Showing 1026 - 1050 of 1087 results
Light modulation of cellular cAMP by a small bacterial photoactivated adenylyl cyclase, bPAC, of the soil bacterium Beggiatoa.
The recent success of channelrhodopsin in optogenetics has also caused increasing interest in enzymes that are directly activated by light. We have identified in the genome of the bacterium Beggiatoa a DNA sequence encoding an adenylyl cyclase directly linked to a BLUF (blue light receptor using FAD) type light sensor domain. In Escherichia coli and Xenopus oocytes, this photoactivated adenylyl cyclase (bPAC) showed cyclase activity that is low in darkness but increased 300-fold in the light. This enzymatic activity decays thermally within 20 s in parallel with the red-shifted BLUF photointermediate. bPAC is well expressed in pyramidal neurons and, in combination with cyclic nucleotide gated channels, causes efficient light-induced depolarization. In the Drosophila central nervous system, bPAC mediates light-dependent cAMP increase and behavioral changes in freely moving animals. bPAC seems a perfect optogenetic tool for light modulation of cAMP in neuronal cells and tissues and for studying cAMP-dependent processes in live animals.
Natural and engineered photoactivated nucleotidyl cyclases for optogenetic applications.
Cyclic nucleotides, cAMP and cGMP, are ubiquitous second messengers that regulate metabolic and behavioral responses in diverse organisms. We describe purification, engineering, and characterization of photoactivated nucleotidyl cyclases that can be used to manipulate cAMP and cGMP levels in vivo. We identified the blaC gene encoding a putative photoactivated adenylyl cyclase in the Beggiatoa sp. PS genome. BlaC contains a BLUF domain involved in blue-light sensing using FAD and a nucleotidyl cyclase domain. The blaC gene was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and its product was purified. Irradiation of BlaC in vitro resulted in a small red shift in flavin absorbance, typical of BLUF photoreceptors. BlaC had adenylyl cyclase activity that was negligible in the dark and up-regulated by light by 2 orders of magnitude. To convert BlaC into a guanylyl cyclase, we constructed a model of the nucleotidyl cyclase domain and mutagenized several residues predicted to be involved in substrate binding. One triple mutant, designated BlgC, was found to have photoactivated guanylyl cyclase in vitro. Irradiation with blue light of the E. coli cya mutant expressing BlaC or BlgC resulted in the significant increases in cAMP or cGMP synthesis, respectively. BlaC, but not BlgC, restored cAMP-dependent growth of the mutant in the presence of light. Small protein sizes, negligible activities in the dark, high light-to-dark activation ratios, functionality at broad temperature range and physiological pH, as well as utilization of the naturally occurring flavins as chromophores make BlaC and BlgC attractive for optogenetic applications in various animal and microbial models.
Multichromatic control of gene expression in Escherichia coli.
Light is a powerful tool for manipulating living cells because it can be applied with high resolution across space and over time. We previously constructed a red light-sensitive Escherichia coli transcription system based on a chimera between the red/far-red switchable cyanobacterial phytochrome Cph1 and the E. coli EnvZ/OmpR two-component signaling pathway. Here, we report the development of a green light-inducible transcription system in E. coli based on a recently discovered green/red photoswitchable two-component system from cyanobacteria. We demonstrate that the transcriptional output is proportional to the intensity of green light applied and that the green sensor is orthogonal to the red sensor at intensities of 532-nm light less than 0.01 W/m(2). Expression of both sensors in a single cell allows two-color optical control of transcription both in batch culture and in patterns across a lawn of engineered cells. Because each sensor functions as a photoreversible switch, this system should allow the spatial and temporal control of the expression of multiple genes through different combinations of light wavelengths. This feature aids precision single-cell and population-level studies in systems and synthetic biology.
The Cryptochrome Blue Light Receptors.
Cryptochromes are photolyase-like blue light receptors originally discovered in Arabidopsis but later found in other
plants, microbes, and animals. Arabidopsis has two cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, which mediate primarily blue light
inhibition of hypocotyl elongation and photoperiodic control of fl oral initiation, respectively. In addition, cryptochromes
also regulate over a dozen other light responses, including circadian rhythms, tropic growth, stomata opening, guard
cell development, root development, bacterial and viral pathogen responses, abiotic stress responses, cell cycles, programmed
cell death, apical dominance, fruit and ovule development, seed dormancy, and magnetoreception. Cryptochromes
have two domains, the N-terminal PHR (Photolyase-Homologous Region) domain that bind the chromophore
FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), and the CCE (CRY C-terminal Extension) domain that appears intrinsically unstructured
but critical to the function and regulation of cryptochromes. Most cryptochromes accumulate in the nucleus,
and they undergo blue light-dependent phosphorylation or ubiquitination. It is hypothesized that photons excite electrons
of the fl avin molecule, resulting in redox reaction or circular electron shuttle and conformational changes of the
photoreceptors. The photoexcited cryptochrome are phosphorylated to adopt an open conformation, which interacts
with signaling partner proteins to alter gene expression at both transcriptional and posttranslational levels and consequently
the metabolic and developmental programs of plants.
Using light to control signaling cascades in live neurons.
Understanding the complexity of neuronal biology requires the manipulation of cellular processes with high specificity and spatio-temporal precision. The recent development of synthetic photo-activatable proteins designed using the light-oxygen-voltage and phytochrome domains provides a new set of tools for genetically targeted optical control of cell signaling. Their modular design, functional diversity, precisely controlled activity and in vivo applicability offer many advantages for investigating neuronal function. Although designing these proteins is still a considerable challenge, future advances in rational protein design and a deeper understanding of their photoactivation mechanisms will allow the development of the next generation of optogenetic techniques.
A photoswitchable DNA-binding protein based on a truncated GCN4-photoactive yellow protein chimera.
Photo-controlled DNA-binding proteins promise to be useful tools for probing complex spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression in living organisms. Here we report a novel photoswitchable DNA-binding protein, GCN4(S)Δ25PYP, based on a truncated GCN4-photoactive yellow protein chimera. In contrast to previously reported designed photoswitchable proteins where DNA binding affinity is enhanced upon irradiation, GCN4(S)Δ25PYP dissociates from DNA when irradiated with blue light. In addition, the rate of thermal relaxation to the ground state, part of the PYP photocycle, is enhanced by DNA binding whereas in previous reported constructs it is slowed. The origins of this reversed photoactivity are analyzed in structural terms.
Reversible photoswitching of protein function.
Using light to tune the activity of proteins represents a very attractive avenue for creating various temporal interferences in living systems. In this mini-review, we highlight a few recent developments in this broad and exciting field. Among the various methods, we have discussed in more detail the advantages and future challenges in using light switchable drugs to regulate the signaling proteins in the immune system.
Recent advances in the photochemical control of protein function.
Biological processes are regulated with a high level of spatial and temporal resolution. To understand and manipulate these processes, scientists need to be able to regulate them with Nature's level of precision. In this context, light is a unique regulatory element because it can be precisely controlled in terms of location, timing and amplitude. Moreover, most biological laboratories have a wide range of light sources as standard equipment. This review article summarizes the most recent advances in light-mediated regulation of protein function and its application in a cellular context. Specifically, the photocaging of small-molecule modulators of protein function and of specific amino acid residues in proteins is discussed. In addition, examples of the photochemical control of protein function through the application of genetically engineered natural-light receptors are presented.
Rationally improving LOV domain-based photoswitches.
Genetically encoded protein photosensors are promising tools for engineering optical control of cellular behavior; we are only beginning to understand how to couple these light detectors to effectors of choice. Here we report a method that increases the dynamic range of an artificial photoswitch based on the LOV2 domain of Avena sativa phototropin 1 (AsLOV2). This approach can potentially be used to improve many AsLOV2-based photoswitches.
Optogenetically Induced Olfactory Stimulation in Drosophila Larvae Reveals the Neuronal Basis of Odor-Aversion behavior.
Olfactory stimulation induces an odor-guided crawling behavior of Drosophila melanogaster larvae characterized by either an attractive or a repellent reaction. In order to understand the underlying processes leading to these orientations we stimulated single olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) through photo-activation within an intact neuronal network. Using the Gal4-UAS system two light inducible proteins, the light-sensitive cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR-2) or the light-sensitive adenylyl cyclase (Pacalpha) were expressed in all or in individual ORNs of the larval olfactory system. Blue light stimulation caused an activation of these neurons, ultimately producing the illusion of an odor stimulus. Larvae were tested in a phototaxis assay for their orientation toward or away from the light source. Here we show that activation of Pacalpha expressing ORNs bearing the receptors Or33b or Or45a in blind norpA mutant larvae induces a repellent behavior away from the light. Conversely, photo-activation of the majority of ORNs induces attraction towards the light. Interestingly, in wild type larvae two ligands of Or33b and Or45a, octyl acetate and propionic ethylester, respectively, have been found to cause an escape reaction. Therefore, we combined light and odor stimulation to analyze the function of Or33b and Or45a expressing ORNs. We show that the larval olfactory system contains a designated neuronal pathway for repellent odorants and that activation of a specific class of ORNs already determines olfactory avoidance behavior.
An integrative model for phytochrome B mediated photomorphogenesis: from protein dynamics to physiology.
Plants have evolved various sophisticated mechanisms to respond and adapt to changes of abiotic factors in their natural environment. Light is one of the most important abiotic environmental factors and it regulates plant growth and development throughout their entire life cycle. To monitor the intensity and spectral composition of the ambient light environment, plants have evolved multiple photoreceptors, including the red/far-red light-sensing phytochromes.
Light-mediated activation reveals a key role for Rac in collective guidance of cell movement in vivo.
The small GTPase Rac induces actin polymerization, membrane ruffling and focal contact formation in cultured single cells but can either repress or stimulate motility in epithelial cells depending on the conditions. The role of Rac in collective epithelial cell movements in vivo, which are important for both morphogenesis and metastasis, is therefore difficult to predict. Recently, photoactivatable analogues of Rac (PA-Rac) have been developed, allowing rapid and reversible activation or inactivation of Rac using light. In cultured single cells, light-activated Rac leads to focal membrane ruffling, protrusion and migration. Here we show that focal activation of Rac is also sufficient to polarize an entire group of cells in vivo, specifically the border cells of the Drosophila ovary. Moreover, activation or inactivation of Rac in one cell of the cluster caused a dramatic response in the other cells, suggesting that the cells sense direction as a group according to relative levels of Rac activity. Communication between cells of the cluster required Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK) but not guidance receptor signalling. These studies further show that photoactivatable proteins are effective tools in vivo.
Light-induced degradation of phyA is promoted by transfer of the photoreceptor into the nucleus.
Higher plants possess multiple members of the phytochrome family of red, far-red light sensors to modulate plant growth and development according to competition from neighbors. The phytochrome family is composed of the light-labile phyA and several light-stable members (phyB-phyE in Arabidopsis). phyA accumulates to high levels in etiolated seedlings and is essential for young seedling establishment under a dense canopy. In photosynthetically active seedlings high levels of phyA counteract the shade avoidance response. phyA levels are maintained low in light-grown plants by a combination of light-dependent repression of PHYA transcription and light-induced proteasome-mediated degradation of the activated photoreceptor. Light-activated phyA is transported from the cytoplasm where it resides in darkness to the nucleus where it is needed for most phytochrome-induced responses. Here we show that phyA is degraded by a proteasome-dependent mechanism both in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. However, phyA degradation is significantly slower in the cytoplasm than in the nucleus. In the nucleus phyA is degraded in a proteasome-dependent mechanism even in its inactive Pr (red light absorbing) form, preventing the accumulation of high levels of nuclear phyA in darkness. Thus, light-induced degradation of phyA is in part controlled by a light-regulated import into the nucleus where the turnover is faster. Although most phyA responses require nuclear phyA it might be useful to maintain phyA in the cytoplasm in its inactive form to allow accumulation of high levels of the light sensor in etiolated seedlings.
Structure and function of plant photoreceptors.
Signaling photoreceptors use the information contained in the absorption of a photon to modulate biological activity in plants and a wide range of organisms. The fundamental-and as yet imperfectly answered-question is, how is this achieved at the molecular level? We adopt the perspective of biophysicists interested in light-dependent signal transduction in nature and the three-dimensional structures that underpin signaling. Six classes of photoreceptors are known: light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) sensors, xanthopsins, phytochromes, blue-light sensors using flavin adenine dinucleotide (BLUF), cryptochromes, and rhodopsins. All are water-soluble proteins except rhodopsins, which are integral membrane proteins; all are based on a modular architecture except cryptochromes and rhodopsins; and each displays a distinct, light-dependent chemical process based on the photochemistry of their nonprotein chromophore, such as isomerization about a double bond (xanthopsins, phytochromes, and rhodopsins), formation or rupture of a covalent bond (LOV sensors), or electron transfer (BLUF sensors and cryptochromes).
Light activation as a method of regulating and studying gene expression.
Recently, several advances have been made in the activation and deactivation of gene expression using light. These developments are based on the application of small molecule inducers of gene expression, antisense- or RNA interference-mediated gene silencing, and the photochemical control of proteins regulating gene function. The majority of the examples employ a classical 'caging technology', through the chemical installation of a light-removable protecting group on the biological molecule (small molecule, oligonucleotide, or protein) of interest and rendering it inactive. UV light irradiation then removes the caging group and activates the molecule, enabling control over gene activity with high spatial and temporal resolution.
Induction of protein-protein interactions in live cells using light.
Protein-protein interactions are essential for many cellular processes. We have developed a technology called light-activated dimerization (LAD) to artificially induce protein hetero- and homodimerization in live cells using light. Using the FKF1 and GIGANTEA (GI) proteins of Arabidopsis thaliana, we have generated protein tags whose interaction is controlled by blue light. We demonstrated the utility of this system with LAD constructs that can recruit the small G-protein Rac1 to the plasma membrane and induce the local formation of lamellipodia in response to focal illumination. We also generated a light-activated transcription factor by fusing domains of GI and FKF1 to the DNA binding domain of Gal4 and the transactivation domain of VP16, respectively, showing that this technology is easily adapted to other systems. These studies set the stage for the development of light-regulated signaling molecules for controlling receptor activation, synapse formation and other signaling events in organisms.
Cryptochromes, phytochromes, and COP1 regulate light-controlled stomatal development in Arabidopsis.
In Arabidopsis thaliana, the cryptochrome (CRY) blue light photoreceptors and the phytochrome (phy) red/far-red light photoreceptors mediate a variety of light responses. COP1, a RING motif-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase, acts as a key repressor of photomorphogenesis. Production of stomata, which mediate gas and water vapor exchange between plants and their environment, is regulated by light and involves phyB and COP1. Here, we show that, in the loss-of-function mutants of CRY and phyB, stomatal development is inhibited under blue and red light, respectively. In the loss-of-function mutant of phyA, stomata are barely developed under far-red light. Strikingly, in the loss-of-function mutant of either COP1 or YDA, a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase, mature stomata are developed constitutively and produced in clusters in both light and darkness. CRY, phyA, and phyB act additively to promote stomatal development. COP1 acts genetically downstream of CRY, phyA, and phyB and in parallel with the leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein TOO MANY MOUTHS but upstream of YDA and the three basic helix-loop-helix proteins SPEECHLESS, MUTE, and FAMA, respectively. These findings suggest that light-controlled stomatal development is likely mediated through a crosstalk between the cryptochrome-phytochrome-COP1 signaling system and the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway.
A switchable light-input, light-output system modelled and constructed in yeast.
Advances in synthetic biology will require spatio-temporal regulation of biological processes in heterologous host cells. We develop a light-switchable, two-hybrid interaction in yeast, based upon the Arabidopsis proteins PHYTOCHROME A and FAR-RED ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 1-LIKE. Light input to this regulatory module allows dynamic control of a light-emitting LUCIFERASE reporter gene, which we detect by real-time imaging of yeast colonies on solid media.
Spatiotemporal control of cell signalling using a light-switchable protein interaction.
Genetically encodable optical reporters, such as green fluorescent protein, have revolutionized the observation and measurement of cellular states. However, the inverse challenge of using light to control precisely cellular behaviour has only recently begun to be addressed; semi-synthetic chromophore-tethered receptors and naturally occurring channel rhodopsins have been used to perturb directly neuronal networks. The difficulty of engineering light-sensitive proteins remains a significant impediment to the optical control of most cell-biological processes. Here we demonstrate the use of a new genetically encoded light-control system based on an optimized, reversible protein-protein interaction from the phytochrome signalling network of Arabidopsis thaliana. Because protein-protein interactions are one of the most general currencies of cellular information, this system can, in principle, be generically used to control diverse functions. Here we show that this system can be used to translocate target proteins precisely and reversibly to the membrane with micrometre spatial resolution and at the second timescale. We show that light-gated translocation of the upstream activators of Rho-family GTPases, which control the actin cytoskeleton, can be used to precisely reshape and direct the cell morphology of mammalian cells. The light-gated protein-protein interaction that has been optimized here should be useful for the design of diverse light-programmable reagents, potentially enabling a new generation of perturbative, quantitative experiments in cell biology.
Mechanism-based tuning of a LOV domain photoreceptor.
Phototropin-like LOV domains form a cysteinyl-flavin adduct in response to blue light but show considerable variation in output signal and the lifetime of the photo-adduct signaling state. Mechanistic studies of the slow-cycling fungal LOV photoreceptor Vivid (VVD) reveal the importance of reactive cysteine conformation, flavin electronic environment and solvent accessibility for adduct scission and thermal reversion. Proton inventory, pH effects, base catalysis and structural studies implicate flavin N(5) deprotonation as rate-determining for recovery. Substitutions of active site residues Ile74, Ile85, Met135 and Met165 alter photoadduct lifetimes by over four orders of magnitude in VVD, and similar changes in other LOV proteins show analogous effects. Adduct state decay rates also correlate with changes in conformational and oligomeric properties of the protein necessary for signaling. These findings link natural sequence variation of LOV domains to function and provide a means to design broadly reactive light-sensitive probes.
LOVely enzymes - towards engineering light-controllable biocatalysts.
Light control over enzyme function represents a novel and exciting field of biocatalysis research. Blue-light photoreceptors of the Light, Oxygen, Voltage (LOV) family have recently been investigated for their applicability as photoactive switches. We discuss here the primary photochemical events leading to light activation of LOV domains as well as the proposed signal propagation mechanism to the respective effector domain. Furthermore, we describe the construction of LOV fusions to different effector domains, namely a dihydrofolate reductase from Escherichia coli and a lipase from Bacillus subtilis. Both fusion partners retained functionality, and alteration of enzyme activity by light was also demonstrated. Hence, it appears that fusion of LOV photoreceptors to functional enzyme target sites via appropriate linker structures may represent a straightforward strategy to design light controllable biocatalysts.
A genetically encoded photoactivatable Rac controls the motility of living cells.
The precise spatio-temporal dynamics of protein activity are often critical in determining cell behaviour, yet for most proteins they remain poorly understood; it remains difficult to manipulate protein activity at precise times and places within living cells. Protein activity has been controlled by light, through protein derivatization with photocleavable moieties or using photoreactive small-molecule ligands. However, this requires use of toxic ultraviolet wavelengths, activation is irreversible, and/or cell loading is accomplished via disruption of the cell membrane (for example, through microinjection). Here we have developed a new approach to produce genetically encoded photoactivatable derivatives of Rac1, a key GTPase regulating actin cytoskeletal dynamics in metazoan cells. Rac1 mutants were fused to the photoreactive LOV (light oxygen voltage) domain from phototropin, sterically blocking Rac1 interactions until irradiation unwound a helix linking LOV to Rac1. Photoactivatable Rac1 (PA-Rac1) could be reversibly and repeatedly activated using 458- or 473-nm light to generate precisely localized cell protrusions and ruffling. Localized Rac activation or inactivation was sufficient to produce cell motility and control the direction of cell movement. Myosin was involved in Rac control of directionality but not in Rac-induced protrusion, whereas PAK was required for Rac-induced protrusion. PA-Rac1 was used to elucidate Rac regulation of RhoA in cell motility. Rac and Rho coordinate cytoskeletal behaviours with seconds and submicrometre precision. Their mutual regulation remains controversial, with data indicating that Rac inhibits and/or activates Rho. Rac was shown to inhibit RhoA in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, with inhibition modulated at protrusions and ruffles. A PA-Rac crystal structure and modelling revealed LOV-Rac interactions that will facilitate extension of this photoactivation approach to other proteins.
A synthetic genetic edge detection program.
Edge detection is a signal processing algorithm common in artificial intelligence and image recognition programs. We have constructed a genetically encoded edge detection algorithm that programs an isogenic community of E. coli to sense an image of light, communicate to identify the light-dark edges, and visually present the result of the computation. The algorithm is implemented using multiple genetic circuits. An engineered light sensor enables cells to distinguish between light and dark regions. In the dark, cells produce a diffusible chemical signal that diffuses into light regions. Genetic logic gates are used so that only cells that sense light and the diffusible signal produce a positive output. A mathematical model constructed from first principles and parameterized with experimental measurements of the component circuits predicts the performance of the complete program. Quantitatively accurate models will facilitate the engineering of more complex biological behaviors and inform bottom-up studies of natural genetic regulatory networks.
Structure and mechanism of a bacterial light-regulated cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase.
The ability to respond to light is crucial for most organisms. BLUF is a recently identified photoreceptor protein domain that senses blue light using a FAD chromophore. BLUF domains are present in various proteins from the Bacteria, Euglenozoa and Fungi. Although structures of single-domain BLUF proteins have been determined, none are available for a BLUF protein containing a functional output domain; the mechanism of light activation in this new class of photoreceptors has thus remained poorly understood. Here we report the biochemical, structural and mechanistic characterization of a full-length, active photoreceptor, BlrP1 (also known as KPN_01598), from Klebsiella pneumoniae. BlrP1 consists of a BLUF sensor domain and a phosphodiesterase EAL output domain which hydrolyses cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP). This ubiquitous second messenger controls motility, biofilm formation, virulence and antibiotic resistance in the Bacteria. Crystal structures of BlrP1 complexed with its substrate and metal ions involved in catalysis or in enzyme inhibition provide a detailed understanding of the mechanism of the EAL-domain c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases. These structures also sketch out a path of light activation of the phosphodiesterase output activity. Photon absorption by the BLUF domain of one subunit of the antiparallel BlrP1 homodimer activates the EAL domain of the second subunit through allosteric communication transmitted through conserved domain-domain interfaces.
Structure and insight into blue light-induced changes in the BlrP1 BLUF domain.
BLUF domains (sensors of blue light using flavin adenine dinucleotide) are a group of flavin-containing blue light photosensory domains from a variety of bacterial and algal proteins. While spectroscopic studies have indicated that these domains reorganize their interactions with an internally bound chromophore upon illumination, it remains unclear how these are converted into structural and functional changes. To address this, we have solved the solution structure of the BLUF domain from Klebsiella pneumoniae BlrP1, a light-activated c-di-guanosine 5'-monophosphate phosphodiesterase which consists of a sensory BLUF and a catalytic EAL (Glu-Ala-Leu) domain [Schmidt et. al. (2008) J. Bacteriol. 187, 4774-4781]. Our dark state structure of the sensory domain shows that it adopts a standard BLUF domain fold followed by two C-terminal alpha helices which adopt a novel orientation with respect to the rest of the domain. Comparison of NMR spectra acquired under dark and light conditions suggests that residues throughout the BlrP1 BLUF domain undergo significant light-induced chemical shift changes, including sites clustered on the beta(4)beta(5) loop, beta(5) strand, and alpha(3)alpha(4) loop. Given that these changes were observed at several sites on the helical cap, over 15 A from chromophore, our data suggest a long-range signal transduction process in BLUF domains.