Curated Optogenetic Publication Database

Search precisely and efficiently by using the advantage of the hand-assigned publication tags that allow you to search for papers involving a specific trait, e.g. a particular optogenetic switch or a host organism.

Showing 1 - 25 of 45 results

Optogenetic induction of caspase-8 mediated apoptosis by employing Arabidopsis cryptochrome 2.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 HEK293T HeLa Signaling cascade control Cell death
Sci Rep, 27 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-50561-y Link to full text
Abstract: Apoptosis, a programmed cell death mechanism, is a regulatory process controlling cell proliferation as cells undergo demise. Caspase-8 serves as a pivotal apoptosis-inducing factor that initiates the death receptor-mediated apoptosis pathway. In this investigation, we have devised an optogenetic method to swiftly modulate caspase-8 activation in response to blue light. The cornerstone of our optogenetic tool relies on the PHR domain of Arabidopsis thaliana cryptochrome 2, which self-oligomerizes upon exposure to blue light. In this study, we have developed two optogenetic approaches for rapidly controlling caspase-8 activation in response to blue light in cellular systems. The first strategy, denoted as Opto-Casp8-V1, entails the fusion expression of the Arabidopsis blue light receptor CRY2 N-terminal PHR domain with caspase-8. The second strategy, referred to as Opto-Casp8-V2, involves the independent fusion expression of caspase-8 with the PHR domain and the CRY2 blue light-interacting protein CIB1 N-terminal CIB1N. Upon induction with blue light, PHR undergoes aggregation, leading to caspase-8 aggregation. Additionally, the blue light-dependent interaction between PHR and CIB1N also results in caspase-8 aggregation. We have validated these strategies in both HEK293T and HeLa cells. The findings reveal that both strategies are capable of inducing apoptosis, with Opto-Casp8-V2 demonstrating significantly superior efficiency compared to Opto-Casp8-V1.

Near-Infrared Optogenetic Module for Conditional Protein Splicing.

red DrBphP MagRed HEK293T HeLa Transgene expression Cell death
J Mol Biol, 8 Nov 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2023.168360 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics has emerged as a powerful tool for spatiotemporal control of biological processes. Near-infrared (NIR) light, with its low phototoxicity and deep tissue penetration, holds particular promise. However, the optogenetic control of polypeptide bond formation has not yet been developed. In this study, we introduce a NIR optogenetic module for conditional protein splicing (CPS) based on the gp41-1 intein. We optimized the module to minimize background signals in the darkness and to maximize the contrast between light and dark conditions. Next, we engineered a NIR CPS gene expression system based on the protein ligation of a transcription factor. We applied the NIR CPS for light-triggered protein cleavage to activate gasdermin D, a pore-forming protein that induces pyroptotic cell death. Our NIR CPS optogenetic module represents a promising tool for controlling molecular processes through covalent protein linkage and cleavage.

An optogenetic approach to control and monitor inflammasome activation.

blue CRY2/CRY2 iBMDM MEF-1 Cell death
bioRxiv, 28 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.07.25.550490 Link to full text
Abstract: Inflammasomes are multiprotein platforms which control caspase-1 activation, leading to the processing of proinflammatory cytokines into mature and active cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, and to pyroptosis through the cleavage of gasdermin-D (GSDMD). Inflammasomes assemble upon activation of specific cytosolic pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) by damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) or pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). They converge to the nucleation of apoptosis-associated speck-like containing a caspase activation and recruitment domain (ASC) to form hetero-oligomers with caspase-1. Studying inflammasome encoding activities remains challenging because PAMPs and DAMPs are sensed by a large diversity of cytosolic and membranous PRRs. To bypass the different signals required to activate the inflammasome, we designed an optogenetic approach to temporally and quantitatively manipulate ASC assembly (i.e. in a PAMP- or DAMP-independent manner). We reveal that controlling light-sensitive oligomerization of ASC is sufficient to recapitulate the classical features of inflammasomes within minutes, and enabled us to decipher the complexity of volume regulation and pore opening during pyroptosis. Overall, this approach offers interesting perspective to decipher PRR signaling pathways in the field of innate immunity.

RNA G-quadruplexes forming scaffolds for alpha-synuclein aggregation lead to progressive neurodegeneration.

blue CRY2olig mouse in vivo Neuro-2a primary mouse cortical neurons Cell death Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 11 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.07.10.548322 Link to full text
Abstract: Synucleinopathies, including Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy, are primarily neurodegenerative diseases with progressive decline in motor function. Aggregates composed of alpha-synuclein, which are known as Lewy bodies, are a neuropathological hallmark of synucleinopathies; their pathogenesis has been attributed to neuronal loss owing to intracellular alpha-synuclein accumulation. However, the mechanism of alpha-synuclein aggregation remains unclear. Here we show that the RNA G-quadruplexes assembly forms scaffolds for alpha-synuclein aggregation, thereby contributing to neurodegeneration. RNA G-quadruplexes undergo phase separation and form scaffolds for co-aggregation with & alpha-synuclein. Upon pathogenic alpha-synuclein seeds-induced cellular stress and an optogenetic assembly of RNA G-quadruplexes, phase-separated RNA G-quadruplexes served as scaffolds for & alpha-synuclein phase transition, and the co-aggregates initiated synaptic dysfunction and Parkinsonism in mice. Treatment with 5-aminolevulinic acid and protoporphyrin IX, which prevents RNA G-quadruplexes phase separation, attenuates alpha-synuclein phase transition, neurodegeneration, and motor deficits in synucleinopathy model mice. Together, the RNA G-quadruplexes assembly accelerates alpha-synuclein phase transition and aggregation owing to intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies.

The Opto-inflammasome in zebrafish as a tool to study cell and tissue responses to speck formation and cell death.

blue CRY2olig zebrafish in vivo Cell death
Elife, 7 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.7554/elife.86373 Link to full text
Abstract: The inflammasome is a conserved structure for the intracellular detection of danger or pathogen signals. As a large intracellular multiprotein signaling platform, it activates downstream effectors that initiate a rapid necrotic programmed cell death (PCD) termed pyroptosis and activation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines to warn and activate surrounding cells. However, inflammasome activation is difficult to control experimentally on a single-cell level using canonical triggers. We constructed Opto-ASC, a light-responsive form of the inflammasome adaptor protein ASC (Apoptosis-Associated Speck-Like Protein Containing a CARD) which allows tight control of inflammasome formation in vivo. We introduced a cassette of this construct under the control of a heat shock element into zebrafish in which we can now induce ASC inflammasome (speck) formation in individual cells of the skin. We find that cell death resulting from ASC speck formation is morphologically distinct from apoptosis in periderm cells but not in basal cells. ASC-induced PCD can lead to apical or basal extrusion from the periderm. The apical extrusion in periderm cells depends on Caspb and triggers a strong Ca2+ signaling response in nearby cells.

Advanced human iPSC-based preclinical model for Parkinson's disease with optogenetic alpha-synuclein aggregation.

blue CRY2clust human IPSCs Cell death
Cell Stem Cell, 19 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2023.05.015 Link to full text
Abstract: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) offer advantages for disease modeling and drug discovery. However, recreating innate cellular pathologies, particularly in late-onset neurodegenerative diseases with accumulated protein aggregates including Parkinson's disease (PD), has been challenging. To overcome this barrier, we developed an optogenetics-assisted α-synuclein (α-syn) aggregation induction system (OASIS) that rapidly induces α-syn aggregates and toxicity in PD hiPSC-midbrain dopaminergic neurons and midbrain organoids. Our OASIS-based primary compound screening with SH-SY5Y cells identified 5 candidates that were secondarily validated with OASIS PD hiPSC-midbrain dopaminergic neurons and midbrain organoids, leading us to finally select BAG956. Furthermore, BAG956 significantly reverses characteristic PD phenotypes in α-syn preformed fibril models in vitro and in vivo by promoting autophagic clearance of pathological α-syn aggregates. Following the FDA Modernization Act 2.0's emphasis on alternative non-animal testing methods, our OASIS can serve as an animal-free preclinical test model (newly termed "nonclinical test") for the synucleinopathy drug development.

Optogenetic Activation of Ripk3 Reveals a Thresholding Mechanism in Intracellular and Intercellular Necroptosis.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 CRY2clust CRY2olig PtAU1-LOV HEK293T NIH/3T3 Cell death
J Comput Soc Sci, 23 May 2023 DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.4453793 Link to full text
Abstract: Necroptosis is programmed cell death that involves active cytokine production and membrane ruptures. Whereas intracellular necroptosis has been extensively studied, intercellular propagation of necroptosis is much less understood. Pharmacological induction of necroptosis cannot delineate whether a necroptotic cell can propagate the death signal to its neighbor because of the confounding effect from the exogenously administrated death-inducers. To address this challenge, we develop an optogenetic system to enable ligand-free, optical induction of necroptosis at the single-cell level. This system, termed Light-activatable Receptor-Interacting Protein Kinase 3 or La-RIPK3, utilizes CRY2olig, a variant of the photoactivatable protein cryptochrome, to induce oligomerization of RIPK3 under blue light stimulation. Kinetic analysis La-RIPK3-activated cells shows that cytokine production and membrane rupture follows distinct kinetics. Moreover, membrane rupture requires a higher threshold of RIPK3 kinase activity than cytokine production. Intriguingly, intercellular propagation of necroptosis requires at least two proximal necroptotic cells, and a single necroptotic cell rarely induces such propagation. These results imply that RIPK3 acts as a gatekeeper to define the threshold of distinct functional outcomes of intracellular and intercellular necroptosis. Such a thresholding mechanism could allow cells to make informed decisions by evaluating the severity of environmental stress when walking a tightrope between committing an immunogenic suicidal fate and maintaining membrane integrity. This study highlights the role of RIPK3-containing necrosomes in regulating intracellular and intercellular necroptosis and offers an optimized optogenetic tool for investigating RIPK3-dependent necroptotic pathways.

Near-infrared-inducible Bcl-2-associated X protein system for apoptosis regulation in vivo.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa mouse in vivo Cell death
J Chem Eng, 8 Feb 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2023.141771 Link to full text
Abstract: Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX) plays a vital role in maintaining tissue homeostasis and participates in the pathogenesis of various diseases. Poor spatiotemporal control remains a challenge in direct pharmacological modulation and genetic perturbation of BAX’s activity. Herein, we developed a near-infrared (NIR) light-inducible BAX (NiBAX) system that enabled remote and spatiotemporal control of BAX-mediated apoptosis. The NiBAX was constructed by integration of two independent modules: blue light-responsive optogenetics BAX plasmids for regulating migration of BAX to mitochondria and upconversion nanoparticles-encapsulated flexible implant for converting tissue-penetrative NIR light into blue light. This NiBAX could readily induce robust BAX-based cellular apoptosis in vitro, and elicit effective apoptosis-mediated oncotherapy in vivo under NIR light. Collectively, the upconversion optogenetic NiBAX system provides an advanced tool for BAX-related cellular behavior control.

A red light-controlled probiotic bio-system for in-situ gut-brain axis regulation.

red Cph1 E. coli Transgene expression Cell death
Biomaterials, 20 Jan 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2023.122005 Link to full text
Abstract: Microbes regulate brain function through the gut-brain axis, deriving the technology to modulate the gut-brain axis in situ by engineered probiotics. Optogenetics offers precise and flexible strategies for controlling the functions of probiotics in situ. However, the poor penetration of most frequently used short wavelength light has limited the application of optogenetic probiotics in the gut. Herein, a red-light optogenetic gut probiotic was applied for drug production and delivery and regulation of the host behaviors. Firstly, a Red-light Optogenetic E. coli Nissle 1917 strain (ROEN) that could respond to red light and release drug product by light-controlled lysis was constructed. The remaining optical power of red light after 3 cm tissue was still able to initiate gene expression of ROEN and produce about approximately 3-fold induction efficiency. To give full play to the in vivo potential of ROEN, its responsive ability of the penetrated red light was tested, and its encapsulation was realized by PH-sensitive alginate microcapsules for further oral administration. The function of ROEN for gut-brain regulation was realized by releasing Exendin-4 fused with anti-neonatal Fc receptor affibody. Neuroprotection and behavioral regulation effects were evaluated in the Parkinson's disease mouse model, after orally administration of ROEN delivering Exendin-4 under optogenetic control in the murine gut. The red-light optogenetic probiotic might be a perspective platform for in situ drug delivery and gut-brain axis regulation.

Upconversion Optogenetic Engineered Bacteria System for Time-Resolved Imaging Diagnosis and Light-Controlled Cancer Therapy.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression Cell death
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 6 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c14633 Link to full text
Abstract: Engineering bacteria can achieve targeted and controllable cancer therapy using synthetic biology technology and the characteristics of tumor microenvironment. Besides, the accurate tumor diagnosis and visualization of the treatment process are also vital for bacterial therapy. In this paper, a light control engineered bacteria system based on upconversion nanoparticles (UCNP)-mediated time-resolved imaging (TRI) was constructed for colorectal cancer theranostic and therapy. UCNP with different luminous lifetimes were separately modified with the tumor targeting molecule (folic acid) or anaerobic bacteria (Nissle 1917, EcN) to realize the co-localization of tumor tissues, thus improving the diagnostic accuracy based on TRI. In addition, blue light was used to induce engineered bacteria (EcN-pDawn-φx174E/TRAIL) lysis and the release of tumor apoptosis-related inducing ligand (TRAIL), thus triggering tumor cell death. In vitro and in vivo results indicated that this system could achieve accurate tumor diagnosis and light-controlled cancer therapy. EcN-pDawn-φx174E/TRAIL with blue light irradiation could inhibit 53% of tumor growth in comparison to that without blue light irradiation (11.8%). We expect that this engineered bacteria system provides a new technology for intelligent bacterial therapy and the construction of cancer theranostics.

Spatiotemporal control of ERK pulse frequency coordinates fate decisions during mammary acinar morphogenesis.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 MCF10A Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Cell death Developmental processes
Dev Cell, 7 Sep 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.08.008 Link to full text
Abstract: The signaling events controlling proliferation, survival, and apoptosis during mammary epithelial acinar morphogenesis remain poorly characterized. By imaging single-cell ERK activity dynamics in MCF10A acini, we find that these fates depend on the average frequency of non-periodic ERK pulses. High pulse frequency is observed during initial acinus growth, correlating with rapid cell motility and proliferation. Subsequent decrease in motility correlates with lower ERK pulse frequency and quiescence. Later, during lumen formation, coordinated multicellular ERK waves emerge, correlating with high and low ERK pulse frequencies in outer surviving and inner dying cells, respectively. Optogenetic entrainment of ERK pulses causally connects high ERK pulse frequency with inner cell survival. Acini harboring the PIK3CA H1047R mutation display increased ERK pulse frequency and inner cell survival. Thus, fate decisions during acinar morphogenesis are coordinated by different spatiotemporal modalities of ERK pulse frequency.

Hydrogel microcapsules containing engineered bacteria for sustained production and release of protein drugs.

blue EL222 E. coli Transgene expression Cell death
Biomaterials, 5 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121619 Link to full text
Abstract: Subcutaneous administration of sustained-release formulations is a common strategy for protein drugs, which avoids first pass effect and has high bioavailability. However, conventional sustained-release strategies can only load a limited amount of drug, leading to insufficient durability. Herein, we developed microcapsules based on engineered bacteria for sustained release of protein drugs. Engineered bacteria were carried in microcapsules for subcutaneous administration, with a production-lysis circuit for sustained protein production and release. Administrated in diabetic rats, engineered bacteria microcapsules was observed to smoothly release Exendin-4 for 2 weeks and reduce blood glucose. In another example, by releasing subunit vaccines with bacterial microcomponents as vehicles, engineered bacterial microcapsules activated specific immunity in mice and achieved tumor prevention. The engineered bacteria microcapsules have potential to durably release protein drugs and show versatility on the size of drugs. It might be a promising design strategy for long-acting in situ drug factory.

Optogenetic activators of apoptosis, necroptosis, and pyroptosis.

blue CRY2olig Caco-2 HaCaT HEK293T HeLa MCF7 RAW264.7 zebrafish in vivo Cell death
J Cell Biol, 14 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.202109038 Link to full text
Abstract: Targeted and specific induction of cell death in an individual or groups of cells hold the potential for new insights into the response of tissues or organisms to different forms of death. Here, we report the development of optogenetically controlled cell death effectors (optoCDEs), a novel class of optogenetic tools that enables light-mediated induction of three types of programmed cell death (PCD)-apoptosis, pyroptosis, and necroptosis-using Arabidopsis thaliana photosensitive protein Cryptochrome-2. OptoCDEs enable a rapid and highly specific induction of PCD in human, mouse, and zebrafish cells and are suitable for a wide range of applications, such as sub-lethal cell death induction or precise elimination of single cells or cell populations in vitro and in vivo. As the proof-of-concept, we utilize optoCDEs to assess the differences in neighboring cell responses to apoptotic or necrotic PCD, revealing a new role for shingosine-1-phosphate signaling in regulating the efferocytosis of the apoptotic cell by epithelia.

Gasdermin D pores are dynamically regulated by local phosphoinositide circuitry.

violet PhoCl HeLa Cell death
Nat Commun, 10 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27692-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Gasdermin D forms large, ~21 nm diameter pores in the plasma membrane to drive the cell death program pyroptosis. These pores are thought to be permanently open, and the resultant osmotic imbalance is thought to be highly damaging. Yet some cells mitigate and survive pore formation, suggesting an undiscovered layer of regulation over the function of these pores. However, no methods exist to directly reveal these mechanistic details. Here, we combine optogenetic tools, live cell fluorescence biosensing, and electrophysiology to demonstrate that gasdermin pores display phosphoinositide-dependent dynamics. We quantify repeated and fast opening-closing of these pores on the tens of seconds timescale, visualize the dynamic pore geometry, and identify the signaling that controls dynamic pore activity. The identification of this circuit allows pharmacological tuning of pyroptosis and control of inflammatory cytokine release by living cells.

Gezielte Injektion von Effektoren durch Kontrolle der Proteindynamik.

blue iLID LOVTRAP Y. enterocolitica Cell death
BIOspektrum (Heidelb), 24 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1007/s12268-021-1667-4 Link to full text
Abstract: The type III secretion system (T3SS) enables direct injection of bacterial effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. We found that the dynamic cytosolic interface of the system allows Yersinia enterocolitica to suppress premature secretion at low pH, ensuring rapid activation at the site of action. Exploiting this principle, we developed a light-controlled T3SS based on optogenetic interaction switches, which provides unprecedented spatiotemporal control of protein secretion and translocation.

Microtubule disassembly by caspases is the rate-limiting step of cell extrusion

blue CRY2/CIB1 D. melanogaster in vivo Schneider 2 Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Cell death
bioRxiv, 15 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.15.464503 Link to full text
Abstract: Epithelial cell death is essential for tissue homeostasis, robustness and morphogenesis. The expulsion of epithelial cells following caspase activation requires well-orchestrated remodeling steps leading to cell elimination without impairing tissue sealing. While numerous studies have provided insight about the process of cell extrusion, we still know very little about the relationship between caspase activation and the remodeling steps of cell extrusion. Moreover, most studies of cell extrusion focused on the regulation of actomyosin and steps leading to the formation of a supracellular contractile ring. However, the contribution of other cellular factors to cell extrusion has been poorly explored. Using the Drosophila pupal notum, a single layer epithelium where most extrusion events are caspase-dependent, we first showed that the initiation of cell extrusion and apical constriction are surprisingly not associated with the modulation of actomyosin concentration/dynamics. Instead, cell apical constriction is initiated by the disassembly of a medio-apical mesh of microtubules which is driven by effector caspases. We confirmed that local and rapid increase/decrease of microtubules is sufficient to respectively expand/constrict cell apical area. Importantly, the depletion of microtubules is sufficient to bypass the requirement of caspases for cell extrusion. This study shows that microtubules disassembly by caspases is a key rate-limiting steps of extrusion, and outlines a more general function of microtubules in epithelial cell shape stabilisation.

Optogenetic activators of apoptosis, necroptosis and pyroptosis for probing cell death dynamics and bystander cell responses.

blue CRY2olig Caco-2 HaCaT HeLa MCF7 RAW264.7 Cell death
bioRxiv, 31 Aug 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.31.458313 Link to full text
Abstract: Targeted and specific induction of cell death in individual or groups of cells holds the potential for new insights into the response of tissues or organisms to different forms of death. Here we report the development of optogenetically-controlled cell death effectors (optoCDEs), a novel class of optogenetic tools that enables light-mediated induction of three types of programmed cell death (PCD) – apoptosis, pyroptosis and necroptosis – using Arabidopsis thaliana photosensitive protein Cryptochrome2. OptoCDEs enable rapid and highly specific induction of PCD in human, mouse and zebrafish cells and are suitable for a wide range of applications, such as sub-lethal cell death induction or precise elimination of single cells or cell populations in vitro and in vivo. As the proof-of-concept, we utilize optoCDEs to assess the differences in the neighboring cell response to apoptotic or necrotic PCD, revealing a new role for shingosine-1-phosphate signaling in regulating the efferocytosis of apoptotic cell by epithelia.

Collective ERK/Akt activity waves orchestrate epithelial homeostasis by driving apoptosis-induced survival.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 MCF10A Signaling cascade control Cell death
Dev Cell, 2 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.05.007 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell death events continuously challenge epithelial barrier function yet are crucial to eliminate old or critically damaged cells. How such apoptotic events are spatio-temporally organized to maintain epithelial homeostasis remains unclear. We observe waves of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and AKT serine/threonine kinase (Akt) activity pulses that originate from apoptotic cells and propagate radially to healthy surrounding cells. This requires epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) signaling. At the single-cell level, ERK/Akt waves act as spatial survival signals that locally protect cells in the vicinity of the epithelial injury from apoptosis for a period of 3-4 h. At the cell population level, ERK/Akt waves maintain epithelial homeostasis (EH) in response to mild or intense environmental insults. Disruption of this spatial signaling system results in the inability of a model epithelial tissue to ensure barrier function in response to environmental insults.

Robustness of epithelial sealing is an emerging property of local ERK feedback driven by cell elimination.

blue CRY2/CRY2 D. melanogaster in vivo Signaling cascade control Cell death
Dev Cell, 28 May 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.05.006 Link to full text
Abstract: What regulates the spatiotemporal distribution of cell elimination in tissues remains largely unknown. This is particularly relevant for epithelia with high rates of cell elimination where simultaneous death of neighboring cells could impair epithelial sealing. Here, using the Drosophila pupal notum (a single-layer epithelium) and a new optogenetic tool to trigger caspase activation and cell extrusion, we first showed that death of clusters of at least three cells impaired epithelial sealing; yet, such clusters were almost never observed in vivo. Accordingly, statistical analysis and simulations of cell death distribution highlighted a transient and local protective phase occurring near every cell death. This protection is driven by a transient activation of ERK in cells neighboring extruding cells, which inhibits caspase activation and prevents elimination of cells in clusters. This suggests that the robustness of epithelia with high rates of cell elimination is an emerging property of local ERK feedback.

Optogenetic Control of Non-Apoptotic Cell Death.

blue cpLOV2 cpLOVTRAP CRY2/CRY2 LOVTRAP 786-O B16-F0 E. coli HEK293T HeLa Jurkat Signaling cascade control Cell death
Adv Biology, 6 May 2021 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202100424 Link to full text
Abstract: Herein, a set of optogenetic tools (designated LiPOP) that enable photoswitchable necroptosis and pyroptosis in live cells with varying kinetics, is introduced. The LiPOP tools allow reconstruction of the key molecular steps involved in these two non-apoptotic cell death pathways by harnessing the power of light. Further, the use of LiPOPs coupled with upconversion nanoparticles or bioluminescence is demonstrated to achieve wireless optogenetic or chemo-optogenetic killing of cancer cells in multiple mouse tumor models. LiPOPs can trigger necroptotic and pyroptotic cell death in cultured prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells and in living animals, and set the stage for studying the role of non-apoptotic cell death pathways during microbial infection and anti-tumor immunity.

Design of Smart Antibody Mimetics with Photosensitive Switches.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T HeLa Transgene expression Cell death Nucleic acid editing
Adv Biol (Weinh), 5 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000541 Link to full text
Abstract: As two prominent examples of intracellular single-domain antibodies or antibody mimetics derived from synthetic protein scaffolds, monobodies and nanobodies are gaining wide applications in cell biology, structural biology, synthetic immunology, and theranostics. Herein, a generally applicable method to engineer light-controllable monobodies and nanobodies, designated as moonbody and sunbody, respectively, is introduced. These engineered antibody-like modular domains enable rapid and reversible antibody-antigen recognition by utilizing light. By the paralleled insertion of two light-oxygen-voltage domain 2 modules into a single sunbody and the use of bivalent sunbodies, the range of dynamic changes of photoswitchable sunbodies is substantially enhanced. Furthermore, the use of moonbodies or sunbodies to precisely control protein degradation, gene transcription, and base editing by harnessing the power of light is demonstrated.

Improved Photocleavable Proteins with Faster and More Efficient Dissociation.

violet PhoCl HeLa Transgene expression Cell death
bioRxiv, 10 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.10.419556 Link to full text
Abstract: The photocleavable protein (PhoCl) is a green-to-red photoconvertible fluorescent protein that, when illuminated with violet light, undergoes main chain cleavage followed by spontaneous dissociation of the resulting fragments. The first generation PhoCl (PhoCl1) exhibited a relative slow rate of dissociation, potentially limiting its utilities for optogenetic control of cell physiology. In this work, we report the X-ray crystal structures of the PhoCl1 green state, red state, and cleaved empty barrel. Using structure-guided engineering and directed evolution, we have developed PhoCl2c with higher contrast ratio and PhoCl2f with faster dissociation. We characterized the performance of these new variants as purified proteins and expressed in cultured cells. Our results demonstrate that PhoCl2 variants exhibit faster and more efficient dissociation, which should enable improved optogenetic manipulations of protein localization and protein-protein interactions in living cells.

Spatio-temporal Control of ERK Pulse Frequency Coordinates Fate Decisions during Mammary Acinar Morphogenesis.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 MCF10A Signaling cascade control Cell differentiation Cell death
bioRxiv, 21 Nov 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.20.387167 Link to full text
Abstract: The signaling events controlling proliferation, survival, and apoptosis during mammary epithelial acinar morphogenesis remain poorly characterized. By imaging single-cell ERK activity dynamics in MCF10A acini, we find that these fates depend on the frequency of ERK pulses. High pulse frequency is observed during initial acinus growth, correlating with rapid cell motility. Subsequent decrease in motility correlates with lower ERK pulse frequency and quiescence. Later, during lumen formation, coordinated ERK waves emerge across multiple cells of an acinus, correlating with high and low ERK pulse frequency in outer surviving and inner dying cells respectively. A PIK3CA H1047R mutation, commonly observed in breast cancer, increases ERK pulse frequency and inner cell survival, causing loss of lumen formation. Optogenetic entrainment of ERK pulses causally connects high ERK pulse frequency with inner cell survival. Thus, fate decisions during acinar morphogenesis are fine-tuned by different spatio-temporal coordination modalities of ERK pulse frequency.

Targeted cell ablation in zebrafish using optogenetic transcriptional control.

blue VVD zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression Cell death
Development, 17 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1242/dev.183640 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell ablation is a powerful method for elucidating the contributions of individual cell populations to embryonic development and tissue regeneration. Targeted cell loss in whole organisms has been typically achieved through expression of a cytotoxic or prodrug-activating gene product in the cell type of interest. This approach depends on the availability of tissue-specific promoters, and it does not allow further spatial selectivity within the promoter-defined region(s). To address this limitation, we have used the light-inducible GAVPO transactivator in combination with two genetically encoded cell-ablation technologies: the nitroreductase/nitrofuran system and a cytotoxic variant of the M2 ion channel. Our studies establish ablative methods that provide the tissue specificity afforded by cis-regulatory elements and the conditionality of optogenetics. Our studies also demonstrate differences between the nitroreductase and M2 systems that influence their efficacies for specific applications. Using this integrative approach, we have ablated cells in zebrafish embryos with both spatial and temporal control.

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.
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