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 326 - 350 of 1087 results

Optogenetic modulation of a catalytic biofilm for biotransformation of indole into tryptophan.

red BphS E. coli Immediate control of second messengers
ChemSusChem, 16 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201902413 Link to full text
Abstract: In green chemical synthesis, biofilms as biocatalysts have shown great promise. Efficient biofilm-mediated biocatalysis requires the modulation of biofilm formation. Optogenetic tools are ideal for controlling biofilms, as light is non-invasive, easily controllable and cost-efficient. In this study, we employed a near infrared (NIR) light-responsive gene circuit to modulate the cellular level of c-di-GMP, a central regulator of the prokaryote biofilm lifestyle, which allows us to regulate biofilm formation using NIR light. By applying the engineered biofilm to catalyze the biotransformation of indole into tryptophan in submerged biofilm reactors, we showed that NIR light enhanced biofilm formation to result in ~ 30% increase in tryptophan yield, which demonstrates the feasibility of applying light to modulate the formation and performance of catalytic biofilms for chemical production. The c-di-GMP targeted optogenetic approach for modulating catalytic biofilm we have demonstrated here would allow the wide application for further biofilm-mediated biocatalysis.

Optogenetic activation of intracellular antibodies for direct modulation of endogenous proteins.

blue iLID Magnets HEK293 HeLa NIH/3T3
Nat Methods, 14 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-019-0592-7 Link to full text
Abstract: Intracellular antibodies have become powerful tools for imaging, modulating and neutralizing endogenous target proteins. Here, we describe an optogenetically activated intracellular antibody (optobody) consisting of split antibody fragments and blue-light inducible heterodimerization domains. We expanded this optobody platform by generating several optobodies from previously developed intracellular antibodies, and demonstrated that photoactivation of gelsolin and β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) optobodies suppressed endogenous gelsolin activity and β2AR signaling, respectively.

Repurposing protein degradation for optogenetic modulation of protein activities.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T PC-12 Signaling cascade control Cell differentiation
ACS Synth Biol, 10 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00285 Link to full text
Abstract: Non-neuronal optogenetic approaches empower precise regulation of protein dynamics in live cells but often require target-specific protein engineering. To address this challenge, we developed a generalizable light-modulated protein stabilization system (GLIMPSe) to control intracellular protein level independent of its functionality. We applied GLIMPSe to control two distinct classes of proteins: mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 3 (MKP3), a negative regulator of the extracellu-lar signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, as well as a constitutively active form of MEK (CA MEK), a positive regulator of the same pathway. Kinetics study showed that light-induced protein stabilization could be achieved within 30 minutes of blue light stimulation. GLIMPSe enables target-independent optogenetic control of protein activities and therefore minimizes the systematic variation embedded within different photoactivatable proteins. Overall, GLIMPSe promises to achieve light-mediated post-translational stabilization of a wide array of target proteins in live cells.

Red/Far-Red Light Switchable Cargo Attachment and Release in Bacteria-Driven Microswimmers.

red PhyB/PIF6 E. coli MDA-MB-231 Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions
Adv Healthc Mater, 9 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201900956 Link to full text
Abstract: In bacteria-driven microswimmers, i.e., bacteriabots, artificial cargos are attached to flagellated chemotactic bacteria for active delivery with potential applications in biomedical technology. Controlling when and where bacteria bind and release their cargo is a critical step for bacteriabot fabrication and efficient cargo delivery/deposition at the target site. Toward this goal, photoregulating the cargo integration and release in bacteriabots using red and far-red light, which are noninvasive stimuli with good tissue penetration and provide high spatiotemporal control, is proposed. In the bacteriabot design, the surfaces of E. coli and microsized model cargo particles with the proteins PhyB and PIF6, which bind to each other under red light and dissociate from each other under far-red light are functionalized. Consequently, the engineered bacteria adhere and transport the model cargo under red light and release it on-demand upon far-red light illumination due to the photoswitchable PhyB-PIF6 protein interaction. Overall, the proof-of-concept for red/far-red light switchable bacteriabots, which opens new possibilities in the photoregulation in biohybrid systems for bioengineering, targeted drug delivery, and lab-on-a-chip devices, is demonstrated.

An AND-Gated Drug and Photoactivatable Cre-loxP System for Spatiotemporal Control in Cell-Based Therapeutics.

blue Magnets HEK293T Jurkat
ACS Synth Biol, 8 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00175 Link to full text
Abstract: While engineered chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have shown promise in detecting and eradicating cancer cells within patients, it remains difficult to identify a set of truly cancer-specific CAR-targeting cell surface antigens to prevent potentially fatal on-target off-tumor toxicity against other healthy tissues within the body. To help address this issue, we present a novel tamoxifen-gated photoactivatable split-Cre recombinase optogenetic system, called TamPA-Cre, that features high spatiotemporal control to limit CAR T cell activity to the tumor site. We created and optimized a novel genetic AND gate switch by integrating the features of tamoxifen-dependent nuclear localization and blue-light-inducible heterodimerization of Magnet protein domains (nMag, pMag) into split Cre recombinase. By fusing the cytosol-localizing mutant estrogen receptor ligand binding domain (ERT2) to the N-terminal half of split Cre(2-59aa)-nMag, the TamPA-Cre protein ERT2-CreN-nMag is physically separated from its nuclear-localized binding partner, NLS-pMag-CreC(60-343aa). Without tamoxifen to drive nuclear localization of ERT2-CreN-nMag, the typically high background of the photoactivation system was significantly suppressed. Upon blue light stimulation following tamoxifen treatment, the TamPA-Cre system exhibits sensitivity to low intensity, short durations of blue light exposure to induce robust Cre-loxP recombination efficiency. We finally demonstrate that this TamPA-Cre system can be applied to specifically control localized CAR expression and subsequently T cell activation. As such, we posit that CAR T cell activity can be confined to a solid tumor site by applying an external stimulus, with high precision of control in both space and time, such as light.

Imaging of Morphological and Biochemical Hallmarks of Apoptosis with Optimized Optogenetic Actuators.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T HeLa Neuro-2a Cell death
PLoS ONE, 3 Oct 2019 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra119.009141 Link to full text
Abstract: The creation of optogenetic switches for specific activation of cell-death pathways can provide insights into apoptosis and could also form a basis for non-invasive, next-generation therapeutic strategies. Previous work has demonstrated that cryptochrome 2 (Cry2)/CIB, a blue light–activated protein–protein dimerization module from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana together with BCL2-associated X apoptosis regulator (BAX), an outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM)-targeting pro-apoptotic protein, can be used for light-mediated initiation of mitochondrial outer-membrane permeabilization (MOMP) and downstream apoptosis. In this work, we further developed the original light-activated Cry2–BAX system (henceforth referred to as OptoBAX) by improving the photophysical properties and light-independent interactions of this optogenetic switch. The resulting optogenetic constructs significantly reduced the frequency of light exposure required for the membrane permeabilization activation and also decreased dark-state cytotoxicity. We used OptoBAX in a series of experiments in Neuro-2a and HEK293T cells to measure the timing of the dramatic morphological and biochemical changes occurring in cells after light-induced MOMP. In these experiments, we used OptoBAX in tandem with fluorescent reporters for imaging key events in early apoptosis, including membrane inversion, caspase cleavage, and actin redistribution. We then used these data to construct a timeline of biochemical and morphological events in early apoptosis, demonstrating a direct link between MOMP-induced redistribution of actin and apoptosis progression. In summary, we have created a next-generation Cry2/CIB–BAX system requiring less frequent light stimulation and established a timeline of critical apoptotic events, providing detailed insights into key steps in early apoptosis.

Emerging Species and Genome Editing Tools: Future Prospects in Cyanobacterial Synthetic Biology.

blue green near-infrared Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Microorganisms, 29 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms7100409 Link to full text
Abstract: Recent advances in synthetic biology and an emerging algal biotechnology market have spurred a prolific increase in the availability of molecular tools for cyanobacterial research. Nevertheless, work to date has focused primarily on only a small subset of model species, which arguably limits fundamental discovery and applied research towards wider commercialisation. Here, we review the requirements for uptake of new strains, including several recently characterised fast-growing species and promising non-model species. Furthermore, we discuss the potential applications of new techniques available for transformation, genetic engineering and regulation, including an up-to-date appraisal of current Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR associated protein (CRISPR/Cas) and CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) research in cyanobacteria. We also provide an overview of several exciting molecular tools that could be ported to cyanobacteria for more advanced metabolic engineering approaches (e.g., genetic circuit design). Lastly, we introduce a forthcoming mutant library for the model species Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that promises to provide a further powerful resource for the cyanobacterial research community.

Mechanosensitive junction remodelling promotes robust epithelial morphogenesis.

blue TULIP Caco-2 Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, 28 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.09.027 Link to full text
Abstract: Morphogenesis of epithelial tissues requires tight spatiotemporal coordination of cell shape changes. In vivo, many tissue-scale shape changes are driven by pulsatile contractions of intercellular junctions, which are rectified to produce irreversible deformations. The functional role of this pulsatory ratchet and its mechanistic basis remain unknown. Here we combine theory and biophysical experiments to show that mechanosensitive tension remodelling of epithelial cell junctions promotes robust epithelial shape changes via ratcheting. Using optogenetic control of actomyosin contractility, we find that epithelial junctions show elastic behaviour under low contractile stress, returning to their original lengths after contraction, but undergo irreversible deformation under higher magnitudes of contractile stress. Existing vertex-based models for the epithelium are unable to capture these results, with cell junctions displaying purely elastic or fluid-like behaviours, depending on the choice of model parameters. To describe the experimental results, we propose a modified vertex model with two essential ingredients for junction mechanics: thresholded tension remodelling and continuous strain relaxation. First, a critical strain threshold for tension remodelling triggers irreversible junction length changes for sufficiently strong contractions, making the system robust to small fluctuations in contractile activity. Second, continuous strain relaxation allows for mechanical memory removal, enabling frequency-dependent modulation of cell shape changes via mechanical ratcheting. Taken together, the combination of mechanosensitive tension remodelling and junctional strain relaxation provides a robust mechanism for large-scale morphogenesis.

Flotillins promote T cell receptor sorting through a fast Rab5-Rab11 endocytic recycling axis.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2clust Jurkat Control of vesicular transport Organelle manipulation
Nat Commun, 26 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12352-w Link to full text
Abstract: The targeted endocytic recycling of the T cell receptor (TCR) to the immunological synapse is essential for T cell activation. Despite this, the mechanisms that underlie the sorting of internalised receptors into recycling endosomes remain poorly understood. To build a comprehensive picture of TCR recycling during T cell activation, we developed a suite of new imaging and quantification tools centred on photoactivation of fluorescent proteins. We show that the membrane-organising proteins, flotillin-1 and -2, are required for TCR to reach Rab5-positive endosomes immediately after endocytosis and for transfer from Rab5- to Rab11a-positive compartments. We further observe that after sorting into in Rab11a-positive vesicles, TCR recycles to the plasma membrane independent of flotillin expression. Our data suggest a mechanism whereby flotillins delineate a fast Rab5-Rab11a endocytic recycling axis and functionally contribute to regulate the spatial organisation of these endosomes.

Production of Phytochromes by High-Cell-Density E. coli Fermentation.

red Cph1 PhyB/PIF6 in vitro
ACS Synth Biol, 26 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00267 Link to full text
Abstract: Phytochromes are important photoreceptors of plants, bacteria, and fungi responsive to light in the red and far-red spectrum. For increasing applications in basic research, synthetic biology, and materials sciences, it is required to recombinantly produce and purify phytochromes in high amounts. An ideal host organism for this purpose is E. coli due to its widespread use, fast growth, and ability for high-cell-density fermentation. Here, we describe the development of a generic platform for the production of phytochromes in E. coli that is compatible with high-cell-density fermentation. We exemplify our approach by the production of the photosensory domains of phytochrome B (PhyB) from A. thaliana and of the cyanobacterial phytochrome 1 (Cph1) from Synechocystis PCC 6803 in the multigram scale per 10 L fermentation run.

Optogenetic Repressors of Gene Expression in Yeasts Using Light-Controlled Nuclear Localization.

blue AsLOV2 S. cerevisiae
CMBE, 24 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1007/s12195-019-00598-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Introduction: Controlling gene expression is a fundamental goal of basic and synthetic biology because it allows insight into cellular function and control of cellular activity. We explored the possibility of generating an optogenetic repressor of gene expression in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae by using light to control the nuclear localization of nuclease-dead Cas9, dCas9. Methods: The dCas9 protein acts as a repressor for a gene of interest when localized to the nucleus in the presence of an appropriate guide RNA (sgRNA). We engineered dCas9, the mammalian transcriptional repressor Mxi1, and an optogenetic tool to control nuclear localization (LINuS) as parts in an existing yeast optogenetic toolkit. This allowed expression cassettes containing novel dCas9 repressor configurations and guide RNAs to be rapidly constructed and integrated into yeast. Results: Our library of repressors displays a range of basal repression without the need for inducers or promoter modification. Populations of cells containing these repressors can be combined to generate a heterogeneous population of yeast with a 100-fold expression range. We find that repression can be dialed modestly in a light dose- and intensity-dependent manner. We used this library to repress expression of the lanosterol 14-alpha-demethylase Erg11, generating yeast with a range of sensitivity to the important antifungal drug fluconazole. Conclusions: This toolkit will be useful for spatiotemporal perturbation of gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Additionally, we believe that the simplicity of our scheme will allow these repressors to be easily modified to control gene expression in medically relevant fungi, such as pathogenic yeasts.

Visualizing RNA dynamics in live cells with bright and stable fluorescent RNAs.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa
Nat Biotechnol, 23 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0249-1 Link to full text
Abstract: Fluorescent RNAs (FRs), aptamers that bind and activate fluorescent dyes, have been used to image abundant cellular RNA species. However, limitations such as low brightness and limited availability of dye/aptamer combinations with different spectral characteristics have limited use of these tools in live mammalian cells and in vivo. Here, we develop Peppers, a series of monomeric, bright and stable FRs with a broad range of emission maxima spanning from cyan to red. Peppers allow simple and robust imaging of diverse RNA species in live cells with minimal perturbation of the target RNA's transcription, localization and translation. Quantification of the levels of proteins and their messenger RNAs in single cells suggests that translation is governed by normal enzyme kinetics but with marked heterogeneity. We further show that Peppers can be used for imaging genomic loci with CRISPR display, for real-time tracking of protein-RNA tethering, and for super-resolution imaging. We believe these FRs will be useful tools for live imaging of cellular RNAs.

Near-infrared optogenetic genome engineering based on photon upconversion hydrogels.

blue Magnets in vitro
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 23 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201911025 Link to full text
Abstract: Photon upconversion (UC) from near-infrared (NIR) light to visible light has enabled optogenetic manipulations in deep tissues. However, materials for NIR optogenetics have been limited to inorganic UC nanoparticles. Extension to organic triplet-triplet annihilation (TTA)-based UC systems would innovate NIR optogenetics toward the use of biocompatible materials placed at a desired position. Here, we report the first example of NIR light-triggered optogenetics by using TTA-UC hydrogels. To achieve triplet sensitization even in the highly viscous hydrogel matrices, a NIR-absorbing complex is covalently linked with energy-pooling acceptor chromophores, which significantly elongates the donor triplet lifetime. The donor and acceptor are solubilized in hydrogels formed from biocompatible Pluronic F127 micelles, and we find that the additional heat treatment endows remarkable oxygen-tolerant property to the excited triplets in the hydrogel. Combined with photoactivatable Cre recombinase (PA-Cre) technology, NIR light stimulation successfully performs genome engineering such as hippocampal dendritic spine formation involved in learning and long-term memory.

Photocleavable Cadherin Inhibits Cell-to-Cell Mechanotransduction by Light.

violet PhoCl MCF7 MDCK Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
ACS Chem Biol, 20 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.9b00460 Link to full text
Abstract: Precise integration of individual cell behaviors is indispensable for collective tissue morphogenesis and maintenance of tissue integrity. Organized multicellular behavior is achieved via mechanical coupling of individual cellular contractility, mediated by cell adhesion molecules at the cell-cell interface. Conventionally, gene depletion or laser microsurgery has been used for functional analysis of intercellular mechanotransduction. Nevertheless, these methods are insufficient to investigate either the spatiotemporal dynamics or the biomolecular contribution in cell-cell mechanical coupling within collective multicellular behaviors. Herein, we present our effort in adaption of PhoCl for attenuation of cell-to-cell tension transmission mediated by E-cadherin. To release intercellular contractile tension applied on E-cadherin molecules with external light, a genetically encoded photocleavable module called PhoCl was inserted into the intracellular domain of E-cadherin, thereby creating photocleavable cadherin (PC-cadherin). In response to light illumination, the PC-cadherin cleaved into two fragments inside cells, resulting in attenuating mechanotransduction at intercellular junctions in living epithelial cells. Light-induced perturbation of the intercellular tension balance with surrounding cells changed the cell shape in an epithelial cell sheet. The method is expected to enable optical manipulation of force-mediated cell-to-cell communications in various multicellular behaviors, which contributes to a deeper understanding of embryogenesis and oncogenesis.

Genetically Encoded Photocleavable Linkers for Patterned Protein Release from Biomaterials.

violet PhoCl in vitro
J Am Chem Soc, 17 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b07239 Link to full text
Abstract: Given the critical role that proteins play in almost all biological processes, there is great interest in controlling their presentation within and release from biomaterials. Despite such outstanding enthusiasm, previously developed strategies in this regard result in ill-defined and heterogeneous populations with substantially decreased activity, precluding their successful application to fragile species including growth factors. Here, we introduce a modular and scalable method for creating monodisperse, genetically encoded chimeras that enable bioactive proteins to be immobilized within and subsequently photoreleased from polymeric hydrogels. Building upon recent developments in chemoenzymatic reactions, bioorthogonal chemistry, and optogenetics, we tether fluorescent proteins, model enzymes, and growth factors site-specifically to gel biomaterials through a photocleavable protein (PhoCl) that undergoes irreversible backbone photoscission upon exposure to cytocompatible visible light (λ ≈ 400 nm) in a dose-dependent manner. Mask-based and laser-scanning lithographic strategies using commonly available light sources are employed to spatiotemporally pattern protein release from hydrogels while retaining their full activity. The photopatterned epidermal growth factor presentation is exploited to promote anisotropic cellular proliferation in 3D. We expect these methods to be broadly useful for applications in diagnostics, drug delivery, and regenerative medicine.

Amelioration of Diabetes in a Murine Model upon Transplantation of Pancreatic β-Cells with Optogenetic Control of Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate.

blue bPAC (BlaC) MIN6 Immediate control of second messengers
ACS Synth Biol, 16 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00262 Link to full text
Abstract: Pharmacological augmentation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), for example, to overcome insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes is linked to suboptimal regulation of blood sugar. Cultured β-cells and islets expressing a photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase (PAC) are amenable to GSIS potentiation with light. However, whether PAC-mediated enhancement of GSIS can improve the diabetic state remains unknown. To this end, β-cells were engineered with stable PAC expression that led to over 2-fold greater GSIS upon exposure to blue light while there were no changes in the absence of glucose. Moreover, the rate of oxygen consumption was unaltered despite the photoinduced elevation of GSIS. Transplantation of these cells into streptozotocin-treated mice resulted in improved glucose tolerance, lower hyperglycemia, and higher plasma insulin when subjected to illumination. Embedding optogenetic networks in β-cells for physiologically relevant control of GSIS will enable novel solutions potentially overcoming the shortcomings of current treatments for diabetes.

Green, orange, red, and far-red optogenetic tools derived from cyanobacteriochromes.

green red Am1 c0023g2/BAm green Am1 c0023g2/BAm red in vitro S. cerevisiae
bioRxiv, 14 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1101/769422 Link to full text
Abstract: Existing optogenetic tools for controlling protein-protein interactions are available in a limited number of wavelengths thereby limiting opportunities for multiplexing. The cyanobacteriochrome (CBCR) family of photoreceptors responds to an extraordinary range of colors, but light-dependent binding partners for CBCR domains are not currently known. We used a phage-display based approach to develop small (~50-residue) monomeric binders selective for the green absorbing state (Pg), or for the red absorbing state (Pr) of the CBCR Am1_c0023g2 with a phycocyanobilin chromophore and also for the far-red absorbing state (Pfr) of Am1_c0023g2 with a biliverdin chromophore. These bind in a 1:1 mole ratio with KDs for the target state from 0.2 to 2 μM and selectivities from 10 to 500-fold. We demonstrate green, orange, red, and far-red light-dependent control of protein-protein interactions in vitro and also in vivo where these multicolor optogenetic tools are used to control transcription in yeast.

FRET-assisted photoactivation of flavoproteins for in vivo two-photon optogenetics.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 HeLa MDCK mouse in vivo Signaling cascade control
Nat Methods, 9 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-019-0541-5 Link to full text
Abstract: Optical dimerizers have been developed to untangle signaling pathways, but they are of limited use in vivo, partly due to their inefficient activation under two-photon (2P) excitation. To overcome this problem, we developed Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-assisted photoactivation, or FRAPA. On 2P excitation, mTagBFP2 efficiently absorbs and transfers the energy to the chromophore of CRY2. Based on structure-guided engineering, a chimeric protein with 40% FRET efficiency was developed and named 2P-activatable CRY2, or 2paCRY2. 2paCRY2 was employed to develop a RAF1 activation system named 2paRAF. In three-dimensionally cultured cells expressing 2paRAF, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was efficiently activated by 2P excitation at single-cell resolution. Photoactivation of ERK was also accomplished in the epidermal cells of 2paRAF-expressing mice. We further developed an mTFP1-fused LOV domain that exhibits efficient response to 2P excitation. Collectively, FRAPA will pave the way to single-cell optical control of signaling pathways in vivo.

Synthetic biology approaches for targeted protein degradation.

blue LOV domains Review
Biotechnol Adv, 7 Sep 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2019.107446 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein degradation is an effective native mechanism used in modulating intracellular information, and thus it plays an essential role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Repurposing native protein degradation in a synthetic context is gaining attention as a new strategy to manipulate cellular behavior rapidly for a wide range of applications including disease detection and therapy. This review examines the native mechanisms and machineries by which mammalian cells degrade their own proteins including the sequence of events from identifying a candidate for degradation to the protein's destruction. Next, it explores engineering efforts to degrade both exogenous and native proteins with high specificity and control by targeting proteins into the degradation cascade. A complete understanding of design rules with an ability to use cellular information as signals will allow control over the cellular behavior in a well-defined manner.

A blue light receptor that mediates RNA binding and translational regulation.

blue PAL E. coli HeLa in vitro
Nat Chem Biol, 26 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-019-0346-y Link to full text
Abstract: Sensory photoreceptor proteins underpin light-dependent adaptations in nature and enable the optogenetic control of organismal behavior and physiology. We identified the bacterial light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) photoreceptor PAL that sequence-specifically binds short RNA stem loops with around 20 nM affinity in blue light and weaker than 1 µM in darkness. A crystal structure rationalizes the unusual receptor architecture of PAL with C-terminal LOV photosensor and N-terminal effector units. The light-activated PAL-RNA interaction can be harnessed to regulate gene expression at the RNA level as a function of light in both bacteria and mammalian cells. The present results elucidate a new signal-transduction paradigm in LOV receptors and conjoin RNA biology with optogenetic regulation, thereby paving the way toward hitherto inaccessible optoribogenetic modalities.

Secretory Vesicle Clustering in Fungal Filamentous Cells Does Not Require Directional Growth.

blue CRY2/CIB1 C. albicans Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Cell Rep, 20 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.062 Link to full text
Abstract: During symmetry breaking, the highly conserved Rho GTPase Cdc42 becomes stabilized at a defined site via an amplification process. However, little is known about how a new polarity site is established in an already asymmetric cell-a critical process in a changing environment. The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans switches from budding to filamentous growth in response to external cues, a transition controlled by Cdc42. Here, we have used optogenetic manipulation of cell polarity to reset growth in asymmetric filamentous C. albicans cells. We show that increasing the level of active Cdc42 on the plasma membrane results in disruption of the exocyst subunit Sec3 localization and a striking de novo clustering of secretory vesicles. This new cluster of secretory vesicles is highly dynamic, moving by hops and jumps, until a new growth site is established. Our results reveal that secretory vesicle clustering can occur in the absence of directional growth.

Signal transduction in photoreceptor histidine kinases.

blue red LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Protein Sci, 20 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1002/pro.3705 Link to full text
Abstract: Two-component systems (TCS) constitute the predominant means by which prokaryotes read out and adapt to their environment. Canonical TCSs comprise a sensor histidine kinase (SHK), usually a transmembrane receptor, and a response regulator (RR). In signal-dependent manner, the SHK autophosphorylates and in turn transfers the phosphoryl group to the RR which then elicits downstream responses, often in form of altered gene expression. SHKs also catalyze the hydrolysis of the phospho-RR, hence, tightly adjusting the overall degree of RR phosphorylation. Photoreceptor histidine kinases are a subset of mostly soluble, cytosolic SHKs that sense light in the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared spectral range. Owing to their experimental tractability, photoreceptor histidine kinases serve as paradigms and provide unusually detailed molecular insight into signal detection, decoding, and regulation of SHK activity. The synthesis of recent results on receptors with light-oxygen-voltage, bacteriophytochrome and microbial rhodopsin sensor units identifies recurring, joint signaling strategies. Light signals are initially absorbed by the sensor module and converted into subtle rearrangements of α helices, mostly through pivoting and rotation. These conformational transitions propagate through parallel coiled-coil linkers to the effector unit as changes in left-handed superhelical winding. Within the effector, subtle conformations are triggered that modulate the solvent accessibility of residues engaged in the kinase and phosphatase activities. Taken together, a consistent view of the entire trajectory from signal detection to regulation of output emerges. The underlying allosteric mechanisms could widely apply to TCS signaling in general.

Light-inducible flux control of triosephosphate isomerase on glycolysis in Escherichia coli.

green CcaS/CcaR E. coli Transgene expression
Biotechnol Bioeng, 20 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1002/bit.27148 Link to full text
Abstract: An engineering tool for controlling flux distribution on metabolic pathways to an appropriate state is highly desirable in bio-production. An optogenetic switch, which regulates gene expression by light illumination is an attractive on/off switchable system, and is a promising way for flux control with an external stimulus. We demonstrated a light-inducible flux control between glycolysis and the methylglyoxal (MGO) pathway in Escherichia coli using a CcaS/CcaR system. CcaR is phosphorylated by green light and is dephosphorylated by red light. Phosphorylated CcaR induces gene expression under the cpcG2 promoter. The tpiA gene was expressed under the cpcG2 promoter in a genomic tpiA deletion strain. The strain was then cultured with glucose minimum medium under green or red light. We found that tpiA mRNA level under green light was four times higher than that under red light. The repression of tpiA expression led to a decrease in glycolytic flux, resulting in slower growth under red light (0.25 h-1 ) when compared to green light (0.37 h-1 ). The maximum extracellular MGO concentration under red light (0.2 mM) was higher than that under green light (0.05 mM). These phenotypes confirm that the MGO pathway flux was enhanced under red light. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Synthetic Biology Tools for the Fast-Growing Marine Bacterium Vibrio natriegens.

blue YtvA E. coli V. natriegens
ACS Synth Biol, 16 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00176 Link to full text
Abstract: The fast-growing non-model marine bacterium Vibrio natriegens has recently garnered attention as a host for molecular biology and biotechnology applications. In order further its capabilities as a synthetic biology chassis, we have characterized a wide range of genetic parts and tools for use in V. natriegens. These parts include many commonly-used resistance markers, promoters, ribosomal binding sites, reporters, terminators, degradation tags, origin of replication sequences and plasmid backbones. We have characterized the behavior of these parts in different combinations and have compared their functionality in V. natriegens and Escherichia coli. Plasmid stability over time, plasmid copy numbers, and production load on the cells were also evaluated. Additionally, we tested constructs for chemical and optogenetic induction and characterized basic engineered circuit behavior in V. natriegens. The results indicate that while most parts and constructs work similarly in the two organisms, some deviate significantly. Overall, these results will serve as a primer for anyone interested in engineering V. natriegens and will aid in developing more robust synthetic biology principles and approaches for this non-model chassis.

Degradation of integral membrane proteins modified with the photosensitive degron module requires the cytosolic endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation pathway.

blue AtLOV2 S. cerevisiae Organelle manipulation
Mol Biol Cell, 14 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e18-12-0754 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein quality mechanisms are fundamental for proteostasis of eukaryotic cells. Endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) is a well-studied pathway that ensures quality control of secretory and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident proteins. Different branches of ERAD are involved in degradation of malfolded secretory proteins, depending on the localization of the misfolded part, the ER lumen (ERAD-L), the ER membrane (ERAD-M), and the cytosol (ERAD-C). Here we report that modification of several ER transmembrane proteins with the photosensitive degron (psd) module resulted in light-dependent degradation of the membrane proteins via the ERAD-C pathway. We found dependency on the ubiquitylation machinery including the ubiquitin-activating enzyme Uba1, the ubiquitin--conjugating enzymes Ubc6 and Ubc7, and the ubiquitin-protein ligase Doa10. Moreover, we found involvement of the Cdc48 AAA-ATPase complex members Ufd1 and Npl4, as well as the proteasome, in degradation of Sec62-myc-psd. Thus, our work shows that ERAD-C substrates can be systematically generated via synthetic degron constructs, which facilitates future investigations of the ERAD-C pathway.
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