymmetric manner, with the effect being more pronounced when the intrinsically disordered protein, exhibiting stronger homotypic interactions, is oligomerized. Our findings suggest that oligomerization is a flexible biophysical mechanism that cells can exploit to tune the internal organization of biomolecular condensates and their associated biological functions.

Optogenetic Regulation of EphA1 RTK Activation and Signaling.

blue CRY2olig HEK293T Neuro-2a Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
bioRxiv, 20 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.06.579139 Link to full text
Abstract: Eph receptors are ubiquitous class of transmembrane receptors that mediate cell-cell communication, proliferation, differentiation, and migration. EphA1 receptors specifically play an important role in angiogenesis, fetal development, and cancer progression; however, studies of this receptor can be challenging as its ligand, ephrinA1, binds and activates several EphA receptors simultaneously. Optogenetic strategies could be applied to circumvent this requirement for ligand activation and enable selective activation of the EphA1 subtype. In this work, we designed and tested several iterations of an optogenetic EphA1 - Cryptochrome 2 (Cry2) fusion, investigating their capacity to mimic EphA1-dependent signaling in response to light activation. We then characterized the key cell signaling target of MAPK phosphorylation activated in response to light stimulation. The optogenetic regulation of Eph receptor RTK signaling without the need for external stimulus promises to be an effective means of controlling individual Eph receptor-mediated activities and creates a path forward for the identification of new Eph-dependent functions.

Light-Mediated Enhancement of Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Release of Optogenetically Engineered Human Pancreatic Beta-Cells.

blue bPAC (BlaC) Immediate control of second messengers
ACS Synth Biol, 20 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.3c00653 Link to full text
Abstract: Enhancement of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in exogenously delivered pancreatic β-cells is desirable, for example, to overcome the insulin resistance manifested in type 2 diabetes or to reduce the number of β-cells for supporting homeostasis of blood sugar in type 1 diabetes. Optogenetically engineered cells can potentiate their function with exposure to light. Given that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) mediates GSIS, we surmised that optoamplification of GSIS is feasible in human β-cells carrying a photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase (PAC). To this end, human EndoC-βH3 cells were engineered to express a blue-light-activated PAC, and a workflow was established combining the scalable manufacturing of pseudoislets (PIs) with efficient adenoviral transduction, resulting in over 80% of cells carrying PAC. Changes in intracellular cAMP and GSIS were determined with the photoactivation of PAC in vitro as well as after encapsulation and implantation in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. cAMP rapidly rose in β-cells expressing PAC with illumination and quickly declined upon its termination. Light-induced amplification in cAMP was concomitant with a greater than 2-fold GSIS vs β-cells without PAC in elevated glucose. The enhanced GSIS retained its biphasic pattern, and the rate of oxygen consumption remained unchanged. Diabetic mice receiving the engineered β-cell PIs exhibited improved glucose tolerance upon illumination compared to those kept in the dark or not receiving cells. The findings support the use of optogenetics for molecular customization of the β-cells toward better treatments for diabetes without the adverse effects of pharmacological approaches.

A temperature-inducible protein module for control of mammalian cell fate.

blue BcLOV4 HEK293T Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Cell death
bioRxiv, 19 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.19.581019 Link to full text
Abstract: Inducible protein switches are used throughout the biosciences to allow on-demand control of proteins in response to chemical or optical inputs. However, these inducers either cannot be controlled with precision in space and time or cannot be applied in optically dense settings, limiting their application in tissues and organisms. Here we introduce a protein module whose active state can be reversibly toggled with a small change in temperature, a stimulus that is both penetrant and dynamic. This protein, called Melt (Membrane localization through temperature), exists as a monomer in the cytoplasm at elevated temperatures but both oligomerizes and translocates to the plasma membrane when temperature is lowered. Using custom devices for rapid and high-throughput temperature control during live-cell microscopy, we find that the original Melt variant fully switches states between 28-32°C, and state changes can be observed within minutes of temperature changes. Melt was highly modular, permitting thermal control over diverse intracellular processes including signaling, proteolysis, and nuclear shuttling through straightforward end-to-end fusions with no further engineering. Melt was also highly tunable, giving rise to a library of Melt variants with switch point temperatures ranging from 30-40°C. The variants with higher switch points allowed control of molecular circuits between 37°C-41°C, a well-tolerated range for mammalian cells. Finally, Melt could thermally regulate important cell decisions over this range, including cytoskeletal rearrangement and apoptosis. Thus Melt represents a versatile thermogenetic module that provides straightforward, temperature-based, real-time control of mammalian cells with broad potential for biotechnology and biomedicine.

Photocontrol of small GTPase Ras fused with a photoresponsive protein.

blue VfAU1-LOV in vitro Signaling cascade control
J Biochem, 15 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1093/jb/mvae017 Link to full text
Abstract: The small GTPase Ras plays an important role in intracellular signal transduction and functions as a molecular switch. In this study, we used a photoresponsive protein as the molecular regulatory device to photoregulate Ras GTPase activity. Photo zipper (PZ), a variant of the photoresponsive protein Aureochrome1 developed by Hisatomi et al. (1-9) was incorporated into the C-terminus of Ras as a fusion protein. The three constructs of the Ras-PZ fusion protein had spacers of different lengths between Ras and PZ. They were designed using an Escherichia coli expression system. The Ras-PZ fusion proteins exhibited photoisomerization upon blue light irradiation and in the dark. Ras-PZ dimerized upon light irradiation. Moreover, Ras GTPase activity, which is accelerated by the Ras regulators guanine nucleotide exchange factors and GTPase-activating proteins, is controlled by photoisomerization. It has been suggested that light-responsive proteins are applicable to the photoswitching of the enzymatic activity of small GTPases as photoregulatory molecular devices.

OptoREACT: Optogenetic Receptor Activation on Nonengineered Human T Cells.

red PhyB/PIF6 HEK293T human T cells Jurkat Signaling cascade control Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Synth Biol, 9 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.3c00518 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is a versatile and powerful tool for the control and analysis of cellular signaling processes. The activation of cellular receptors by light using optogenetic switches usually requires genetic manipulation of cells. However, this considerably limits the application in primary, nonengineered cells, which is crucial for the study of physiological signaling processes and for controlling cell fate and function for therapeutic purposes. To overcome this limitation, we developed a system for the light-dependent extracellular activation of cell surface receptors of nonengineered cells termed OptoREACT (Optogenetic Receptor Activation) based on the light-dependent protein interaction of A. thaliana phytochrome B (PhyB) with PIF6. In the OptoREACT system, a PIF6-coupled antibody fragment binds the T cell receptor (TCR) of Jurkat or primary human T cells, which upon illumination is bound by clustered phytochrome B to induce receptor oligomerization and activation. For clustering of PhyB, we either used tetramerization by streptavidin or immobilized PhyB on the surface of cells to emulate the interaction of a T cell with an antigen-presenting cell. We anticipate that this extracellular optogenetic approach will be applicable for the light-controlled activation of further cell surface receptors in primary, nonengineered cells for versatile applications in fundamental and applied research.

Epithelial folding through local degradation of an elastic basement membrane plate.

blue CRY2/CIB1 D. melanogaster in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Developmental processes
bioRxiv, 8 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.06.579060 Link to full text
Abstract: Epithelia are polarised layers of cells that line the outer and inner surfaces of organs. At the basal side, the epithelial cell layer is supported by a basement membrane, which is a thin polymeric layer of self-assembled extracellular matrix (ECM) that tightly adheres to the basal cell surface. Proper shaping of epithelial layers is an important prerequisite for the development of healthy organs during the morphogenesis of an organism. Experimental evidence indicates that local degradation of the basement membrane drives epithelial folding. Here, we present a coarse-grained plate theory model of the basement membrane that assumes force balance between i) cell-transduced active forces and ii) deformation-induced elastic forces. We verify key assumptions of this model through experiments in the Drosophila wing disc epithelium and demonstrate that the model can explain the emergence of outward epithelial folds upon local plate degradation. Our model accounts for local degradation of the basement membrane as a mechanism for the generation of epithelial folds in the absence of epithelial growth.

Optogenetic control of pheromone gradients reveals functional limits of mating behavior in budding yeast.

blue EL222 S. cerevisiae Signaling cascade control Endogenous gene expression
bioRxiv, 8 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.06.578657 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell-cell communication through diffusible signals allows distant cells to coordinate biological functions. Such coordination depends on the signal landscapes generated by emitter cells and the sensory capacities of receiver cells. In contrast to morphogen gradients in embryonic development, microbial signal landscapes occur in open space with variable cell densities, spatial distributions, and physical environments. How do microbes shape signal landscapes to communicate robustly under such circumstances remains an unanswered question. Here we combined quantitative spatial optogenetics with biophysical theory to show that in the mating system of budding yeast— where two mates communicate to fuse—signal landscapes convey demographic or positional information depending on the spatial organization of mating populations. This happens because α-factor pheromone and its mate-produced protease Bar1 have characteristic wide and narrow diffusion profiles, respectively. Functionally, MATα populations signal their presence as collectives, but not their position as individuals, and Bar1 is a sink of alpha-factor, capable of both density-dependent global attenuation and local gradient amplification. We anticipate that optogenetic control of signal landscapes will be instrumental to quantitatively understand the spatial behavior of natural and engineered cell-cell communication systems.

Interplay of condensation and chromatin binding underlies BRD4 targeting.

blue iLID U-2 OS Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 7 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.07.579384 Link to full text
Abstract: Nuclear compartments form via biomolecular phase separation, mediated through multivalent properties of biomolecules concentrated within condensates. Certain compartments are associated with specific chromatin regions, including transcriptional initiation condensates, which are composed of transcription factors and transcriptional machinery, and form at acetylated regions including enhancer and promoter loci. While protein self-interactions, especially within low-complexity and intrinsically disordered regions, are known to mediate condensation, the role of substrate-binding interactions in regulating the formation and function of biomolecular condensates is under-explored. Here, utilizing live-cell experiments in parallel with coarse-grained simulations, we investigate how chromatin interaction of the transcription factor BRD4 modulates its condensate formation. We find that both kinetic and thermodynamic properties of BRD4 condensation are affected by chromatin binding: nucleation rate is sensitive to BRD4-chromatin interactions, providing an explanation for the selective formation of BRD4 condensates at acetylated chromatin regions, and thermodynamically, multivalent acetylated chromatin sites provide a platform for BRD4 clustering below the concentration required for off-chromatin condensation. This provides a molecular and physical explanation of the relationship between nuclear condensates and epigenetically modified chromatin that results in their mutual spatiotemporal regulation, suggesting that epigenetic modulation is an important mechanism by which the cell targets transcriptional condensates to specific chromatin loci.

Temporal dynamics of BMP/Nodal ratio drive tissue-specific gastrulation morphogenesis.

blue CRY2/CIB1 zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control Developmental processes
bioRxiv, 7 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.02.06.579243 Link to full text
Abstract: Anteroposterior (AP) elongation of the vertebrate body plan is driven by convergence and extension (C&E) gastrulation movements in both the mesoderm and neuroectoderm, but how or whether molecular regulation of C&E differs between tissues remains an open question. Using a zebrafish explant model of AP axis extension, we show that C&E of the neuroectoderm and mesoderm can be uncoupled ex vivo, and that morphogenesis of individual tissues results from distinct morphogen signaling dynamics. Using precise temporal manipulation of BMP and Nodal signaling, we identify a critical developmental window during which high or low BMP/Nodal ratios induce neuroectoderm- or mesoderm-driven C&E, respectively. Increased BMP activity similarly enhances C&E specifically in the ectoderm of intact zebrafish gastrulae, highlighting the in vivo relevance of our findings. Together, these results demonstrate that temporal dynamics of BMP and Nodal morphogen signaling activate distinct morphogenetic programs governing C&E gastrulation movements within individual tissues.

Enhancing high-throughput optogenetics: Integration of LITOS with Lustro enables simultaneous light stimulation and shaking.

blue CRY2/CIB1 S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
MicroPubl Biol, 2 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.17912/micropub.biology.001073 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is a powerful tool that uses light to control cellular behavior. Here we enhance high-throughput characterization of optogenetic experiments through the integration of the LED Illumination Tool for Optogenetic Stimulation (LITOS) with the previously published automated platform Lustro. Lustro enables efficient high-throughput screening and characterization of optogenetic systems. The initial iteration of Lustro used the optoPlate illumination device for light induction, with the robot periodically moving the plate over to a shaking device to resuspend cell cultures. Here, we designed a 3D-printed adaptor, rendering LITOS compatible with the BioShake 3000-T ELM used in Lustro. This novel setup allows for concurrent light stimulation and culture agitation, streamlining experiments. Our study demonstrates comparable growth rates between constant and intermittent shaking of Saccharomyces cerevisiae liquid cultures. While the light intensity of the LITOS is not as bright as the optoPlate used in the previous iteration of Lustro, the constant shaking increased the maturation rate of the mScarlet-I fluorescent reporter used. Only a marginal increase in temperature was observed when using the modified LITOS equipped with the 3D-printed adaptor. Our findings show that the integration of LITOS onto a plate shaker allows for constant culture shaking and illumination compatible with laboratory automation platforms, such as Lustro.

Epstein-Barr Virus Promotes Tumorigenicity and Worsens Hodgkin Lymphoma Prognosis by Activating JAK/STAT and NF-κB Signaling Pathways.

blue red DmBphP PAL E. coli Transgene expression Multichromatic
Iran J Med Sci, 1 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.21203/ Link to full text
Abstract: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is detected in 40% of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). During latency, EBV induces epigenetic alterations to the host genome and decreases the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins. The present study aimed to evaluate the expression levels of mRNA molecules and the end product of proteins for the JAK/STAT and NF-κB pathways, and their association with clinicopathological and prognostic parameters in patients with EBV-positive and -negative classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL).

Using split protein reassembly strategy to optically control PLD enzymatic activity.

blue CRY2/CIB1 iLID HEK293T HeLa Signaling cascade control Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 30 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.27.577557 Link to full text
Abstract: Phospholipase D (PLD) and phosphatidic acid (PA) play a spatio-temporal role in regulating diverse cellular activities. Although current methodologies enable optical control of the subcellular localization of PLD and by which influence local PLD enzyme activity, the overexpression of PLD elevates the basal PLD enzyme activity and further leads to increased PA levels in cells. In this study, we employed a split protein reassembly strategy and optogenetic techniques to modify superPLD (a PLDPMF variant with a high basal activity). We splited this variants into two HKD domains and fused these domains with optogenetic elements and by which we achieved light-mediated dimerization of the two HKD proteins and then restored the PLD enzymatic activity.

Ultralow Background Membrane Editors for Spatiotemporal Control of Phosphatidic Acid Metabolism and Signaling

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 iLID HEK293T Signaling cascade control
ACS Cent Sci, 30 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.3c01105 Link to full text
Abstract: Phosphatidic acid (PA) is a multifunctional lipid with important metabolic and signaling functions, and efforts to dissect its pleiotropy demand strategies for perturbing its levels with spatiotemporal precision. Previous membrane editing approaches for generating local PA pools used light-mediated induced proximity to recruit a PA-synthesizing enzyme, phospholipase D (PLD), from the cytosol to the target organelle membrane. Whereas these optogenetic PLDs exhibited high activity, their residual activity in the dark led to undesired chronic lipid production. Here, we report ultralow background membrane editors for PA wherein light directly controls PLD catalytic activity, as opposed to localization and access to substrates, exploiting a light–oxygen–voltage (LOV) domain-based conformational photoswitch inserted into the PLD sequence and enabling their stable and nonperturbative targeting to multiple organelle membranes. By coupling organelle-targeted LOVPLD activation to lipidomics analysis, we discovered different rates of metabolism for PA and its downstream products depending on the subcellular location of PA production. We also elucidated signaling roles for PA pools on different membranes in conferring local activation of AMP-activated protein kinase signaling. This work illustrates how membrane editors featuring acute, optogenetic conformational switches can provide new insights into organelle-selective lipid metabolic and signaling pathways.

Mapping the Cellular Distribution of an Optogenetic Protein Using a Light-Stimulation Grid Mapping the Cellular Distribution of an Optogenetic Protein Using a Light-Stimulation Grid.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HC-1
J Vis Exp, 26 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.3791/65471 Link to full text
Abstract: Our goal was to accurately track the cellular distribution of an optogenetic protein and evaluate its functionality within a specific cytoplasmic location. To achieve this, we co-transfected cells with nuclear-targeted cAMP sensors and our laboratory-developed optogenetic protein, bacterial photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase-nanoluciferase (bPAC-nLuc). bPAC-nLuc, when stimulated with 445 nm light or luciferase substrates, generates adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP). We employed a solid-state laser illuminator connected to a point scanning system that allowed us to create a grid/matrix pattern of small illuminated spots (~1 µm2) throughout the cytoplasm of HC-1 cells. By doing so, we were able to effectively track the distribution of nuclear-targeted bPAC-nLuc and generate a comprehensive cAMP response map. This map accurately represented the cellular distribution of bPAC-nLuc, and its response to light stimulation varied according to the amount of protein in the illuminated spot. This innovative approach contributes to the expanding toolkit of techniques available for investigating cellular optogenetic proteins. The ability to map its distribution and response with high precision has far-reaching potential and could advance various fields of research.

Optogenetic generation of leader cells reveals a force-velocity relation for collective cell migration.

blue CRY2/CIB1 MDCK Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Developmental processes
bioRxiv, 23 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.23.576733 Link to full text
Abstract: The front of migratory cellular clusters during development, wound healing and cancer invasion is typically populated with highly protrusive cells that are called leader cells. Leader cells are thought to physically pull and direct their cohort of followers, but how leaders and followers are mechanically organized to migrate collectively remains controversial. One possibility is that the autonomous local action of a leader cell is sufficient to drive migration of the group. Yet another possibility is that a global mechanical organization is required for the group to move cohesively. Here we show that the effectiveness of leader-follower organization is proportional to the asymmetry of traction and tension within the cellular cluster. By combining hydrogel micropatterning and optogenetic activation of Rac1, we locally generate highly protrusive leaders at the edge of minimal cell groups. We find that the induced leader can robustly drag one follower but is generally unable to direct larger groups. By measuring traction forces and tension propagation in groups of increasing size, we establish a quantitative relationship between group velocity and the asymmetry of the traction and tension profiles. We propose a model of the motile cluster as an active polar fluid that explains this force-velocity relationship in terms of asymmetries in the distribution of active tractions. Our results challenge the notion of autonomous leader cells by showing that collective cell migration requires a global mechanical organization within the cluster.
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