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 38 results

Programmable RNA base editing with photoactivatable CRISPR-Cas13.

blue Magnets HEK293T HeLa HT-1080 MCF7 mouse in vivo Neuro-2a Nucleic acid editing
Nat Commun, 22 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-44867-2 Link to full text
Abstract: CRISPR-Cas13 is widely used for programmable RNA interference, imaging, and editing. In this study, we develop a light-inducible Cas13 system called paCas13 by fusing Magnet with fragment pairs. The most effective split site, N351/C350, was identified and found to exhibit a low background and high inducibility. We observed significant light-induced perturbation of endogenous transcripts by paCas13. We further present a light-inducible base-editing system, herein called the padCas13 editor, by fusing ADAR2 to catalytically inactive paCas13 fragments. The padCas13 editor enabled reversible RNA editing under light and was effective in editing A-to-I and C-to-U RNA bases, targeting disease-relevant transcripts, and fine-tuning endogenous transcripts in mammalian cells in vitro. The padCas13 editor was also used to adjust post-translational modifications and demonstrated the ability to activate target transcripts in a mouse model in vivo. We therefore present a light-inducible RNA-modulating technique based on CRISPR-Cas13 that enables target RNAs to be diversely manipulated in vitro and in vivo, including through RNA degradation and base editing. The approach using the paCas13 system can be broadly applicable to manipulating RNA in various disease states and physiological processes, offering potential additional avenues for research and therapeutic development.

Rapid characterization of anti-CRISPR proteins and optogenetically engineered variants using a versatile plasmid interference system.

blue AsLOV2 E. coli HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
Nucleic Acids Res, 11 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkad995 Link to full text
Abstract: Anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins are encoded by mobile genetic elements to overcome the CRISPR immunity of prokaryotes, displaying promises as controllable tools for modulating CRISPR-based applications. However, characterizing novel anti-CRISPR proteins and exploiting Acr-related technologies is a rather long and tedious process. Here, we established a versatile plasmid interference with CRISPR interference (PICI) system in Escherichia coli for rapidly characterizing Acrs and developing Acr-based technologies. Utilizing the PICI system, we discovered two novel type II-A Acrs (AcrIIA33 and AcrIIA34), which can inhibit the activity of SpyCas9 by affecting DNA recognition of Cas9. We further constructed a circularly permuted AcrIIA4 (cpA4) protein and developed optogenetically engineered, robust AcrIIA4 (OPERA4) variants by combining cpA4 with the light-oxygen-voltage 2 (LOV2) blue light sensory domain. OPERA4 variants are robust light-dependent tools for controlling the activity of SpyCas9 by approximately 1000-fold change under switching dark-light conditions in prokaryotes. OPERA4 variants can achieve potent light-controllable genome editing in human cells as well. Together, our work provides a versatile screening system for characterizing Acrs and developing the Acr-based controllable tools.

Design and Engineering of Light-Induced Base Editors Facilitating Genome Editing with Enhanced Fidelity.

blue Magnets E. coli HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
Adv Sci (Weinh), 1 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202305311 Link to full text
Abstract: Base editors, which enable targeted locus nucleotide conversion in genomic DNA without double-stranded breaks, have been engineered as powerful tools for biotechnological and clinical applications. However, the application of base editors is limited by their off-target effects. Continuously expressed deaminases used for gene editing may lead to unwanted base alterations at unpredictable genomic locations. In the present study, blue-light-activated base editors (BLBEs) are engineered based on the distinct photoswitches magnets that can switch from a monomer to dimerization state in response to blue light. By fusing the N- and C-termini of split DNA deaminases with photoswitches Magnets, efficient A-to-G and C-to-T base editing is achieved in response to blue light in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Furthermore, the results showed that BLBEs can realize precise blue light-induced gene editing across broad genomic loci with low off-target activity at the DNA- and RNA-level. Collectively, these findings suggest that the optogenetic utilization of base editing and optical base editors may provide powerful tools to promote the development of optogenetic genome engineering.

Light induced expression of gRNA allows for optogenetic gene editing of T lymphocytes in vivo.

blue EL222 HEK293FT HEK293T mouse in vivo mouse T cells Transgene expression Endogenous gene expression Nucleic acid editing
bioRxiv, 10 Nov 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.11.09.566272 Link to full text
Abstract: There is currently a lack of tools capable of perturbing genes in both a precise and spatiotemporal fashion. CRISPR’s ease of use and flexibility, coupled with light’s unparalleled spatiotemporal resolution deliverable from a controllable source, makes optogenetic CRISPR a well-suited solution for precise spatiotemporal gene perturbations. Here we present a new optogenetic CRISPR tool, BLU-VIPR, that diverges from prevailing split-Cas design strategies and instead focuses on optogenetic regulation of gRNA production. This simplifies spatiotemporal gene perturbation and works in vivo with cells previously intractable to optogenetic gene editing. We engineered BLU-VIPR around a new potent blue-light activated transcription factor and ribozyme-flanked gRNA. The BLU-VIPR design is genetically encoded and ensures precise excision of multiple gRNAs from a single mRNA transcript, allowing for optogenetic gene editing in T lymphocytes in vivo.

Spatiotemporal, optogenetic control of gene expression in organoids.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets HEK293T human IPSCs Endogenous gene expression Nucleic acid editing
Nat Methods, 21 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-023-01986-w Link to full text
Abstract: Organoids derived from stem cells have become an increasingly important tool for studying human development and modeling disease. However, methods are still needed to control and study spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression in organoids. Here we combined optogenetics and gene perturbation technologies to activate or knock-down RNA of target genes in programmable spatiotemporal patterns. To illustrate the usefulness of our approach, we locally activated Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling in an organoid model for human neurodevelopment. Spatial and single-cell transcriptomic analyses showed that this local induction was sufficient to generate stereotypically patterned organoids and revealed new insights into SHH's contribution to gene regulation in neurodevelopment. With this study, we propose optogenetic perturbations in combination with spatial transcriptomics as a powerful technology to reprogram and study cell fates and tissue patterning in organoids.

Photoactivatable base editors for spatiotemporally controlled genome editing in vivo.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 Magnets HEK293T mouse in vivo Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Biomaterials, 13 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2023.122328 Link to full text
Abstract: CRISPR-based base editors (BEs) are powerful tools for precise nucleotide substitution in a wide range of organisms, but spatiotemporal control of base editing remains a daunting challenge. Herein, we develop a photoactivatable base editor (Mag-ABE) for spatiotemporally controlled genome editing in vivo for the first time. The base editing activity of Mag-ABE can be activated by blue light for spatiotemporal regulation of both EGFP reporter gene and various endogenous genes editing. Meanwhile, the Mag-ABE prefers to edit A4 and A5 positions rather than to edit A6 position, showing the potential to decrease bystander editing of traditional adenine base editors. After integration with upconversion nanoparticles as a light transducer, the Mag-ABE is further applied for near-infrared (NIR) light-activated base editing of liver in transgenic reporter mice successfully. This study opens a promising way to improve the operability, safety, and precision of base editing.

A biological camera that captures and stores images directly into DNA.

blue red PhyB/PIF3 VVD E. coli Nucleic acid editing Multichromatic
Nat Commun, 3 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38876-w Link to full text
Abstract: The increasing integration between biological and digital interfaces has led to heightened interest in utilizing biological materials to store digital data, with the most promising one involving the storage of data within defined sequences of DNA that are created by de novo DNA synthesis. However, there is a lack of methods that can obviate the need for de novo DNA synthesis, which tends to be costly and inefficient. Here, in this work, we detail a method of capturing 2-dimensional light patterns into DNA, by utilizing optogenetic circuits to record light exposure into DNA, encoding spatial locations with barcoding, and retrieving stored images via high-throughput next-generation sequencing. We demonstrate the encoding of multiple images into DNA, totaling 1152 bits, selective image retrieval, as well as robustness to drying, heat and UV. We also demonstrate successful multiplexing using multiple wavelengths of light, capturing 2 different images simultaneously using red and blue light. This work thus establishes a 'living digital camera', paving the way towards integrating biological systems with digital devices.

A non-invasive photoactivatable split-Cre recombinase system for genome engineering in zebrafish.

blue Magnets zebrafish in vivo Nucleic acid editing
bioRxiv, 25 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.06.23.546268 Link to full text
Abstract: The cyclic recombinase (Cre)/loxP recombination system is a powerful technique for in vivo cell labeling and tracking. However, achieving high spatiotemporal precision in cell tracking using this system is challenging due to the requirement for reliable tissue-specific promoters. In contrast, light-inducible systems offer superior regional confinement, tunability and non-invasiveness compared to conventional lineage tracing methods. Here, we took advantage of the unique strengths of the zebrafish to develop an easy-to-use highly efficient, genetically encoded, Magnets-based, light-inducible transgenic Cre/loxP system. Our system relies on the reassembly of split Cre fragments driven by the affinity of the Magnets and is controlled by the zebrafish ubiquitin promoter. We demonstrate that our system does not exhibit phototoxicity or leakiness in the dark, and it enables efficient and robust Cre/loxP recombination in various tissues and cell types at different developmental stages through noninvasive illumination with blue light. Our newly developed tool is expected to open novel opportunities for light-controlled tracking of cell fate and migration in vivo.

An optogenetic toolkit for light-inducible antibiotic resistance.

blue VVD E. coli Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Nat Commun, 23 Feb 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-36670-2 Link to full text
Abstract: Antibiotics are a key control mechanism for synthetic biology and microbiology. Resistance genes are used to select desired cells and regulate bacterial populations, however their use to-date has been largely static. Precise spatiotemporal control of antibiotic resistance could enable a wide variety of applications that require dynamic control of susceptibility and survival. Here, we use light-inducible Cre recombinase to activate expression of drug resistance genes in Escherichia coli. We demonstrate light-activated resistance to four antibiotics: carbenicillin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Cells exposed to blue light survive in the presence of lethal antibiotic concentrations, while those kept in the dark do not. To optimize resistance induction, we vary promoter, ribosome binding site, and enzyme variant strength using chromosome and plasmid-based constructs. We then link inducible resistance to expression of a heterologous fatty acid enzyme to increase production of octanoic acid. These optogenetic resistance tools pave the way for spatiotemporal control of cell survival.

A doxycycline- and light-inducible Cre recombinase mouse model for optogenetic genome editing.

violet PhoCl C26 HEK293T mESCs mouse in vivo Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Nat Commun, 28 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-33863-z Link to full text
Abstract: The experimental need to engineer the genome both in time and space, has led to the development of several photoactivatable Cre recombinase systems. However, the combination of inefficient and non-intentional background recombination has prevented thus far the wide application of these systems in biological and biomedical research. Here, we engineer an optimized photoactivatable Cre recombinase system that we refer to as doxycycline- and light-inducible Cre recombinase (DiLiCre). Following extensive characterization in cancer cell and organoid systems, we generate a DiLiCre mouse line, and illustrated the biological applicability of DiLiCre for light-induced mutagenesis in vivo and positional cell-tracing by intravital microscopy. These experiments illustrate how newly formed HrasV12 mutant cells follow an unnatural movement towards the interfollicular dermis. Together, we develop an efficient photoactivatable Cre recombinase mouse model and illustrate how this model is a powerful genome-editing tool for biological and biomedical research.

Stable Transgenic Mouse Strain with Enhanced Photoactivatable Cre Recombinase for Spatiotemporal Genome Manipulation.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets mouse in vivo primary mouse fibroblasts Nucleic acid editing
Adv Sci (Weinh), 20 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202201352 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic genome engineering is a powerful technology for high-resolution spatiotemporal genetic manipulation, especially for in vivo studies. It is difficult to generate stable transgenic animals carrying a tightly regulated optogenetic system, as its long-term expression induces high background activity. Here, the generation of an enhanced photoactivatable Cre recombinase (ePA-Cre) transgenic mouse strain with stringent light responsiveness and high recombination efficiency is reported. Through serial optimization, ePA-Cre is developed to generate a transgenic mouse line that exhibits 175-fold induction upon illumination. Efficient light-dependent recombination is detected in embryos and various adult tissues of ePA-Cre mice crossed with the Ai14 tdTomato reporter. Importantly, no significant background Cre activity is detected in the tested tissues except the skin. Moreover, efficient light-inducible cell ablation is achieved in ePA-Cre mice crossed with Rosa26-LSL-DTA mice. In conclusion, ePA-Cre mice offer a tightly inducible, highly efficient, and spatiotemporal-specific genome engineering tool for multiple applications.

Engineered Cas9 extracellular vesicles as a novel gene editing tool.

blue red CRY2/CIB1 Magnets PhyB/PIF6 VVD HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
J Extracell Vesicles, May 2022 DOI: 10.1002/jev2.12225 Link to full text
Abstract: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have shown promise as biological delivery vehicles, but therapeutic applications require efficient cargo loading. Here, we developed new methods for CRISPR/Cas9 loading into EVs through reversible heterodimerization of Cas9-fusions with EV sorting partners. Cas9-loaded EVs were collected from engineered Expi293F cells using standard methodology, characterized using nanoparticle tracking analysis, western blotting, and transmission electron microscopy and analysed for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated functional gene editing in a Cre-reporter cellular assay. Light-induced dimerization using Cryptochrome 2 combined with CD9 or a Myristoylation-Palmitoylation-Palmitoylation lipid modification resulted in efficient loading with approximately 25 Cas9 molecules per EV and high functional delivery with 51% gene editing of the Cre reporter cassette in HEK293 and 25% in HepG2 cells, respectively. This approach was also effective for targeting knock-down of the therapeutically relevant PCSK9 gene with 6% indel efficiency in HEK293. Cas9 transfer was detergent-sensitive and associated with the EV fractions after size exclusion chromatography, indicative of EV-mediated transfer. Considering the advantages of EVs over other delivery vectors we envision that this study will prove useful for a range of therapeutic applications, including CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing.

A far-red light-inducible CRISPR-Cas12a platform for remote-controlled genome editing and gene activation.

red BphS HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
Sci Adv, 10 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abh2358 Link to full text
Abstract: The CRISPR-Cas12a has been harnessed as a powerful tool for manipulating targeted gene expression. The possibility to manipulate the activity of CRISPR-Cas12a with a more precise spatiotemporal resolution and deep tissue permeability will enable targeted genome engineering and deepen our understanding of the gene functions underlying complex cellular behaviors. However, currently available inducible CRISPR-Cas12a systems are limited by diffusion, cytotoxicity, and poor tissue permeability. Here, we developed a far-red light (FRL)–inducible CRISPR-Cas12a (FICA) system that can robustly induce gene editing in mammalian cells, and an FRL-inducible CRISPR-dCas12a (FIdCA) system based on the protein-tagging system SUperNova (SunTag) that can be used for gene activation under light-emitting diode–based FRL. Moreover, we show that the FIdCA system can be deployed to activate target genes in mouse livers. These results demonstrate that these systems developed here provide robust and efficient platforms for programmable genome manipulation in a noninvasive and spatiotemporal fashion.

Repetitive short-pulsed illumination efficiently activates photoactivatable-Cre as continuous illumination in embryonic stem cells and pre-implantation embryos of transgenic mouse.

blue Magnets mESCs mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Genesis, 23 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1002/dvg.23457 Link to full text
Abstract: The Cre-loxP system has been widely used for specific DNA recombination which induces gene inactivation or expression. Recently, photoactivatable-Cre (PA-Cre) proteins have been developed as a tool for spatiotemporal control of the enzymatic activity of Cre recombinase. Here, we generated transgenic mice bearing a PA-Cre gene and systematically investigated the conditions of photoactivation for the PA-Cre in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the transgenic mice and in a simple mathematical model. Cre-mediated DNA recombination was induced in 16% of the PA-Cre ESCs by 6 hr continuous illumination. We show that repetitive pulsed illumination efficiently induced DNA recombination with low light energy as efficient as continuous illumination in the ESCs (96 ± 15% of continuous illumination when pulse cycle was 2 s), which was also supported by a minimal mathematical model. DNA recombination by the PA-Cre was also successfully induced in the transgenic mouse pre-implantation embryos under the developed conditions. These results suggest that strategies based on repetitive pulsed illumination are efficient for the activation of photoactivatable Cre and, possibly other photo-switchable proteins.

A small and highly sensitive red/far-red optogenetic switch for applications in mammals.

red PhyA/FHY1 HEK293 mouse in vivo Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Nat Biotechnol, 4 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41587-021-01036-w Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic technologies have transformed our ability to precisely control biological processes in time and space. Yet, current eukaryotic optogenetic systems are limited by large or complex optogenetic modules, long illumination times, low tissue penetration or slow activation and deactivation kinetics. Here, we report a red/far-red light-mediated and miniaturized Δphytochrome A (ΔPhyA)-based photoswitch (REDMAP) system based on the plant photoreceptor PhyA, which rapidly binds the shuttle protein far-red elongated hypocotyl 1 (FHY1) under illumination with 660-nm light with dissociation occurring at 730 nm. We demonstrate multiple applications of REDMAP, including dynamic on/off control of the endogenous Ras/Erk mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and control of epigenetic remodeling using a REDMAP-mediated CRISPR-nuclease-deactivated Cas9 (CRISPR-dCas9) (REDMAPcas) system in mice. We also demonstrate the utility of REDMAP tools for in vivo applications by activating the expression of transgenes delivered by adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) or incorporated into cells in microcapsules implanted into mice, rats and rabbits illuminated by light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Further, we controlled glucose homeostasis in type 1 diabetic (T1D) mice and rats using REDMAP to trigger insulin expression. REDMAP is a compact and sensitive tool for the precise spatiotemporal control of biological activities in animals with applications in basic biology and potentially therapy.

Optogenetic control of Neisseria meningitidis Cas9 genome editing using an engineered, light-switchable anti-CRISPR protein.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T Huh-7 Nucleic acid editing
Nucleic Acids Res, 18 Mar 2021 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkaa1198 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic control of CRISPR-Cas9 systems has significantly improved our ability to perform genome perturbations in living cells with high precision in time and space. As new Cas orthologues with advantageous properties are rapidly being discovered and engineered, the need for straightforward strategies to control their activity via exogenous stimuli persists. The Cas9 from Neisseria meningitidis (Nme) is a particularly small and target-specific Cas9 orthologue, and thus of high interest for in vivo genome editing applications. Here, we report the first optogenetic tool to control NmeCas9 activity in mammalian cells via an engineered, light-dependent anti-CRISPR (Acr) protein. Building on our previous Acr engineering work, we created hybrids between the NmeCas9 inhibitor AcrIIC3 and the LOV2 blue light sensory domain from Avena sativa. Two AcrIIC3-LOV2 hybrids from our collection potently blocked NmeCas9 activity in the dark, while permitting robust genome editing at various endogenous loci upon blue light irradiation. Structural analysis revealed that, within these hybrids, the LOV2 domain is located in striking proximity to the Cas9 binding surface. Together, our work demonstrates optogenetic regulation of a type II-C CRISPR effector and might suggest a new route for the design of optogenetic Acrs.

A single-chain and fast-responding light-inducible Cre recombinase as a novel optogenetic switch.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 Magnets HEK293 S. cerevisiae Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Elife, 23 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.7554/elife.61268 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.

CRISPR-dcas9 Optogenetic Nanosystem for the Blue Light-Mediated Treatment of Neovascular Lesions.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa primary mouse retinal microvascular endothelial cells Nucleic acid editing
ACS Appl Bio Mater, 15 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.0c01465 Link to full text
Abstract: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the key regulator in neovascular lesions. The anti-VEGF injection is a major way to relieve retinal neovascularization and treat these diseases. However, current anti-VEGF therapeutics show significant drawbacks. The reason is the inability to effectively control its therapeutic effect. Therefore, how to controllably inhibit the VEGF target is a key point for preventing angiogenesis. Here, a CRISPR-dCas9 optogenetic nanosystem was designed for the precise regulation of pathologic neovascularization. This system is composed of a light-controlled regulatory component and transcription inhibition component. They work together to controllably and effectively inhibit the target gene's VEGF. The opto-CRISPR nanosystem achieved precise regulation according to individual differences, whereby the expression and interaction of gene was activated by light. The following representative model laser-induced choroid neovascularization and oxygen-induced retinopathy were taken as examples to verify the effect of this nanosystem. The results showed that the opto-CRISPR nanosystem was more efficacious in the light control group (NV area effectively reduced by 41.54%) than in the dark control group without light treatment. This strategy for the CRISPR-optogenetic gene nanosystem led to the development of approaches for treating severe eye diseases. Besides, any target gene of interest can be designed by merely replacing the guide RNA sequences in this system, which provided a method for light-controlled gene transcriptional repression.

Blue Light‐Operated CRISPR/Cas13b‐Mediated mRNA Knockdown (Lockdown).

blue AsLOV2 EL222 TULIP CHO-K1 HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
Adv Biol, 11 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000307 Link to full text
Abstract: The introduction of optogenetics into cell biology has furnished systems to control gene expression at the transcriptional and protein stability level, with a high degree of spatial, temporal, and dynamic light‐regulation capabilities. Strategies to downregulate RNA currently rely on RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas‐related methods. However, these approaches lack the key characteristics and advantages provided by optical control. “Lockdown” introduces optical control of RNA levels utilizing a blue light‐dependent switch to induce expression of CRISPR/Cas13b, which mediates sequence‐specific mRNA knockdown. Combining Lockdown with optogenetic tools to repress gene‐expression and induce protein destabilization with blue light yields efficient triple‐controlled downregulation of target proteins. Implementing Lockdown to degrade endogenous mRNA levels of the cyclin‐dependent kinase 1 (hCdk1) leads to blue light‐induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and inhibition of cell growth in mammalian cells.

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.

A CRISPR-Cas9-Based Near-Infrared Upconversion-Activated DNA Methylation Editing System.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T mouse in vivo TPC-1 Nucleic acid editing
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 1 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c21223 Link to full text
Abstract: DNA methylation is a kind of a crucial epigenetic marker orchestrating gene expression, molecular function, and cellular phenotype. However, manipulating the methylation status of specific genes remains challenging. Here, a clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats-Cas9-based near-infrared upconversion-activated DNA methylation editing system (CNAMS) was designed for the optogenetic editing of DNA methylation. The fusion proteins of photosensitive CRY2PHR, the catalytic domain of DNMT3A or TET1, and the fusion proteins for CIBN and catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) were engineered. The CNAMS could control DNA methylation editing in response to blue light, thus allowing methylation editing in a spatiotemporal manner. Furthermore, after combination with upconversion nanoparticles, the spectral sensitivity of DNA methylation editing was extended from the blue light to near-infrared (NIR) light, providing the possibility for remote DNA methylation editing. These results demonstrated a meaningful step forward toward realizing the specific editing of DNA methylation, suggesting the wide utility of our CNAMS for functional studies on epigenetic regulation and potential therapeutic strategies for related diseases.

A Light-Inducible Split-dCas9 System for Inhibiting the Progression of Bladder Cancer Cells by Activating p53 and E-cadherin.

blue CRY2/CIB1 5637 cells HEK293T T24 Nucleic acid editing
Front Mol Biosci, 5 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.3389/fmolb.2020.627848 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic systems have been increasingly investigated in the field of biomedicine. Previous studies had found the inhibitory effect of the light-inducible genetic circuits on cancer cell growth. In our study, we applied an AND logic gates to the light-inducible genetic circuits to inhibit the cancer cells more specifically. The circuit would only be activated in the presence of both the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) and the human uroplakin II (hUPII) promoter. The activated logic gate led to the expression of the p53 or E-cadherin protein, which could inhibit the biological function of tumor cells. In addition, we split the dCas9 protein to reduce the size of the synthetic circuit compared to the full-length dCas9. This light-inducible system provides a potential therapeutic strategy for future bladder cancer.

Efficient photoactivatable Dre recombinase for cell type-specific spatiotemporal control of genome engineering in the mouse.

blue red CRY2/CIB1 Magnets PhyB/PIF3 VVD HEK293T HeLa HEp-2 mouse in vivo SH-SY5Y Nucleic acid editing
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 14 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003991117 Link to full text
Abstract: Precise genetic engineering in specific cell types within an intact organism is intriguing yet challenging, especially in a spatiotemporal manner without the interference caused by chemical inducers. Here we engineered a photoactivatable Dre recombinase based on the identification of an optimal split site and demonstrated that it efficiently regulated transgene expression in mouse tissues spatiotemporally upon blue light illumination. Moreover, through a double-floxed inverted open reading frame strategy, we developed a Cre-activated light-inducible Dre (CALID) system. Taking advantage of well-defined cell-type-specific promoters or a well-established Cre transgenic mouse strain, we demonstrated that the CALID system was able to activate endogenous reporter expression for either bulk or sparse labeling of CaMKIIα-positive excitatory neurons and parvalbumin interneurons in the brain. This flexible and tunable system could be a powerful tool for the dissection and modulation of developmental and genetic complexity in a wide range of biological systems.

Design of smart antibody mimetics with photosensitive switches.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T HeLa Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
bioRxiv, 4 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.03.410936 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. We introduce herein a generally-applicable method to engineer light-controllable monobodies and nanobodies, designated as moonbody and sunbody, respectively. These engineered antibody-like modular domains enable rapid and reversible antibody-antigen recognition by utilizing light. By paralleled insertion of two LOV2 modules into a single sunbody and the use of bivalent sunbodies, we substantially enhance the range of dynamic changes of photo-switchable sunbodies. Furthermore, we demonstrate the use of moonbodies or sunbodies to precisely control protein degradation, gene transcription, and base editing by harnessing the power of light.

Optogenetic regulation of embryo implantation in mice using photoactivatable CRISPR-Cas9.

blue Magnets mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2 Nov 2020 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2016850117 Link to full text
Abstract: Embryo implantation is achieved upon successful interaction between a fertilized egg and receptive endometrium and is mediated by spatiotemporal expression of implantation-associated molecules including leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Here we demonstrate, in mice, that LIF knockdown via a photoactivatable CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system and illumination with a light-emitting diode can spatiotemporally disrupt fertility. This system enables dissection of spatiotemporal molecular mechanisms associated with embryo implantation and provides a therapeutic strategy for temporal control of reproductive functions in vivo.
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