Showing 226 - 250 of 1085 results
Establishment of a tTA-dependent photoactivatable Cre recombinase knock-in mouse model for optogenetic genome engineering.
The Cre-loxP recombination system is widely used to generate genetically modified mice for biomedical research. Recently, a highly efficient photoactivatable Cre (PA-Cre) based on reassembly of split Cre fragments has been established. This technology enables efficient DNA recombination that is activated upon blue light illumination with spatiotemporal precision. In this study, we generated a tTA-dependent photoactivatable Cre-loxP recombinase knock-in mouse model (TRE-PA-Cre mice) using a CRISPR/Cas9 system. These mice were crossed with ROSA26-tdTomato mice (Cre reporter mouse) to visualize DNA recombination as marked by tdTomato expression. We demonstrated that external noninvasive LED blue light illumination allows efficient DNA recombination in the liver of TRE-PA-Cre:ROSA26-tdTomato mice transfected with tTA expression vectors using hydrodynamic tail vein injection. The TRE-PA-Cre mouse established here promises to be useful for optogenetic genome engineering in a noninvasive, spatiotemporal, and cell-type specific manner in vivo.
An Optogenetic Method to Study Signal Transduction in Intestinal StemCell Homeostasis.
Homeostasis in adult organs involves replacement of cells from a stem cell pool maintained in specialized niches regulated by extracellular signals. This cell-to-cell communication employs signal transduction pathways allowing cells to respond with a variety of behaviors. To study these cellular behaviors, signaling must be perturbed within tissues in precise patterns, a technique recently made possible by the development of optogenetic tools. We developed tools to study signal transduction in vivo in an adult fly midgut stem cell model where signaling was regulated by the application of light. Activation was achieved by clustering of membrane receptors EGFR and Toll, while inactivation was achieved by clustering the downstream activators ERK/Rolled and NFκB/Dorsal in the cytoplasm, preventing nuclear translocation and transcriptional activation. We show that both pathways contribute to stem and transit amplifying cell numbers and affect the lifespan of adult flies. We further present new approaches to overcome overexpression phenotypes and novel methods for the integration of optogenetics into the already-established genetic toolkit of Drosophila.
Robustness of epithelial sealing is an emerging property of local ERK feedbacks driven by cell elimination.
While the pathways regulating apoptosis and cell extrusion are rather well described1,2, what regulates the precise spatio-temporal distribution of cell elimination in tissues remains largely unknown. This is particularly relevant for epithelia with high rates of cell elimination, a widespread situation during embryogenesis3-6 and homeostasis7, where concomitant death of neigbours could impair the maintenance of epithelial sealing. However, the extent to which epithelial tissues can cope with concomitant cell death, and whether any mechanism regulates such occurrence have never been explored so far. Here, using the Drosophila pupal notum (a single layer epithelium) and a new optogenetic tool to trigger caspase activation and cell extrusion, we first show that concomitant death of clusters of at least three cells is sufficient to transiently impair epithelial sealing. Such clustered extrusion was almost never observed in vivo, suggesting the existence of a mechanism preventing concomitant elimination of neighbours. Statistical analysis of cell death distribution in the notum highlighted a transient and local protective phase occurring near every dying cell. This protection is driven by a transient activation of ERK in the direct neighbours of extruding cells which reverts caspase activation and prevents elimination of cells in clusters. Altogether, this study demonstrates that the distribution of cell elimination in epithelia is an emerging property of transient and local feedbacks through ERK activation which is required to maintain epithelial sealing in conditions of high rate of cell elimination.
Yeast Two Hybrid Screening of Photo-Switchable Protein-Protein Interaction Libraries.
Although widely used in the detection and characterization of protein-protein interactions, Y2H screening has been under-used for the engineering of new optogenetic tools or the improvement of existing tools. Here we explore the feasibility of using Y2H selection and screening to evaluate libraries of photoswitchable protein-protein interactions. We targeted the interaction between circularly permuted photoactive yellow protein (cPYP) and its binding partner BoPD (binder of PYP dark state) by mutating a set of four surface residues of cPYP that contribute to the binding interface. A library of ~10,000 variants was expressed in yeast together with BoPD in a Y2H format. An initial selection for the cPYP/BoPD interaction was performed using a range of concentrations of the cPYP chromophore. As expected, the majority (>90% of cPYP variants no longer bound to BoPD). Replica plating was the used to evaluate the photoswitchability of the surviving clones. Photoswitchable cPYP variants with BoPD affinities equal to, or higher than, native cPYP were recovered in addition to variants with altered photocycles and binders that interacted with BoPD as apo-proteins. Y2H results reflected protein-protein interaction affinity, expression, photoswitchability and chromophore uptake, and correlated well with results obtained both in vitro and in mammalian cells. Thus, by systematic variation of selection parameters, Y2H screens can be effectively used to generate new optogenetic tools for controlling protein-protein interactions for use in diverse settings.
Optogenetic Control for Investigating Subcellular Localization of Fyn Kinase Activity in Single Live Cells.
Previous studies with various Src family kinase biosensors showed that the nuclear kinase activities are much suppressed compared to those in the cytosol, suggesting that these kinases are regulated differently in the nucleus and in the cytosol. In this study, using Fyn as an example, we first engineered a Fyn biosensor with a light-inducible nuclear localization signal (LINuS) to demonstrate that the Fyn kinase activity is significantly lower in the nucleus than in the cytosol. To understand how different equilibrium states between Fyn and the corresponding phosphatases are maintained in the cytosol and nucleus, we further engineered a Fyn kinase domain with LINuS. The results revealed that the Fyn kinase can be actively transported into the nucleus upon light activation and upregulate the biosensor signals in the nucleus. Our results suggest that there is limited transport or diffusion of Fyn kinase between the cytosol and nucleus in the cells, which is important for the maintenance of different equilibrium states of Fyn in situ.
A Live-Cell Screen for Altered Erk Dynamics Reveals Principles of Proliferative Control.
Complex, time-varying responses have been observed widely in cell signaling, but how specific dynamics are generated or regulated is largely unknown. One major obstacle has been that high-throughput screens are typically incompatible with the live-cell assays used to monitor dynamics. Here, we address this challenge by screening a library of 429 kinase inhibitors and monitoring extracellular-regulated kinase (Erk) activity over 5 h in more than 80,000 single primary mouse keratinocytes. Our screen reveals both known and uncharacterized modulators of Erk dynamics, including inhibitors of non-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that increase Erk pulse frequency and overall activity. Using drug treatment and direct optogenetic control, we demonstrate that drug-induced changes to Erk dynamics alter the conditions under which cells proliferate. Our work opens the door to high-throughput screens using live-cell biosensors and reveals that cell proliferation integrates information from Erk dynamics as well as additional permissive cues.
Cell-in-the-loop pattern formation with optogenetically emulated cell-to-cell signaling.
Designing and implementing synthetic biological pattern formation remains challenging due to underlying theoretical complexity as well as the difficulty of engineering multicellular networks biochemically. Here, we introduce a cell-in-the-loop approach where living cells interact through in silico signaling, establishing a new testbed to interrogate theoretical principles when internal cell dynamics are incorporated rather than modeled. We present an easy-to-use theoretical test to predict the emergence of contrasting patterns in gene expression among laterally inhibiting cells. Guided by the theory, we experimentally demonstrate spontaneous checkerboard patterning in an optogenetic setup, where cell-to-cell signaling is emulated with light inputs calculated in silico from real-time gene expression measurements. The scheme successfully produces spontaneous, persistent checkerboard patterns for systems of sixteen patches, in quantitative agreement with theoretical predictions. Our research highlights how tools from dynamical systems theory may inform our understanding of patterning, and illustrates the potential of cell-in-the-loop for engineering synthetic multicellular systems.
A series of commentaries for a symposium entitled "Session 3SDA - Optogenetics: applying photoreceptor for understanding biological phenomena".
Abstract not available.
SRRF-stream imaging of optogenetically controlled furrow formation shows localized and coordinated endocytosis and exocytosis mediating membrane remodeling.
Cleavage furrow formation during cytokinesis involves extensive membrane remodeling. In the absence of methods to exert dynamic control over these processes, it has been a challenge to examine the basis of this remodeling. Here we used a subcellular optogenetic approach to induce this at will and found that furrow formation is mediated by actomyosin contractility, retrograde plasma membrane flow, localized decrease in membrane tension and endocytosis. FRAP, 4-D imaging and inhibition or upregulation of endocytosis or exocytosis show that ARF6 and Exo70 dependent localized exocytosis supports a potential model for intercellular bridge elongation. TIRF and Super Resolution Radial Fluctuation (SRRF) stream microscopy show localized VAMP2-mediated exocytosis and incorporation of membrane lipids from vesicles into the plasma membrane at the front edge of the nascent daughter cell. Thus, spatially separated but coordinated plasma membrane depletion and addition are likely contributors to membrane remodeling during cytokinetic processes.
Cytokinetic bridge triggers de novo lumen formation in vivo.
Multicellular rosettes are transient epithelial structures that serve as intermediates during diverse organ formation. We have identified a unique contributor to rosette formation in zebrafish Kupffer's vesicle (KV) that requires cell division, specifically the final stage of mitosis termed abscission. KV utilizes a rosette as a prerequisite before forming a lumen surrounded by ciliated epithelial cells. Our studies identify that KV-destined cells remain interconnected by cytokinetic bridges that position at the rosette's center. These bridges act as a landmark for directed Rab11 vesicle motility to deliver an essential cargo for lumen formation, CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator). Here we report that premature bridge cleavage through laser ablation or inhibiting abscission using optogenetic clustering of Rab11 result in disrupted lumen formation. We present a model in which KV mitotic cells strategically place their cytokinetic bridges at the rosette center, where Rab11-associated vesicles transport CFTR to aid in lumen establishment.
Optogenetic Tuning of Ligand Binding to The Human T cell Receptor Using The opto-ligand-TCR System.
T cells are one major cell type of the immune system that use their T cell antigen receptor (TCR) to bind and respond to foreign molecules derived from pathogens. The ligand-TCR interaction half-lives determine stimulation outcome. Until recently, scientists relied on mutating either the TCR or its ligands to investigate how varying TCR-ligand interaction durations impacted on T cell activation. Our newly created opto-ligand-TCR system allowed us to precisely and reversibly control ligand binding to the TCR by light illumination. This system uses phytochrome B (PhyB) tetramers as a light-regulated TCR ligand. PhyB can be photoconverted between a binding (ON) and non-binding (OFF) conformation by 660 nm and 740 nm light illumination, respectively. PhyB ON is able to bind to a synthetic TCR, generated by fusing the PhyB interacting factor (PIF) to the TCRβ chain. Switching PhyB to the OFF conformation disrupts this interaction. Sufficiently long binding of PhyB tetramers to the PIF-TCR led to T cell activation as measured by calcium influx. Here, we describe protocols for how to generate the tetrameric ligand for our opto-ligand-TCR system, how to measure ligand-TCR binding by flow cytometry and how to quantify T cell activation via calcium influx.
Production, Purification and Characterization of Recombinant Biotinylated Phytochrome B for Extracellular Optogenetics.
In the field of extracellular optogenetics, photoreceptors are applied outside of cells to obtain systems with a desired functionality. Among the diverse applied photoreceptors, phytochromes are the only ones that can be actively and reversibly switched between the active and inactive photostate by the illumination with cell-compatible red and far-red light. In this protocol, we describe the production of a biotinylated variant of the photosensory domain of A. thaliana phytochrome B (PhyB-AviTag) in E. coli with a single, optimized expression plasmid. We give detailed instructions for the purification of the protein by immobilized metal affinity chromatography and the characterization of the protein in terms of purity, biotinylation, spectral photoswitching and the light-dependent interaction with its interaction partner PIF6. In comparison to previous studies applying PhyB-AviTag, the optimized expression plasmid used in this protocol simplifies the production process and shows an increased yield and purity.
Tissue-Scale Mechanical Coupling Reduces Morphogenetic Noise to Ensure Precision during Epithelial Folding.
Morphological constancy is universal in developing systems. It is unclear whether precise morphogenesis stems from faithful mechanical interpretation of gene expression patterns. We investigate the formation of the cephalic furrow, an epithelial fold that is precisely positioned with a linear morphology. Fold initiation is specified by a precise genetic code with single-cell row resolution. This positional code activates and spatially confines lateral myosin contractility to induce folding. However, 20% of initiating cells are mis-specified because of fluctuating myosin intensities at the cellular level. Nevertheless, the furrow remains linearly aligned. We find that lateral myosin is planar polarized, integrating contractile membrane interfaces into supracellular "ribbons." Local reduction of mechanical coupling at the "ribbons" using optogenetics decreases furrow linearity. Furthermore, 3D vertex modeling indicates that polarized, interconnected contractility confers morphological robustness against noise. Thus, tissue-scale mechanical coupling functions as a denoising mechanism to ensure morphogenetic precision despite noisy decoding of positional information.
Spatiotemporal control of phosphatidic acid signaling with optogenetic, engineered phospholipase Ds.
Phosphatidic acid (PA) is both a central phospholipid biosynthetic intermediate and a multifunctional lipid second messenger produced at several discrete subcellular locations. Organelle-specific PA pools are believed to play distinct physiological roles, but tools with high spatiotemporal control are lacking for unraveling these pleiotropic functions. Here, we present an approach to precisely generate PA on demand on specific organelle membranes. We exploited a microbial phospholipase D (PLD), which produces PA by phosphatidylcholine hydrolysis, and the CRY2-CIBN light-mediated heterodimerization system to create an optogenetic PLD (optoPLD). Directed evolution of PLD using yeast membrane display and IMPACT, a chemoenzymatic method for visualizing cellular PLD activity, yielded a panel of optoPLDs whose range of catalytic activities enables mimicry of endogenous, physiological PLD signaling. Finally, we applied optoPLD to elucidate that plasma membrane, but not intracellular, pools of PA can attenuate the oncogenic Hippo signaling pathway. OptoPLD represents a powerful and precise approach for revealing spatiotemporally defined physiological functions of PA.
Optogenetic manipulation of calcium signals in single T cells in vivo.
By offering the possibility to manipulate cellular functions with spatiotemporal control, optogenetics represents an attractive tool for dissecting immune responses. However, applying these approaches to single cells in vivo remains particularly challenging for immune cells that are typically located in scattering tissues. Here, we introduce an improved calcium actuator with sensitivity allowing for two-photon photoactivation. Furthermore, we identify an actuator/reporter combination that permits the simultaneous manipulation and visualization of calcium signals in individual T cells in vivo. With this strategy, we document the consequences of defined patterns of calcium signals on T cell migration, adhesion, and chemokine release. Manipulation of individual immune cells in vivo should open new avenues for establishing the functional contribution of single immune cells engaged in complex reactions.
Optogenetic Control of RhoA to Probe Subcellular Mechanochemical Circuitry.
Spatiotemporal localization of protein function is essential for physiological processes from subcellular to tissue scales. Genetic and pharmacological approaches have played instrumental roles in isolating molecular components necessary for subcellular machinery. However, these approaches have limited capabilities to reveal the nature of the spatiotemporal regulation of subcellular machineries like those of cytoskeletal organelles. With the recent advancement of optogenetic probes, the field now has a powerful tool to localize cytoskeletal stimuli in both space and time. Here, we detail the use of tunable light-controlled interacting protein tags (TULIPs) to manipulate RhoA signaling in vivo. This is an optogenetic dimerization system that rapidly, reversibly, and efficiently directs a cytoplasmic RhoGEF to the plasma membrane for activation of RhoA using light. We first compare this probe to other available optogenetic systems and outline the engineering logic for the chosen recruitable RhoGEFs. We also describe how to generate the cell line, spatially control illumination, confirm optogenetic control of RhoA, and mechanically induce cell-cell junction deformation in cultured tissues. Together, these protocols detail how to probe the mechanochemical circuitry downstream of RhoA signaling. © 2020 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Basic Protocol 1: Generation of a stable cell line expressing TULIP constructs Basic Protocol 2: Preparation of collagen substrate for imaging Basic Protocol 3: Transient transfection for visualization of downstream effectors Basic Protocol 4: Calibration of spatial illumination Basic Protocol 5: Optogenetic activation of a region of interest.
Booster, a Red-Shifted Genetically Encoded Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Biosensor Compatible with Cyan Fluorescent Protein/Yellow Fluorescent Protein-Based FRET Biosensors and Blue Light-Responsive Optogenetic Tools.
Genetically encoded Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors have been developed for the visualization of signaling molecule activities. Currently, most of them are comprised of cyan and yellow fluorescent proteins (CFP and YFP), precluding the use of multiple FRET biosensors within a single cell. Moreover, the FRET biosensors based on CFP and YFP are incompatible with the optogenetic tools that operate at blue light. To overcome these problems, here, we have developed FRET biosensors with red-shifted excitation and emission wavelengths. We chose mKOκ and mKate2 as the favorable donor and acceptor pair by calculating the Förster distance. By optimizing the order of fluorescent proteins and modulatory domains of the FRET biosensors, we developed a FRET biosensor backbone named "Booster". The performance of the protein kinase A (PKA) biosensor based on the Booster backbone (Booster-PKA) was comparable to that of AKAR3EV, a previously developed FRET biosensor comprising CFP and YFP. For the proof of concept, we first showed simultaneous monitoring of activities of two protein kinases with Booster-PKA and ERK FRET biosensors based on CFP and YFP. Second, we showed monitoring of PKA activation by Beggiatoa photoactivated adenylyl cyclase, an optogenetic generator of cyclic AMP. Finally, we presented PKA activity in living tissues of transgenic mice expressing Booster-PKA. Collectively, the results demonstrate the effectiveness and versatility of Booster biosensors as an imaging tool in vitro and in vivo.
Rapid Dynamics of Signal-Dependent Transcriptional Repression by Capicua.
Optogenetic perturbations, live imaging, and time-resolved ChIP-seq assays in Drosophila embryos were used to dissect the ERK-dependent control of the HMG-box repressor Capicua (Cic), which plays critical roles in development and is deregulated in human spinocerebellar ataxia and cancers. We established that Cic target genes are activated before significant downregulation of nuclear localization of Cic and demonstrated that their activation is preceded by fast dissociation of Cic from the regulatory DNA. We discovered that both Cic-DNA binding and repression are rapidly reinstated in the absence of ERK activation, revealing that inductive signaling must be sufficiently sustained to ensure robust transcriptional response. Our work provides a quantitative framework for the mechanistic analysis of dynamics and control of transcriptional repression in development.
Conformational properties of LOV2 domain and its C450A variant within broad pH region.
LOV2 (Light-Oxygen-Voltage) domain from Avena sativa phototropin 1 (AsLOV2) belongs to the superfamily of PAS (Per-Arnt-Sim) domains, members of which function as signaling sensors. AsLOV2 undergoes a conformational change upon blue-light absorption by its FMN cofactor. AsLOV2 wild type (wt) is intensively studied as a photo-switchable element in conjugation with various proteins. On the other hand, its variant AsLOV2 with replaced cysteinyl residue C450, which is critical for the forming a covalent adduct with FMN upon irradiation, forms a precursor for some recently developed genetically encoded photosensitizers. In the presented work, we investigated conformational properties of AsLOV2 wt and its variant C450A by circular dichroism, tryptophan and FMN fluorescence, and differential scanning calorimetry in dependence on pH and temperature. We show that both variants are similarly sensitive towards pH of solvent. On the other hand, the mutation C450A leads to a more stable AsLOV2 variant in comparison with the wild type. Thermal transitions of the AsLOV2 proteins monitored by circular dichroism indicate the presence of significant residual structure in thermally-denatured states of both proteins in the pH range from 4 to 9. Both pH- and thermal- transitions of AsLOV2 are accompanied by FMN leaching to solvent. Higher stability, reversibility of thermal transitions, and efficiency of FMN rebinding in the case of C450A variant suggest that the cofactor release may be modulated by suitable mutations in combination with a suitable physicochemical perturbation. These findings can have implications for a design of genetically encoded photosensitizers.
Optogenetic engineering to probe the molecular choreography of STIM1-mediated cell signaling.
Genetically encoded photoswitches have enabled spatial and temporal control of cellular events to achieve tailored functions in living cells, but their applications to probe the structure-function relations of signaling proteins are still underexplored. We illustrate herein the incorporation of various blue light-responsive photoreceptors into modular domains of the stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) to manipulate protein activity and faithfully recapitulate STIM1-mediated signaling events. Capitalizing on these optogenetic tools, we identify the molecular determinants required to mediate protein oligomerization, intramolecular conformational switch, and protein-target interactions. In parallel, we have applied these synthetic devices to enable light-inducible gating of calcium channels, conformational switch, dynamic protein-microtubule interactions and assembly of membrane contact sites in a reversible manner. Our optogenetic engineering approach can be broadly applied to aid the mechanistic dissection of cell signaling, as well as non-invasive interrogation of physiological processes with high precision.
An optogenetic tool for induced protein stabilization based on the Phaeodactylum tricornutum aureochrome 1a LOV domain.
Control of cellular events by optogenetic tools is a powerful approach to manipulate cellular functions in a minimally invasive manner. A common problem posed by the application of optogenetic tools is to tune the activity range to be physiologically relevant. Here, we characterized a photoreceptor of the light-oxygen-voltage domain family of Phaeodactylum tricornutum aureochrome 1a (AuLOV) as a tool for increasing protein stability under blue light conditions in budding yeast. Structural studies of AuLOVwt, the variants AuLOVM254 and AuLOVW349 revealed alternative dimer association modes for the dark state, which differ from previously reported AuLOV dark state structures. Rational design of AuLOV-dimer interface mutations resulted in an optimized optogenetic tool that we fused to the photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase from Beggiatoa sp.. This synergistic light-regulation approach using two photoreceptors resulted in an optimized, photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase with a cyclic AMP production activity that matches the physiological range of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Overall, we enlarged the optogenetic toolbox for yeast and demonstrated the importance of fine-tuning the optogenetic tool activity for successful application in cells.
Dynamic Properties of the Photosensory Domain of Deinococcus radiodurans Bacteriophytochrome.
Phytochromes are biological photoreceptors found in all kingdoms of life. Numerous physicochemical and spectroscopic studies of phytochromes have been carried out for many decades, both experimentally and computationally, with the main focus on the photoconversion mechanism involving a tetrapyrrole chromophore. In this computational work, we concentrate on the long-scale dynamic motion of the photosensory domain of Deinococcus radiodurans by means of classical all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Conventional and accelerated MD methods in combination with two different force fields, CHARMM27 and AMBER ff14SB, are tested in long atomistic simulations to confront the dynamics of monomer and dimer forms. These calculations highlight dissimilar equilibrium conformations in aqueous solutions and, in turn, different large-scale dynamic behaviors of the monomer form vs the dimer form. While the phytochrome in a monomer form tends to close the cavity entailed between the GAF and PHY domains, the opposite trend is predicted for the phytochrome dimer, which opens up as a consequence of the formation of strong salt bridges between the PHY domains of two molecules in water.
Optogenetic modulation of TDP-43 oligomerization accelerates ALS-related pathologies in the spinal motor neurons.
Cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43 characterizes degenerating neurons in most cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we develop an optogenetic TDP-43 variant (opTDP-43), whose multimerization status can be modulated in vivo through external light illumination. Using the translucent zebrafish neuromuscular system, we demonstrate that short-term light stimulation reversibly induces cytoplasmic opTDP-43 mislocalization, but not aggregation, in the spinal motor neuron, leading to an axon outgrowth defect associated with myofiber denervation. In contrast, opTDP-43 forms pathological aggregates in the cytoplasm after longer-term illumination and seeds non-optogenetic TDP-43 aggregation. Furthermore, we find that an ALS-linked mutation in the intrinsically disordered region (IDR) exacerbates the light-dependent opTDP-43 toxicity on locomotor behavior. Together, our results propose that IDR-mediated TDP-43 oligomerization triggers both acute and long-term pathologies of motor neurons, which may be relevant to the pathogenesis and progression of ALS.
SPLIT: Stable Protein Coacervation using a Light Induced Transition.
Protein coacervates serve as hubs to concentrate and sequester proteins and nucleotides and thus function as membrane-less organelles to manipulate cell physiology. We have engineered a coacervating protein to create tunable, synthetic membrane-less organelles that assemble in response to a single pulse of light. Coacervation is driven by the intrinsically disordered RGG domain from the protein LAF-1, and opto-responsiveness is coded by the protein PhoCl which cleaves in response to 405 nm light. We developed a fusion protein containing a solubilizing maltose binding protein domain, PhoCl, and two copies of the RGG domain. Several seconds of illumination at 405 nm is sufficient to cleave PhoCl, removing the solubilization domain and enabling RGG-driven coacervation within minutes in cellular-sized water-in-oil emulsions. An optimized version of this system displayed light-induced coacervation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The methods described here provide novel strategies for inducing protein phase separation using light.
Engineering light-controllable CAR T cells for cancer immunotherapy.
T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) can recognize and engage with target cancer cells with redirected specificity for cancer immunotherapy. However, there is a lack of ideal CARs for solid tumor antigens, which may lead to severe adverse effects. Here, we developed a light-inducible nuclear translocation and dimerization (LINTAD) system for gene regulation to control CAR T activation. We first demonstrated light-controllable gene expression and functional modulation in human embryonic kidney 293T and Jurkat T cell lines. We then improved the LINTAD system to achieve optimal efficiency in primary human T cells. The results showed that pulsed light stimulations can activate LINTAD CAR T cells with strong cytotoxicity against target cancer cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our LINTAD system can serve as an efficient tool to noninvasively control gene activation and activate inducible CAR T cells for precision cancer immunotherapy.