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 176 - 200 of 1087 results

Long-Range Optogenetic Control of Axon Guidance Overcomes Developmental Boundaries and Defects.

blue AsLOV2 zebrafish in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Dev Cell, 8 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2020.05.009 Link to full text
Abstract: Axons connect neurons together, establishing the wiring architecture of neuronal networks. Axonal connectivity is largely built during embryonic development through highly constrained processes of axon guidance, which have been extensively studied. However, the inability to control axon guidance, and thus neuronal network architecture, has limited investigation of how axonal connections influence subsequent development and function of neuronal networks. Here, we use zebrafish motor neurons expressing a photoactivatable Rac1 to co-opt endogenous growth cone guidance machinery to precisely and non-invasively direct axon growth using light. Axons can be guided over large distances, within complex environments of living organisms, overriding competing endogenous signals and redirecting axons across potent repulsive barriers to construct novel circuitry. Notably, genetic axon guidance defects can be rescued, restoring functional connectivity. These data demonstrate that intrinsic growth cone guidance machinery can be co-opted to non-invasively build new connectivity, allowing investigation of neural network dynamics in intact living organisms.

A monogenic and fast-responding Light-Inducible Cre recombinase as a novel optogenetic switch.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293 S. cerevisiae
bioRxiv, 5 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.04.132548 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics enables genome manipulations with high spatiotemporal resolution, opening exciting possibilities for fundamental and applied biological research. Here, we report the development of LiCre, a novel light-inducible Cre recombinase. LiCre is made of a single flavin-containing protein comprising the asLOV2 photoreceptor domain of Avena sativa fused to a Cre variant carrying destabilizing mutations in its N-terminal and C-terminal domains. LiCre can be activated within minutes of illumination with blue light, without the need of additional chemicals. When compared to existing photoactivatable Cre recombinases based on two split units, LiCre displayed faster and stronger activation by light as well as a lower residual activity in the dark. LiCre was efficient both in yeast, where it allowed us to control the production of β-carotene with light, and in human cells. Given its simplicity and performances, LiCre is particularly suited for fundamental and biomedical research, as well as for controlling industrial bioprocesses.

Non-neuromodulatory Optogenetic Tools in Zebrafish.

blue cyan green red BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Front Cell Dev Biol, 3 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00418 Link to full text
Abstract: The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a popular vertebrate model organism to investigate molecular mechanisms driving development and disease. Due to its transparency at embryonic and larval stages, investigations in the living organism are possible with subcellular resolution using intravital microscopy. The beneficial optical characteristics of zebrafish not only allow for passive observation, but also active manipulation of proteins and cells by light using optogenetic tools. Initially, photosensitive ion channels have been applied for neurobiological studies in zebrafish to dissect complex behaviors on a cellular level. More recently, exciting non-neural optogenetic tools have been established to control gene expression or protein localization and activity, allowing for unprecedented non-invasive and precise manipulation of various aspects of cellular physiology. Zebrafish will likely be a vertebrate model organism at the forefront of in vivo application of non-neural optogenetic tools and pioneering work has already been performed. In this review, we provide an overview of non-neuromodulatory optogenetic tools successfully applied in zebrafish to control gene expression, protein localization, cell signaling, migration and cell ablation.

Optogenetic Manipulation of Postsynaptic cAMP Using a Novel Transgenic Mouse Line Enables Synaptic Plasticity and Enhances Depolarization Following Tetanic Stimulation in the Hippocampal Dentate Gyrus.

blue bPAC (BlaC) mouse hippocampal slices Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
Front Neural Circuits, 3 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.3389/fncir.2020.00024 Link to full text
Abstract: cAMP is a positive regulator tightly involved in certain types of synaptic plasticity and related memory functions. However, its spatiotemporal roles at the synaptic and neural circuit levels remain elusive. Using a combination of a cAMP optogenetics approach and voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) imaging with electrophysiological recording, we define a novel capacity of postsynaptic cAMP in enabling dentate gyrus long-term potentiation (LTP) and depolarization in acutely prepared murine hippocampal slices. To manipulate cAMP levels at medial perforant path to granule neuron (MPP-DG) synapses by light, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice expressing photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase (PAC) in DG granule neurons. Using these Tg(CMV-Camk2a-RFP/bPAC)3Koka mice, we recorded field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) from MPP-DG synapses and found that photoactivation of PAC during tetanic stimulation enabled synaptic potentiation that persisted for at least 30 min. This form of LTP was induced without the need for GABA receptor blockade that is typically required for inducing DG plasticity. The paired-pulse ratio (PPR) remained unchanged, indicating the cAMP-dependent LTP was likely postsynaptic. By employing fast fluorescent voltage-sensitive dye (VSD: di-4-ANEPPS) and fluorescence imaging, we found that photoactivation of the PAC actuator enhanced the intensity and extent of dentate gyrus depolarization triggered following tetanic stimulation. These results demonstrate that the elevation of cAMP in granule neurons is capable of rapidly enhancing synaptic strength and neuronal depolarization. The powerful actions of cAMP are consistent with this second messenger having a critical role in the regulation of synaptic function.

Flux controlling technology for central carbon metabolism for efficient microbial bio-production.

blue green Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Review
Curr Opin Biotechnol, 30 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.copbio.2020.04.003 Link to full text
Abstract: Syntheses of many commodities that are produced using microorganisms require cofactors such as ATP and NAD(P)H. Thus, optimization of the flux distribution in central carbon metabolism, which plays a key role in cofactor regeneration, is critical for enhancing the production of the target compounds. Since the intracellular and extracellular conditions change over time in the fermentation process, dynamic control of the metabolic system for maintaining the cellular state appropriately is necessary. Here, we review techniques for detecting the intracellular metabolic state with fluorescent sensors and controlling the flux of central carbon metabolism with optogenetic tools, as well as present a prospect of bio-production processes for fine-tuning the flux distribution.

Twist-dependent ratchet functioning downstream from Dorsal revealed using a light-inducible degron.

blue AsLOV2 D. melanogaster in vivo Developmental processes
Genes Dev, 28 May 2020 DOI: 10.1101/gad.338194.120 Link to full text
Abstract: Graded transcription factors are pivotal regulators of embryonic patterning, but whether their role changes over time is unclear. A light-regulated protein degradation system was used to assay temporal dependence of the transcription factor Dorsal in dorsal-ventral axis patterning of Drosophila embryos. Surprisingly, the high-threshold target gene snail only requires Dorsal input early but not late when Dorsal levels peak. Instead, late snail expression can be supported by action of the Twist transcription factor, specifically, through one enhancer, sna.distal This study demonstrates that continuous input is not required for some Dorsal targets and downstream responses, such as twist, function as molecular ratchets.

Why is CarH photolytically active in comparison to other B12-dependent enzymes?

green Cobalamin-binding domains Background
J Photochem Photobiol B, Biol, 28 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2020.111919 Link to full text
Abstract: The discovery of naturally occurring B12-depedent photoreceptors has allowed for applications of cobalamins (Cbls) in optogenetics and synthetic biology to emerge. However, theoretical investigations of the complex mechanisms of these systems have been lacking. Adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl)-dependent photoreceptor, CarH, is one example and it relies on daylight to perform its catalytic function. Typically, in enzymes employing AdoCbl as their cofactor, the Co-C5' bond activation and cleavage is triggered by substrate binding. The cleavage of the Co-C5' bond is homolytic resulting in radical pair formation. However, in CarH, this bond is instead activated by light. To explore this peculiarity, the ground and first excited state potential energy surfaces (PESs) were constructed using the quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) framework and compared with other AdoCbl-dependent enzymes. QM/MM results indicate that CarH is photolytically active as a result of the AdoCbl dual role, acting as a radical generator and as a substrate. Photo-cleavage of the Co-C5' bond and subsequent H-atom abstraction is possible because of the specific orientation of the H-C4' bond with respect to the Co(II) center. Comparison with other AdoCbl-dependent enzymes indicate that the protein environment in the CarH active center alters the photochemistry of AdoCbl by controlling the stereochemistry of the ribose moiety.

Color Sensing and Signal Transmission Diversity of Cyanobacterial Phytochromes and Cyanobacteriochromes.

green red Cyanobacteriochromes Phytochromes Review
Mol Cells, 22 May 2020 DOI: 10.14348/molcells.2020.0077 Link to full text
Abstract: To perceive fluctuations in light quality, quantity, and timing, higher plants have evolved diverse photoreceptors including UVR8 (a UV-B photoreceptor), cryptochromes, phototropins, and phytochromes (Phys). In contrast to plants, prokaryotic oxygen-evolving photosynthetic organisms, cyanobacteria, rely mostly on bilin-based photoreceptors, namely, cyanobacterial phytochromes (Cphs) and cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs), which exhibit structural and functional differences compared with plant Phys. CBCRs comprise varying numbers of light sensing domains with diverse color-tuning mechanisms and signal transmission pathways, allowing cyanobacteria to respond to UV-A, visible, and far-red lights. Recent genomic surveys of filamentous cyanobacteria revealed novel CBCRs with broader chromophore-binding specificity and photocycle protochromicity. Furthermore, a novel Cph lineage has been identified that absorbs blue-violet/yellow-orange light. In this minireview, we briefly discuss the diversity in color sensing and signal transmission mechanisms of Cphs and CBCRs, along with their potential utility in the field of optogenetics.

CofActor: A light- and stress-gated optogenetic clustering tool to study disease-associated cytoskeletal dynamics in living cells.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
J Biol Chem, 18 May 2020 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra119.012427 Link to full text
Abstract: The hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases, including neural fibrils, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and cofilin-actin rods, present numerous challenges in the development of in vivo diagnostic tools. Biomarkers such as amyloid β (Aβ) fibrils and Tau tangles in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are accessible only via invasive cerebrospinal fluid assays, and ROS can be fleeting and challenging to monitor in vivo. Although remaining a challenge for in vivo detection, the protein-protein interactions underlying these disease-specific biomarkers present opportunities for the engineering of in vitro pathology-sensitive biosensors. These tools can be useful for investigating early-stage events in neurodegenerative diseases in both cellular and animal models and may lead to clinically useful reagents. Here, we report a light- and cellular stress-gated protein switch based on cofilin-actin rod formation, occurring in stressed neurons in the AD brain and following ischemia. By coupling the stress-sensitive cofilin-actin interaction with the light-responsive Cry2-CIB blue-light switch, referred to hereafter as the "CofActor," we accomplished both light- and energetic/oxidative stress-gated control of this interaction. Site-directed mutagenesis of both cofilin and actin revealed residues critical for sustaining or abrogating the light- and stress-gated response. Of note, the switch response varied, depending on whether cellular stress was generated via glycolytic inhibition or by both glycolytic inhibition and azide-induced ATP depletion. We also demonstrate light- and cellular stress-gated switch function in cultured hippocampal neurons. CofActor holds promise for the tracking of early-stage events in neurodegeneration and for investigating actin's interactions with other proteins during cellular stress.

Optical Activation of TrkB Signaling.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 VfAU1-LOV NIH/3T3 PC-12 Signaling cascade control
J Mol Biol, 15 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.05.002 Link to full text
Abstract: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), via activation of tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), plays a critical role in neuronal proliferation, differentiation, survival, and death. Dysregulation of TrkB signaling is implicated in neurodegenerative disorders and cancers. Precise activation of TrkB signaling with spatial and temporal resolution is greatly desired to study the dynamic nature of TrkB signaling and its role in related diseases. Here we develop different optogenetic approaches that use light to activate TrkB signaling. Utilizing the photosensitive protein Arabidopsis thaliana cryptochrome 2 (CRY2), the light-inducible homo-interaction of the intracellular domain of TrkB (iTrkB) in the cytosol or on the plasma membrane is able to induce the activation of downstream MAPK/ERK and PI3K/Akt signaling as well as the neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells. Moreover, we prove that such strategies are generalizable to other optical homo-dimerizers by demonstrating the optical TrkB activation based on the light-oxygen-voltage domain of aureochrome 1 from Vaucheria frigida. The results open up new possibilities of many other optical platforms to activate TrkB signaling to fulfill customized needs. By comparing all the different strategies, we find that the CRY2-integrated approach to achieve light-induced cell membrane recruitment and homo-interaction of iTrkB is most efficient in activating TrkB signaling. The optogenetic strategies presented are promising tools to investigate BDNF/TrkB signaling with tight spatial and temporal control.

Clustering of the ζ-Chain Can Initiate T Cell Receptor Signaling.

blue CRY2/CRY2 Cos-7 Jurkat Signaling cascade control
Int J Mol Sci, 15 May 2020 DOI: 10.3390/ijms21103498 Link to full text
Abstract: T cell activation is initiated when ligand binding to the T cell receptor (TCR) triggers intracellular phosphorylation of the TCR-CD3 complex. However, it remains unknown how biophysical properties of TCR engagement result in biochemical phosphorylation events. Here, we constructed an optogenetic tool that induces spatial clustering of ζ-chain in a light controlled manner. We showed that spatial clustering of the ζ-chain intracellular tail alone was sufficient to initialize T cell triggering including phosphorylation of ζ-chain, Zap70, PLCγ, ERK and initiated Ca2+ flux. In reconstituted COS-7 cells, only Lck expression was required to initiate ζ-chain phosphorylation upon ζ-chain clustering, which leads to the recruitment of tandem SH2 domain of Zap70 from cell cytosol to the newly formed ζ-chain clusters at the plasma membrane. Taken together, our data demonstrated the biophysical relevance of receptor clustering in TCR signaling.

CLIC4 is a cytokinetic cleavage furrow protein that regulates cortical cytoskeleton stability during cell division.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 HeLa Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
J Cell Sci, 14 May 2020 DOI: 10.1242/jcs.241117 Link to full text
Abstract: During mitotic cell division, the actomyosin cytoskeleton undergoes several dynamic changes that play key roles in progression through mitosis. Although the regulators of cytokinetic ring formation and contraction are well established, proteins that regulate cortical stability during anaphase and telophase have been understudied. Here, we describe a role for CLIC4 in regulating actin and actin regulators at the cortex and cytokinetic cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. We first describe CLIC4 as a new component of the cytokinetic cleavage furrow that is required for successful completion of mitotic cell division. We also demonstrate that CLIC4 regulates the remodeling of the sub-plasma-membrane actomyosin network within the furrow by recruiting MST4 kinase (also known as STK26) and regulating ezrin phosphorylation. This work identifies and characterizes new molecular players involved in regulating cortex stiffness and blebbing during the late stages of cytokinetic furrowing.

LITESEC-T3SS - Light-controlled protein delivery into eukaryotic cells with high spatial and temporal resolution.

blue iLID LOVTRAP HEp-2 Y. enterocolitica Cell death
Nat Commun, 13 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16169-w Link to full text
Abstract: Many bacteria employ a type III secretion system (T3SS) injectisome to translocate proteins into eukaryotic host cells. Although the T3SS can efficiently export heterologous cargo proteins, a lack of target cell specificity currently limits its application in biotechnology and healthcare. In this study, we exploit the dynamic nature of the T3SS to govern its activity. Using optogenetic interaction switches to control the availability of the dynamic cytosolic T3SS component SctQ, T3SS-dependent effector secretion can be regulated by light. The resulting system, LITESEC-T3SS (Light-induced translocation of effectors through sequestration of endogenous components of the T3SS), allows rapid, specific, and reversible activation or deactivation of the T3SS upon illumination. We demonstrate the light-regulated translocation of heterologous reporter proteins, and induction of apoptosis in cultured eukaryotic cells. LITESEC-T3SS constitutes a new method to control protein secretion and translocation into eukaryotic host cells with unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution.

Flotillin-upregulation acts as an epithelial-mesenchymal transition driver by promoting sphingosine kinase 2-dependent AXL stabilization.

blue CRY2/CIB1 MCF10A
bioRxiv, 13 May 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.12.090571 Link to full text
Abstract: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is critical for cancer cell dissemination and metastasis formation. Here, we found that flotillin 1 and 2 upregulation, which is observed in many aggressive cancers, is sufficient to induce EMT in non-tumoral mammary cells. We identified that the Upregulated Flotillin-Induced Trafficking (UFIT) pathway promotes the endocytosis of several transmembrane receptors in flotillin-positive late endosomes, thus modifying their destiny and leading to the the activation of oncogenic pathways that promotes EMT. The receptor tyrosine kinase AXL, a key actor during EMT and metastasis formation, is stabilized by the UFIT pathway and is required for EMT induced by flotillin upregulation. Moreover, sphingosine kinase 2, a lipid kinase recruited in flotillin-positive plasma membrane domains and vesicles, is required to stabilize AXL. These findings show that flotillin upregulation is a key EMT inducer. The UFIT pathway, through sphingosine kinase 2 activity, targets membrane receptors, such as AXL, to flotillin-positive vesicles, allowing their stabilization and the activation of EMT-linked signaling pathways.

The oligomeric structures of plant cryptochromes.

blue Cryptochromes Background
Nat Struct Mol Biol, 11 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41594-020-0420-x Link to full text
Abstract: Cryptochromes (CRYs) are a group of evolutionarily conserved flavoproteins found in many organisms. In plants, the well-studied CRY photoreceptor, activated by blue light, plays essential roles in plant growth and development. However, the mechanism of activation remains largely unknown. Here, we determined the oligomeric structures of the blue-light-perceiving PHR domain of Zea mays CRY1 and an Arabidopsis CRY2 constitutively active mutant. The structures form dimers and tetramers whose functional importance is examined in vitro and in vivo with Arabidopsis CRY2. Structure-based analysis suggests that blue light may be perceived by CRY to cause conformational changes, whose precise nature remains to be determined, leading to oligomerization that is essential for downstream signaling. This photoactivation mechanism may be widely used by plant CRYs. Our study reveals a molecular mechanism of plant CRY activation and also paves the way for design of CRY as a more efficient optical switch.

Structural insights into BIC-mediated inactivation of Arabidopsis cryptochrome 2.

blue Cryptochromes Background
Nat Struct Mol Biol, 11 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41594-020-0410-z Link to full text
Abstract: Cryptochromes (CRYs) are blue-light receptors in plants that harbor FAD as a cofactor and regulate various physiological responses. Photoactivated CRYs undergo oligomerization, which increases the binding affinity to downstream signaling partners. Despite decades of research on the activation of CRYs, little is known about how they are inactivated. Binding of blue-light inhibitors of cryptochromes (BICs) to CRY2 suppresses its photoactivation, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here, we report crystal structures of CRY2N (CRY2 PHR domain) and the BIC2-CRY2N complex with resolutions of 2.7 and 2.5 Å, respectively. In the BIC2-CRY2N complex, BIC2 exhibits an extremely extended structure that sinuously winds around CRY2N. In this way, BIC2 not only restrains the transfer of electrons and protons from CRY2 to FAD during photoreduction but also interacts with the CRY2 oligomer to return it to the monomer form. Uncovering the mechanism of CRY2 inactivation lays a solid foundation for the investigation of cryptochrome protein function.

Using optogenetics to tackle systems-level questions of multicellular morphogenesis.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Cell Biol, 11 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/ Link to full text
Abstract: Morphogenesis of multicellular systems is governed by precise spatiotemporal regulation of biochemical reactions and mechanical forces which together with environmental conditions determine the development of complex organisms. Current efforts in the field aim at decoding the system-level principles underlying the regulation of developmental processes. Toward this goal, optogenetics, the science of regulation of protein function with light, is emerging as a powerful new tool to quantitatively perturb protein function in vivo with unprecedented precision in space and time. In this review, we provide an overview of how optogenetics is helping to address system-level questions of multicellular morphogenesis and discuss future directions.

Light-powered Escherichia coli cell division for chemical production.

blue red BphS EL222 E. coli Cell cycle control Endogenous gene expression Immediate control of second messengers Multichromatic
Nat Commun, 8 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16154-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell division can perturb the metabolic performance of industrial microbes. The C period of cell division starts from the initiation to the termination of DNA replication, whereas the D period is the bacterial division process. Here, we first shorten the C and D periods of E. coli by controlling the expression of the ribonucleotide reductase NrdAB and division proteins FtsZA through blue light and near-infrared light activation, respectively. It increases the specific surface area to 3.7 μm-1 and acetoin titer to 67.2 g·L-1. Next, we prolong the C and D periods of E. coli by regulating the expression of the ribonucleotide reductase NrdA and division protein inhibitor SulA through blue light activation-repression and near-infrared (NIR) light activation, respectively. It improves the cell volume to 52.6 μm3 and poly(lactate-co-3-hydroxybutyrate) titer to 14.31 g·L-1. Thus, the optogenetic-based cell division regulation strategy can improve the efficiency of microbial cell factories.

Correction to Lancet Infectious Diseases 2020; published online April 29. S1473-3099(20)30064-5.

blue TULIP C. elegans in vivo
Lancet Infect Dis, 5 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.xpro.2020.100273 Link to full text
Abstract: Abstract not available.

The Proline-rich Domain Promotes Tau Liquid Liquid Phase Separation in Cells.

blue CRY2olig SH-SY5Y Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 5 May 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.04.076968 Link to full text
Abstract: Tau protein in vitro can undergo liquid liquid phase separation (LLPS); however, observations of this phase transition in living cells are limited. To investigate protein state transitions in living cells we found that Cry2 can optogentically increase the association of full lengh tau with microtubules. To probe this mechanism, we identified tau domains that drive tau clustering on microtubules in living cells. The polyproline rich domain (PRD) drives LLPS and does so under the control of phosphorylation. These readily observable cytoplasmic condensates underwent fusion and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching consistent with the ability of the PRD to undergo LLPS in vitro. In absence of the MTBD, the tau PRD co-condensed with EB1, a regulator of plus-end microtubule dynamic instability. The specific domain properties of the MTBD and PRD serve distinct but mutually complementary roles that utilize LLPS in a cellular context to implement emergent functionalities that scale their relationship from binding alpha-beta tubulin heterodimers to the larger proportions of microtubules.

A STIMulating journey into optogenetic engineering.

blue Cryptochromes LOV domains Review
Cell Calcium, 4 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102197 Link to full text
Abstract: Genetically-encoded calcium actuators (GECAs) stemmed from STIM1 have enabled optical activation of endogenous ORAI1 channels in both excitable and non-excitable tissues. These GECAs offer new non-invasive means to probe the structure-function relations of calcium channels and wirelessly control the behavior of awake mice.

The mitotic protein NuMA plays a spindle-independent role in nuclear formation and mechanics.

bioRxiv, 3 May 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.02.070680 Link to full text
Abstract: Eukaryotic cells typically form a single, round nucleus after mitosis, and failures to do so can compromise genomic integrity. How mammalian cells form such a nucleus remains incompletely understood. NuMA is a spindle protein whose disruption results in nuclear fragmentation. What role NuMA plays in nuclear integrity, or whether its perceived role stems from its spindle function, is unclear. Here, we use live imaging to demonstrate that NuMA plays a spindle-independent role in forming a single, round nucleus. NuMA keeps the decondensing chromosome mass compact at mitotic exit, and promotes a mechanically robust nucleus. NuMA’s C-terminus binds DNA in vitro and chromosomes in interphase, while its coiled-coil acts as a regulatory and structural hub: it prevents NuMA from binding chromosomes at mitosis, regulates its nuclear mobility and is essential for nuclear formation. Thus, NuMA plays a long-range structural role in building and maintaining an intact nucleus, as it does for the spindle, playing a protective role over the cell cycle.

A Light-Inducible Strain for Genome-Wide Histone Turnover Profiling in Neurospora crassa.

blue VVD N. crassa Epigenetic modification
Genetics, 1 May 2020 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.120.303217 Link to full text
Abstract: In chromatin, nucleosomes are composed of about 146 base pairs of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer, and are highly dynamic structures subject to remodeling and exchange. Histone turnover has previously been implicated in various processes including regulation of chromatin accessibility, segregation of chromatin domains, and dilution of histone marks. Histones in different chromatin environments may turnover at different rates, possibly with functional consequences.Neurospora crassasports a chromatin environment that is more similar to that of higher eukaryotes than yeasts, which have been utilized in the past to explore histone exchange. We constructed a simple light-inducible system to profile histone exchange in N. crassaon a 3xFLAG-tagged histone H3 under the control of the rapidly inducible vvdpromoter. After induction with blue light, incorporation of tagged H3 into chromatin occurred within 20 minutes. Previous studies of histone turnover involved considerably longer incubation periods and relied on a potentially disruptive change of medium for induction. We used this reporter to explore replication-independent histone turnover at genes and examine changes in histone turnover at heterochromatin domains in different heterochromatin mutant strains. In euchromatin, H3-3xFLAG patterns were almost indistinguishable from that observed in wild type in all mutant backgrounds tested, suggesting that loss of heterochromatin machinery has little effect on histone turnover in euchromatin. However, turnover at heterochromatin domains increased with loss of H3K9me3 or HP1, but did not depend on DNA methylation. Our reporter strain provides a simple yet powerful tool to assess histone exchange across multiple chromatin contexts.

Lights, cytoskeleton, action: Optogenetic control of cell dynamics.

blue cyan red Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Cell Biol, 1 May 2020 DOI: 10.1016/ Link to full text
Abstract: Cell biology is moving from observing molecules to controlling them in real time, a critical step towards a mechanistic understanding of how cells work. Initially developed from light-gated ion channels to control neuron activity, optogenetics now describes any genetically encoded protein system designed to accomplish specific light-mediated tasks. Recent photosensitive switches use many ingenious designs that bring spatial and temporal control within reach for almost any protein or pathway of interest. This next generation optogenetics includes light-controlled protein-protein interactions and shape-shifting photosensors, which in combination with live microscopy enable acute modulation and analysis of dynamic protein functions in living cells. We provide a brief overview of various types of optogenetic switches. We then discuss how diverse approaches have been used to control cytoskeleton dynamics with light through Rho GTPase signaling, microtubule and actin assembly, mitotic spindle positioning and intracellular transport and highlight advantages and limitations of different experimental strategies.

Photoactivatable Cre recombinase 3.0 for in vivo mouse applications.

blue CRY2/CIB1 FKF1/GI iLID Magnets HEK293T isolated MEFs mouse in vivo mouse neural progenitor cells
Nat Commun, 1 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16030-0 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic genome engineering tools enable spatiotemporal control of gene expression and provide new insight into biological function. Here, we report the new version of genetically encoded photoactivatable (PA) Cre recombinase, PA-Cre 3.0. To improve PA-Cre technology, we compare light-dimerization tools and optimize for mammalian expression using a CAG promoter, Magnets, and 2A self-cleaving peptide. To prevent background recombination caused by the high sequence similarity in the dimerization domains, we modify the codons for mouse gene targeting and viral production. Overall, these modifications significantly reduce dark leak activity and improve blue-light induction developing our new version, PA-Cre 3.0. As a resource, we have generated and validated AAV-PA-Cre 3.0 as well as two mouse lines that can conditionally express PA-Cre 3.0. Together these new tools will facilitate further biological and biomedical research.
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