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 - 4 of 4 results

Liquid Nuclear Condensates Mechanically Sense and Restructure the Genome.

blue CRY2/CRY2 iLID HEK293 HEK293T NIH/3T3 U-2 OS Organelle manipulation
Cell, 29 Nov 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.057 Link to full text
Abstract: Phase transitions involving biomolecular liquids are a fundamental mechanism underlying intracellular organization. In the cell nucleus, liquid-liquid phase separation of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) is implicated in assembly of the nucleolus, as well as transcriptional clusters, and other nuclear bodies. However, it remains unclear whether and how physical forces associated with nucleation, growth, and wetting of liquid condensates can directly restructure chromatin. Here, we use CasDrop, a novel CRISPR-Cas9-based optogenetic technology, to show that various IDPs phase separate into liquid condensates that mechanically exclude chromatin as they grow and preferentially form in low-density, largely euchromatic regions. A minimal physical model explains how this stiffness sensitivity arises from lower mechanical energy associated with deforming softer genomic regions. Targeted genomic loci can nonetheless be mechanically pulled together through surface tension-driven coalescence. Nuclear condensates may thus function as mechanoactive chromatin filters, physically pulling in targeted genomic loci while pushing out non-targeted regions of the neighboring genome.

Mapping Local and Global Liquid Phase Behavior in Living Cells Using Photo-Oligomerizable Seeds.

blue iLID C. elegans in vivo HEK293 HeLa NIH/3T3 S. cerevisiae U-2 OS Organelle manipulation
Cell, 29 Nov 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.048 Link to full text
Abstract: Liquid-liquid phase separation plays a key role in the assembly of diverse intracellular structures. However, the biophysical principles by which phase separation can be precisely localized within subregions of the cell are still largely unclear, particularly for low-abundance proteins. Here, we introduce an oligomerizing biomimetic system, ‘‘Corelets,’’ and utilize its rapid and quantitative light-controlled tunability to map full intracellular phase diagrams, which dictate the concentrations at which phase separation occurs and the transition mechanism, in a protein sequence dependent manner. Surprisingly, both experiments and simulations show that while intracellular concentrations may be insufficient for global phase separation, sequestering protein ligands to slowly diffusing nucleation centers can move the cell into a different region of the phase diagram, resulting in localized phase separation. This diffusive capture mechanism liberates the cell from the constraints of global protein abundance and is likely exploited to pattern condensates associated with diverse biological processes.

Protein Phase Separation Provides Long-Term Memory of Transient Spatial Stimuli.

blue CRY2/CRY2 PixD/PixE NIH/3T3 Signaling cascade control Organelle manipulation
Cell Syst, 24 May 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2018.05.002 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein/RNA clusters arise frequently in spatially regulated biological processes, from the asymmetric distribution of P granules and PAR proteins in developing embryos to localized receptor oligomers in migratory cells. This co-occurrence suggests that protein clusters might possess intrinsic properties that make them a useful substrate for spatial regulation. Here, we demonstrate that protein droplets show a robust form of spatial memory, maintaining the spatial pattern of an inhibitor of droplet formation long after it has been removed. Despite this persistence, droplets can be highly dynamic, continuously exchanging monomers with the diffuse phase. We investigate the principles of biophysical spatial memory in three contexts: a computational model of phase separation; a novel optogenetic system where light can drive rapid, localized dissociation of liquid-like protein droplets; and membrane-localized signal transduction from clusters of receptor tyrosine kinases. Our results suggest that the persistent polarization underlying many cellular and developmental processes could arise through a simple biophysical process, without any additional biochemical feedback loops.

Spatiotemporal Control of Intracellular Phase Transitions Using Light-Activated optoDroplets.

blue CRY2olig HEK293T NIH/3T3 Organelle manipulation
Cell, 29 Dec 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.054 Link to full text
Abstract: Phase transitions driven by intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDRs) have emerged as a ubiquitous mechanism for assembling liquid-like RNA/protein (RNP) bodies and other membrane-less organelles. However, a lack of tools to control intracellular phase transitions limits our ability to understand their role in cell physiology and disease. Here, we introduce an optogenetic platform that uses light to activate IDR-mediated phase transitions in living cells. We use this "optoDroplet" system to study condensed phases driven by the IDRs of various RNP body proteins, including FUS, DDX4, and HNRNPA1. Above a concentration threshold, these constructs undergo light-activated phase separation, forming spatiotemporally definable liquid optoDroplets. FUS optoDroplet assembly is fully reversible even after multiple activation cycles. However, cells driven deep within the phase boundary form solid-like gels that undergo aging into irreversible aggregates. This system can thus elucidate not only physiological phase transitions but also their link to pathological aggregates.
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