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 66 results
1.

Synthetic cells with self-activating optogenetic proteins communicate with natural cells.

blue EL222 iLID in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Nat Commun, 28 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29871-8 Link to full text
Abstract: Development of regulated cellular processes and signaling methods in synthetic cells is essential for their integration with living materials. Light is an attractive tool to achieve this, but the limited penetration depth into tissue of visible light restricts its usability for in-vivo applications. Here, we describe the design and implementation of bioluminescent intercellular and intracellular signaling mechanisms in synthetic cells, dismissing the need for an external light source. First, we engineer light generating SCs with an optimized lipid membrane and internal composition, to maximize luciferase expression levels and enable high-intensity emission. Next, we show these cells' capacity to trigger bioprocesses in natural cells by initiating asexual sporulation of dark-grown mycelial cells of the fungus Trichoderma atroviride. Finally, we demonstrate regulated transcription and membrane recruitment in synthetic cells using bioluminescent intracellular signaling with self-activating fusion proteins. These functionalities pave the way for deploying synthetic cells as embeddable microscale light sources that are capable of controlling engineered processes inside tissues.
2.

Light-inducible T cell engagers trigger, tune and shape the activation of primary T cells.

red PhyB/PIF6 human T cells Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 15 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.04.15.488452 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells perceive overtime complex sequences of receptor stimulation that they integrate to mount an appropriate response. Yet, the influence of signal dynamics on cell responses has been poorly characterized due to technical limitations. Here, we present a generalizable approach to control receptor stimulation on unmodified primary cells. Indeed, for applications on primary murine T cells, we have engineered the LiTe system, a new recombinant optogenetics-based Light-inducible T cell engager which allows tunable and reversible spatiotemporal control of the T Cell Receptor (TCR) stimulation. We also provided in vitro evidence that this system enables efficient T cell activation with light, leading to cytokine secretion or tumor cell killing. Using specific time-gated stimulations, we have been able to orient the outcome of the activation of T cells. Overall, the LiTe system constitutes a versatile ON/OFF molecular switch allowing to decipher the cellular response to stimulation dynamics. Its original control over T cell activation opens new avenues for future precision cancer immunotherapy.
3.

Motor processivity and speed determine structure and dynamics of microtubule-motor assemblies.

blue iLID in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 10 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.22.465381 Link to full text
Abstract: Active matter systems can generate highly ordered structures, avoiding equilibrium through the consumption of energy by individual constituents. How the microscopic parameters that characterize the active agents are translated to the observed mesoscopic properties of the assembly has remained an open question. These active systems are prevalent in living matter; for example, in cells, the cytoskeleton is organized into structures such as the mitotic spindle through the coordinated activity of many motor proteins walking along microtubules. Here, we investigate how the microscopic motor-microtubule interactions affect the coherent structures formed in a reconstituted motor-microtubule system. This question is of deeper evolutionary significance as we suspect motor and microtubule type contribute to the shape and size of resulting structures. We explore key parameters experimentally and theoretically, using a variety of motors with different speeds, proces-sivities, and directionalities. We demonstrate that aster size depends on the motor used to create the aster, and develop a model for the distribution of motors and microtubules in steady-state asters that depends on parameters related to motor speed and processivity. Further, we show that network contraction rates scale linearly with the single-motor speed in quasi one-dimensional contraction experiments. In all, this theoretical and experimental work helps elucidate how microscopic motor properties are translated to the much larger scale of collective motor-microtubule assemblies.
4.

B12-induced reassembly of split photoreceptor protein enables photoresponsive hydrogels with tunable mechanics.

green TtCBD in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Sci Adv, 1 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm5482 Link to full text
Abstract: Although the tools based on split proteins have found broad applications, ranging from controlled biological signaling to advanced molecular architectures, many of them suffer from drawbacks such as background reassembly, low thermodynamic stability, and static structural features. Here, we present a chemically inducible protein assembly method enabled by the dissection of the carboxyl-terminal domain of a B12-dependent photoreceptor, CarHC. The resulting segments reassemble efficiently upon addition of cobalamin (AdoB12, MeB12, or CNB12). Photolysis of the cofactors such as AdoB12 and MeB12 further leads to stable protein adducts harboring a bis-His-ligated B12. Split CarHC enables the creation of a series of protein hydrogels, of which the mechanics can be either photostrengthened or photoweakened, depending on the type of B12. These materials are also well suited for three dimensional cell culturing. Together, this new protein chemistry, featuring negligible background autoassembly, stable conjugation, and phototunability, has opened up opportunities for designing smart materials.
5.

Progressive enhancement of kinetic proofreading in T cell antigen discrimination from receptor activation to DAG generation.

blue LOVTRAP Jurkat Signaling cascade control Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 13 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.10.468056 Link to full text
Abstract: T cells use kinetic proofreading to discriminate antigens by converting small changes in antigen binding lifetime into large differences in cell activation, but where in the signaling cascade this computation is performed is unknown. Previously, we developed a light-gated immune receptor to probe the role of ligand kinetics in T cell antigen signaling. We found significant kinetic proofreading at the level of the signaling lipid diacylglycerol (DAG) but lacked the ability to determine where the multiple signaling steps required for kinetic discrimination originate in the upstream signaling cascade (Tischer and Weiner, 2019). Here we uncover where kinetic proofreading is executed by adapting our optogenetic system for robust activation of early signaling events. We find the strength of kinetic proofreading progressively increases from Zap70 recruitment to LAT clustering to downstream DAG generation. These data suggest a distributed kinetic proofreading mechanism, with proofreading steps both at the receptor and at downstream signaling events. Leveraging the ability of our system to rapidly disengage ligand binding, we measure slower reset rates for downstream signaling events. Our observations of distributed kinetic proofreading and slowed resetting of downstream steps suggest a basis of cooperativity between multiple active receptors with implications in tissue homeostasis, autoimmunity, and immunotherapy off-target effects.
6.

A novel mechanism of bulk cytoplasmic transport by cortical dynein in Drosophila ovary.

blue LOVTRAP in vitro Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 13 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.12.468440 Link to full text
Abstract: Cytoplasmic dynein, a major minus-end directed microtubule motor, plays essential roles in eukaryotic cells. Drosophila oocyte growth is mainly dependent on the contribution of cytoplasmic contents from the interconnected sister cells, nurse cells. We have previously shown that cytoplasmic dynein is required for Drosophila oocyte growth, and assumed that it transports cargoes along microtubule tracks from nurse cells to the oocyte. Here we report that instead transporting cargoes along microtubules into the oocyte, cortical dynein actively moves microtubules in nurse cells and from nurse cells to the oocyte via the cytoplasmic bridges, the ring canals. We demonstrate this microtubule movement is sufficient to drag even inert cytoplasmic particles through the ring canals to the oocyte. Furthermore, replacing dynein with a minus-end directed plant kinesin linked to the actin cortex is sufficient for transporting organelles and cytoplasm to the oocyte and driving its growth. These experiments show that cortical dynein can perform bulk cytoplasmic transport by gliding microtubules along the cell cortex and through the ring canals to the oocyte. We propose that the dynein-driven microtubule flow could serve as a novel mode of cargo transport for fast cytoplasmic transfer to support rapid oocyte growth.
7.

OptoAssay - Light-controlled Dynamic Bioassay Using Optogenetic Switches.

red PhyB/PIF6 in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 8 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.06.467572 Link to full text
Abstract: Circumventing the limitations of current bioassays, we introduce the first light-controlled assay, the OptoAssay, towards wash- and pump-free point-of-care diagnostics. Extending the capabilities of standard bioassays with light-dependent and reversible interaction of optogenetic switches, OptoAssays enable a bi-directional movement of assay components, only by changing the wavelength of light. Combined with smartphones, OptoAssays obviate the need for external flow control systems like pumps or valves and signal readout devices.
8.

Gigavalent display of proteins on monodisperse polyacrylamide hydrogels as a versatile modular platform for functional assays and protein engineering.

violet PhoCl in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 31 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.30.466587 Link to full text
Abstract: The robust modularity of biological components that are assembled into complex functional systems is central to synthetic biology. Here we apply modular “plug and play” design principles to a microscale solid phase protein display system that enables protein purification and functional assays for biotherapeutics. Specifically, we capture protein molecules from cell lysates on polyacrylamide hydrogel display beads (‘PHD beads’), made in microfluidic droplet generators. These monodisperse PHD beads are decorated with predefined amounts of anchors, methacrylate-PEG-benzylguanine (BG) and methacrylate-PEG-chloroalkane (CA). Anchors form covalent bonds with fusion proteins bearing cognate tag recognition (SNAP and Halo-tags) in specific, orthogonal and stable fashion. Given that these anchors are copolymerised throughout the 3D structure of the beads, proteins are also distributed across the entire bead sphere, allowing attachment of ∼109 protein molecules per bead (Ø 20 μm). This mode of attachment reaches a higher density than possible on widely used surface-modified beads, and additionally mitigates surface effects that often complicate studies with proteins on beads. We showcase a diverse array of protein modules that enable the secondary capture of proteins, either non-covalently (IgG and SUMO-tag) or covalently (SpyCatcher, SpyTag, SnpCatcher and SnpTag). Proteins can be displayed in their monomeric forms, but also reformatted as a multivalent display (using secondary capture modules that create branches) to test the contributions of avidity and multivalency towards protein function. Finally, controlled release of modules by irradiation of light is achieved by incorporating the photocleavable protein PhoCl: irradiation severs the displayed protein from the solid support, so that functional assays can be carried out in solution. As a demonstration of the utility of valency engineering, an antibody drug screen is performed, in which an anti-TRAIL-R1 scFv protein is released into solution as monomers-hexamers, showing a ∼50-fold enhanced potency in the pentavalent format. The ease of protein purification on solid support, quantitative control over presentation and release of proteins and choice of valency make this experimental format a versatile, modular platform for large scale functional analysis of proteins, in bioassays of protein-protein interactions, enzymatic catalysis and bacteriolysis.
9.

Engineering Photoresponsive Ligand Tethers for Mechanical Regulation of Stem Cells.

cyan pdDronpa1 in vitro Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Cell differentiation Extracellular optogenetics
Adv Mater, 24 Sep 2021 DOI: 10.1002/adma.202105765 Link to full text
Abstract: Regulating stem cell functions by precisely controlling the nanoscale presentation of bioactive ligands has a substantial impact on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine but remains a major challenge. Here it is shown that bioactive ligands can become mechanically "invisible" by increasing their tether lengths to the substrate beyond a critical length, providing a way to regulate mechanotransduction without changing the biochemical conditions. Building on this finding, light switchable tethers are rationally designed, whose lengths can be modulated reversibly by switching a light-responsive protein, pdDronpa, in between monomer and dimer states. This allows the regulation of the adhesion, spreading, and differentiation of stem cells by light on substrates of well-defined biochemical and physical properties. Spatiotemporal regulation of differential cell fates on the same substrate is further demonstrated, which may represent an important step toward constructing complex organoids or mini tissues by spatially defining the mechanical cues of the cellular microenvironment with light.
10.

Light-Responsive Dynamic Protein Hydrogels Based on LOVTRAP.

blue LOVTRAP in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Langmuir, 15 Aug 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.1c01699 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein-based hydrogels can mimic many aspects of native extracellular matrices (ECMs) and are promising biomedical materials that find various applications in cell proliferation, drug/cell delivery, and tissue engineering. To be adapted for different tasks, it is important that the mechanical and/or biochemical properties of protein-based hydrogels can be regulated by external stimuli. Light as a regulation stimulus is of advantage because it can be easily applied in demanded spatiotemporal manners. The noncovalent binding between the light-oxygen-voltage-sensing domain 2 (LOV2) and its binding partner ZDark1 (zdk1), named as LOVTRAP, is a light-responsive interaction. The binding affinity of LOVTRAP is much higher in dark than that under blue light irradiation. Taking advantage of these light-responsive interactions, herein we endeavored to use LOVTRAP as a crosslinking mechanism to engineer light-responsive protein hydrogels. Using LOV2-containing and zdk1-containing multifunctional protein building blocks, we successfully engineered a light-responsive protein hydrogel whose viscoelastic properties can change in response to light: in the dark, the hydrogel showed higher storage modulus; under blue light irradiation, the storage modulus decreased. Due to the noncovalent nature of the LOVTRAP, the engineered LOVTRAP protein hydrogels displayed shear-thinning and self-healing properties and served as an excellent injectable protein hydrogel. We anticipated that this new class of light-responsive protein hydrogels will broaden the scope of dynamic protein hydrogels and help develop other light-responsive protein hydrogels for biomedical applications.
11.

Cell to Cell Signaling through Light in Artificial Cell Communities: Glowing Predator Lures Prey.

blue iLID in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Nano, 21 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c01600 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells commonly communicate with each other through diffusible molecules but nonchemical communication remains elusive. While bioluminescent organisms communicate through light to find prey or attract mates, it is still under debate if signaling through light is possible at the cellular level. Here, we demonstrate that cell to cell signaling through light is possible in artificial cell communities derived from biomimetic vesicles. In our design, artificial sender cells produce an intracellular light signal, which triggers the adhesion to receiver cells. Unlike soluble molecules, the light signal propagates fast, independent of diffusion and without the need for a transporter across membranes. To obtain a predator-prey relationship, the luminescence predator cells is loaded with a secondary diffusible poison, which is transferred to the prey cell upon adhesion and leads to its lysis. This design provides a blueprint for light based intercellular communication, which can be used for programing artificial and natural cell communities.
12.

Spatiotemporally confined red light-controlled gene delivery at single-cell resolution using adeno-associated viral vectors.

red PhyB/PIF6 A-431 A549 CHO-K1 HEK293T HeLa MDA-MB-231 MDA-MB-453 SK-OV-3 Extracellular optogenetics
Sci Adv, 16 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf0797 Link to full text
Abstract: Methodologies for the controlled delivery of genetic information into target cells are of utmost importance for genetic engineering in both fundamental and applied research. However, available methods for efficient gene transfer into user-selected or even single cells suffer from low throughput, the need for complicated equipment, high invasiveness, or side effects by off-target viral uptake. Here, we engineer an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector system that transfers genetic information into native target cells upon illumination with cell-compatible red light. This OptoAAV system allows adjustable and spatially resolved gene transfer down to single-cell resolution and is compatible with different cell lines and primary cells. Moreover, the sequential application of multiple OptoAAVs enables spatially resolved transduction with different transgenes. The approach presented is likely extendable to other classes of viral vectors and is expected to foster advances in basic and applied genetic research.
13.

Engineering a Blue Light Inducible SpyTag System (BLISS).

blue AsLOV2 iLID in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
J Am Chem Soc, 2 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c03198 Link to full text
Abstract: The SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein conjugation system has recently exploded in popularity due to its fast kinetics and high yield under biologically favorable conditions in both in vitro and intracellular settings. The utility of this system could be expanded by introducing the ability to spatially and temporally control the conjugation event. Taking inspiration from photoreceptor proteins in nature, we designed a method to integrate light dependency into the protein conjugation reaction. The light-oxygen-voltage domain 2 of Avena sativa (AsLOV2) undergoes a dramatic conformational change in its c-terminal Jα-helix in response to blue light. By inserting SpyTag into the different locations of the Jα-helix, we created a blue light inducible SpyTag system (BLISS). In this design, the SpyTag is blocked from reacting with the SpyCatcher in the dark, but upon irradiation with blue light, the Jα-helix of the AsLOV2 undocks to expose the SpyTag. We tested several insertion sites and characterized the kinetics. We found three variants with dynamic ranges over 15, which were active within different concentration ranges. These could be tuned using SpyCatcher variants with different reaction kinetics. Further, the reaction could be instantaneously quenched by removing light. We demonstrated the spatial aspect of this light control mechanism through photopatterning of two fluorescent proteins. This system offers opportunities for many other biofabrication and optogenetics applications.
14.

Bioluminescent Synthetic Cells Communicate with Natural Cells and Self-Activate Light-Responsive Proteins.

blue EL222 iLID in vitro Transgene expression Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 26 May 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.20.444896 Link to full text
Abstract: Development of regulated cellular processes and signaling methods in synthetic cells is essential for their integration with living materials. Light is an attractive tool to achieve this, but the limited penetration depth into tissue of visible light restricts its usability for in-vivo applications. Here, we describe the synthesis and application of blue-light-generating synthetic cells using bioluminescence, dismissing the need for an external light source. First, the lipid membrane and internal composition of light-producing synthetic cells were optimized to enable high-intensity emission. Next, we show these cells’ capacity for triggering bioprocesses in natural cells by initiating asexual sporulation of dark-grown mycelial cells of the fungus Trichoderma atroviride in a quorum-sensing like mechanism. Finally, we demonstrate regulated transcription and membrane recruitment in synthetic cells using bioluminescent self-activating fusion proteins. These functionalities pave the way for deploying synthetic cells as embeddable microscale light sources that are capable of activating engineered processes inside tissues.
15.

Spatiotemporal Control Over Multicellular Migration Using Green Light Reversible Cell–Cell Interactions.

green TtCBD MDA-MB-231 Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Extracellular optogenetics
Adv Biol, 14 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000199 Link to full text
Abstract: The regulation of cell–cell adhesions in space and time plays a crucial role in cell biology, especially in the coordination of multicellular behavior. Therefore, tools that allow for the modulation of cell–cell interactions with high precision are of great interest to a better understanding of their roles and building tissue‐like structures. Herein, the green light‐responsive protein CarH is expressed at the plasma membrane of cells as an artificial cell adhesion receptor, so that upon addition of its cofactor vitamin B12 specific cell–cell interactions form and lead to cell clustering in a concentration‐dependent manner. Upon green light illumination, the CarH based cell–cell interactions disassemble and allow for their reversion with high spatiotemporal control. Moreover, these artificial cell–cell interactions impact cell migration, as observed in a wound‐healing assay. When the cells interact with each other in the presence of vitamin B12 in the dark, the cells form on a solid front and migrate collectively; however, under green light illumination, individual cells migrate randomly out of the monolayer. Overall, the possibility of precisely controlling cell–cell interactions and regulating multicellular behavior is a potential pathway to gaining more insight into cell–cell interactions in biological processes.
16.

An Optogenetic Platform to Dynamically Control the Stiffness of Collagen Hydrogels.

blue EL222 in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Biomater Sci Eng, 31 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01488 Link to full text
Abstract: The extracellular matrix (ECM) comprises a meshwork of biomacromolecules whose composition, architecture, and macroscopic properties, such as mechanics, instruct cell fate decisions during development and disease progression. Current methods implemented in mechanotransduction studies either fail to capture real-time mechanical dynamics or utilize synthetic polymers that lack the fibrillar nature of their natural counterparts. Here we present an optogenetic-inspired tool to construct light-responsive ECM mimetic hydrogels comprised exclusively of natural ECM proteins. Optogenetic tools offer seconds temporal resolution and submicron spatial resolution, permitting researchers to probe cell signaling dynamics with unprecedented precision. Here we demonstrated our approach of using SNAP-tag and its thiol-targeted substrate, benzylguanine-maleimide, to covalently attach blue-light-responsive proteins to collagen hydrogels. The resulting material (OptoGel), in addition to encompassing the native biological activity of collagen, stiffens upon exposure to blue light and softens in the dark. Optogels have immediate use in dissecting the cellular response to acute mechanical inputs and may also have applications in next-generation biointerfacing prosthetics.
17.

Photobiologically Directed Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles.

blue PtAU1-LOV VVD in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Adv Biol, 30 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000179 Link to full text
Abstract: In nature, photoreceptor proteins undergo molecular responses to light, that exhibit supreme fidelity in time and space and generally occur under mild reaction conditions. To unlock these traits for material science, the light‐induced homodimerization of light‐oxygen‐voltage (LOV) photoreceptors is leveraged to control the assembly of gold nanoparticles. Conjugated to genetically encodable LOV proteins, the nanoparticles are monodispersed in darkness but rapidly assemble into large aggregates upon blue‐light exposure. The work establishes a new modality for reaction control in macromolecular chemistry and thus augurs enhanced precision in space and time in diverse applications of gold nanoparticles.
18.

Dynamically tunable light responsive silk-elastin-like proteins.

green TtCBD in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Acta Biomater, 14 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2020.12.018 Link to full text
Abstract: Dynamically tunable biomaterials are of particular interest in the field of biomedical engineering because of the potential utility for shape-change materials, drug and cell delivery and tissue regeneration. Stimuli-responsive proteins formed into hydrogels are potential candidates for such systems, due to the genetic tailorability and control over structure-function relationships. Here we report the synthesis of genetically engineered Silk-Elastin-Like Protein (SELP) photoresponsive hydrogels. Polymerization of the SELPs and monomeric adenosylcobalamin (AdoB12)-dependent photoreceptor C-terminal adenosylcobalamin binding domain (CarHC) was achieved using genetically encoded SpyTag-SpyCatcher peptide-protein pairs under mild physiological conditions. The hydrogels exhibited a partial collapse of the crosslinked molecular network with both decreased loss and storage moduli upon exposure to visible light. The materials were also evaluated for cytotoxicity and the encapsulation and release of L929 murine fibroblasts from 3D cultures. The design of these photo-responsible proteins provides new stimuli-responsive SELP-CarHC hydrogels for dynamically tunable protein-based materials.
19.

Injectable, photoresponsive hydrogels for delivering neuroprotective proteins enabled by metal-directed protein assembly.

green TtCBD in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Sci Adv, 9 Oct 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc4824 Link to full text
Abstract: Axon regeneration constitutes a fundamental challenge for regenerative neurobiology, which necessitates the use of tailor-made biomaterials for controllable delivery of cells and biomolecules. An increasingly popular approach for creating these materials is to directly assemble engineered proteins into high-order structures, a process that often relies on sophisticated protein chemistry. Here, we present a simple approach for creating injectable, photoresponsive hydrogels via metal-directed assembly of His6-tagged proteins. The B12-dependent photoreceptor protein CarHC can complex with transition metal ions through an amino-terminal His6-tag, which can further undergo a sol-gel transition upon addition of AdoB12, leading to the formation of hydrogels with marked injectability and photodegradability. The inducible phase transitions further enabled facile encapsulation and release of cells and proteins. Injecting the Zn2+-coordinated gels decorated with leukemia inhibitory factor into injured mouse optic nerves led to prolonged cellular signaling and enhanced axon regeneration. This study illustrates a powerful strategy for designing injectable biomaterials.
20.

Development of light-responsive protein binding in the monobody non-immunoglobulin scaffold.

blue AsLOV2 iLID HEK293T in vitro NIH/3T3 Extracellular optogenetics
Nat Commun, 13 Aug 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17837-7 Link to full text
Abstract: Monobodies are synthetic non-immunoglobulin customizable protein binders invaluable to basic and applied research, and of considerable potential as future therapeutics and diagnostic tools. The ability to reversibly control their binding activity to their targets on demand would significantly expand their applications in biotechnology, medicine, and research. Here we present, as proof-of-principle, the development of a light-controlled monobody (OptoMB) that works in vitro and in cells and whose affinity for its SH2-domain target exhibits a 330-fold shift in binding affinity upon illumination. We demonstrate that our αSH2-OptoMB can be used to purify SH2-tagged proteins directly from crude E. coli extract, achieving 99.8% purity and over 40% yield in a single purification step. By virtue of their ability to be designed to bind any protein of interest, OptoMBs have the potential to find new powerful applications as light-switchable binders of untagged proteins with the temporal and spatial precision afforded by light.
21.

Multistimuli Sensing Adhesion Unit for the Self-Positioning of Minimal Synthetic Cells.

blue iLID in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
Small, 9 Aug 2020 DOI: 10.1002/smll.202002440 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells have the ability to sense different environmental signals and position themselves accordingly in order to support their survival. Introducing analogous capabilities to the bottom-up assembled minimal synthetic cells is an important step for their autonomy. Here, a minimal synthetic cell which combines a multistimuli sensitive adhesion unit with an energy conversion module is reported, such that it can adhere to places that have the right environmental parameters for ATP production. The multistimuli sensitive adhesion unit senses light, pH, oxidative stress, and the presence of metal ions and can regulate the adhesion of synthetic cells to substrates in response to these stimuli following a chemically coded logic. The adhesion unit is composed of the light and redox responsive protein interaction of iLID and Nano and the pH sensitive and metal ion mediated binding of protein His-tags to Ni2+ -NTA complexes. Integration of the adhesion unit with a light to ATP conversion module into one synthetic cell allows it to adhere to places under blue light illumination, non-oxidative conditions, at neutral pH and in the presence of metal ions, which are the right conditions to synthesize ATP. Thus, the multistimuli responsive adhesion unit allows synthetic cells to self-position and execute their functions.
22.

Orthogonal Blue and Red Light Controlled Cell-Cell Adhesions Enable Sorting-out in Multicellular Structures.

blue red Cph1 VVD MDA-MB-231 Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Synth Biol, 16 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00150 Link to full text
Abstract: The self-assembly of different cell types into multicellular structures and their organization into spatiotemporally controlled patterns are both challenging and extremely powerful to understand how cells function within tissues and for bottom-up tissue engineering. Here, we not only independently control the self-assembly of two cell types into multicellular architectures with blue and red light, but also achieve their self-sorting into distinct assemblies. This required developing two cell types that form selective and homophilic cell-cell interactions either under blue or red light using photoswitchable proteins as artificial adhesion molecules. The interactions were individually triggerable with different colors of light, reversible in the dark, and provide noninvasive and temporal control over the cell-cell adhesions. In mixtures of the two cells, each cell type self-assembled independently upon orthogonal photoactivation, and cells sorted out into separate assemblies based on specific self-recognition. These self-sorted multicellular architectures provide us with a powerful tool for producing tissue-like structures from multiple cell types and investigate principles that govern them.
23.

Bringing Light into Cell-Free Expression.

blue YtvA in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Synth Biol, 15 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00211 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell-free systems, as part of the synthetic biology field, have become a critical platform in biological studies. However, there is a lack of research into developing a switch for a dynamical control of the transcriptional and translational process. The optogenetic tool has been widely proven as an ideal control switch for protein synthesis due to its nontoxicity and excellent time-space conversion. Hence, in this study, a blue light-regulated two-component system named YF1/FixJ was incorporated into an Escherichia coli-based cell-free system to control protein synthesis. The corresponding cell-free system successfully achieved a 5-fold dynamic protein expression by blue light repression and 3-fold dynamic expression by blue light activation. With the aim of expanding the applications of cell-free synthetic biology, the cell-free blue light-sensing system was used to perform imaging, light-controlled antibody synthesis, and light-triggered artificial cell assembly. This study can provide a guide for further research into the field of cell-free optical sensing. Moreover, it will also promote the development of cell-free synthetic biology and optogenetics through applying the cell-free optical sensing system to synthetic biology education, biopharmaceutical research, and artificial cell construction.
24.

Blue-Light-Switchable Bacterial Cell-Cell Adhesions Enable the Control of Multicellular Bacterial Communities.

blue Magnets E. coli Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Synth Biol, 15 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00054 Link to full text
Abstract: Although the fundamental importance and biotechnological potential of multibacterial communities, also called biofilms, are well-known, our ability to control them is limited. We present a new way of dynamically controlling bacteria-bacteria adhesions by using blue light and how these photoswitchable adhesions can be used to regulate multicellularity and associated bacterial behavior. To achieve this, the photoswitchable proteins nMagHigh and pMagHigh were expressed on bacterial surfaces as adhesins to allow multicellular clusters to assemble under blue light and reversibly disassemble in the dark. Regulation of the bacterial cell-cell adhesions with visible light provides unique advantages including high spatiotemporal control, tunability, and noninvasive remote regulation. Moreover, these photoswitchable adhesions make it possible to regulate collective bacterial functions including aggregation, quorum sensing, biofilm formation, and metabolic cross-feeding between auxotrophic bacteria with light. Overall, the photoregulation of bacteria-bacteria adhesions provides a new way of studying bacterial cell biology and will enable the design of biofilms for biotechnological applications.
25.

Turning Cell Adhesions ON or OFF with High Spatiotemporal Precision Using the Green Light Responsive Protein CarH.

green TtCBD MCF7 Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Extracellular optogenetics
Chemistry, 9 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1002/chem.202001238 Link to full text
Abstract: Spatiotemporal control of integrin-mediated cell adhesions to extracellular matrix regulates cell behavior with has numerous implications for biotechnological applications. In this work, two approaches for regulating cell adhesions in space and time with high precision are reported, both of which utilize green light. In the first design, CarH, which is a tetramer in the dark, is used to mask cRGD adhesion-peptides on a surface. Upon green light illumination, the CarH tetramer dissociates into its monomers, revealing the adhesion peptide so that cells can adhere. In the second design, the RGD motif is incorporated into the CarH protein tetramer such that cells can adhere to surfaces functionalized with this protein. The cell adhesions can be disrupted with green light, due to the disassembly of the CarH-RGD protein. Both designs allow for photoregulation with noninvasive visible light and open new possibilities to investigate the dynamical regulation of cell adhesions in cell biology.
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