Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results
Optogenetics in plants.
The last two decades have witnessed the emergence of optogenetics; a field that has given researchers the ability to use light to control biological processes at high spatio-temporal and quantitative resolution, in a reversible manner with minimal side effects. Optogenetics has revolutionised the neurosciences, increased our understanding of cellular signalling and metabolic networks and resulted in variety of applications in biotechnology and biomedicine. However, implementing optogenetics in plants has been less straight forward given their dependency on light for their life cycle. Here, we highlight some of the widely used technologies in microorganisms and animal systems derived from plant photoreceptor proteins and discuss strategies recently implemented to overcome the challenges for using optogenetics in plants.
Optogenetics. Engineering of a light-gated potassium channel.
The present palette of opsin-based optogenetic tools lacks a light-gated potassium (K(+)) channel desirable for silencing of excitable cells. Here, we describe the construction of a blue-light-induced K(+) channel 1 (BLINK1) engineered by fusing the plant LOV2-Jα photosensory module to the small viral K(+) channel Kcv. BLINK1 exhibits biophysical features of Kcv, including K(+) selectivity and high single-channel conductance but reversibly photoactivates in blue light. Opening of BLINK1 channels hyperpolarizes the cell to the K(+) equilibrium potential. Ectopic expression of BLINK1 reversibly inhibits the escape response in light-exposed zebrafish larvae. BLINK1 therefore provides a single-component optogenetic tool that can establish prolonged, physiological hyperpolarization of cells at low light intensities.
Plant flavoprotein photoreceptors.
Plants depend on the surrounding light environment to direct their growth. Blue light (300-500 nm) in particular acts to promote a wide variety of photomorphogenic responses including seedling establishment, phototropism and circadian clock regulation. Several different classes of flavin-based photoreceptors have been identified that mediate the effects of blue light in the dicotyledonous genetic model Arabidopsis thaliana. These include the cryptochromes, the phototropins and members of the Zeitlupe family. In this review, we discuss recent advances, which contribute to our understanding of how these photosensory systems are activated by blue light and how they initiate signaling to regulate diverse aspects of plant development.
LOV to BLUF: flavoprotein contributions to the optogenetic toolkit.
Optogenetics is an emerging field that combines optical and genetic approaches to non-invasively interfere with cellular events with exquisite spatiotemporal control. Although it arose originally from neuroscience, optogenetics is widely applicable to the study of many different biological systems and the range of applications arising from this technology continues to increase. Moreover, the repertoire of light-sensitive proteins used for devising new optogenetic tools is rapidly expanding. Light, Oxygen, or Voltage sensing (LOV) and Blue-Light-Utilizing flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) (BLUF) domains represent new contributors to the optogenetic toolkit. These small (100-140-amino acids) flavoprotein modules are derived from plant and bacterial photoreceptors that respond to UV-A/blue light. In recent years, considerable progress has been made in uncovering the photoactivation mechanisms of both LOV and BLUF domains. This knowledge has been applied in the design of synthetic photoswitches and fluorescent reporters with applications in cell biology and biotechnology. In this review, we summarize the photochemical properties of LOV and BLUF photosensors and highlight some of the recent advances in how these flavoproteins are being employed to artificially regulate and image a variety of biological processes.
Plant UVR8 photoreceptor senses UV-B by tryptophan-mediated disruption of cross-dimer salt bridges.
The recently identified plant photoreceptor UVR8 (UV RESISTANCE LOCUS 8) triggers regulatory changes in gene expression in response to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) light through an unknown mechanism. Here, crystallographic and solution structures of the UVR8 homodimer, together with mutagenesis and far-UV circular dichroism spectroscopy, reveal its mechanisms for UV-B perception and signal transduction. β-propeller subunits form a remarkable, tryptophan-dominated, dimer interface stitched together by a complex salt-bridge network. Salt-bridging arginines flank the excitonically coupled cross-dimer tryptophan "pyramid" responsible for UV-B sensing. Photoreception reversibly disrupts salt bridges, triggering dimer dissociation and signal initiation. Mutation of a single tryptophan to phenylalanine retunes the photoreceptor to detect UV-C wavelengths. Our analyses establish how UVR8 functions as a photoreceptor without a prosthetic chromophore to promote plant development and survival in sunlight.
Steric interactions stabilize the signaling state of the LOV2 domain of phototropin 1.
Phototropins (phot1 and phot2) are blue light receptor kinases that control a range of photoresponses that serve to optimize the photosynthetic efficiency of plants. Light sensing by the phototropins is mediated by a repeated motif at the N-terminal region of the protein known as the LOV domain. Bacterially expressed LOV domains bind flavin mononucleotide noncovalently and are photochemically active in solution. Irradiation of the LOV domain results in the formation of a flavin-cysteinyl adduct (LOV390) which thermally relaxes back to the ground state in the dark, effectively completing a photocycle that serves as a molecular switch to control receptor kinase activity. We have employed a random mutagenesis approach to identify further amino acid residues involved in LOV-domain photochemistry. Escherichia coli colonies expressing a mutagenized population of LOV2 derived from Avena sativa (oat) phot1 were screened for variants that showed altered photochemical reactivity in response to blue light excitation. One variant showed slower rates of LOV390 formation but exhibited adduct decay times 1 order of magnitude faster than wild type. A single Ile --> Val substitution was responsible for the effects observed, which removes a single methyl group found in van der Waals contact with the cysteine sulfur involved in adduct formation. A kinetic acceleration trend was observed for adduct decay by decreasing the size of the isoleucine side chain. Our findings therefore indicate that the steric nature of this amino acid side chain contributes to stabilization of the C-S cysteinyl adduct.
Phototropins: a new family of flavin-binding blue light receptors in plants.
Phototropin is the designation originally assigned to a recently characterized chromoprotein that serves as a photoreceptor for phototropism. Phototropin is a light-activated autophosphorylating serine/threonine kinase that binds two flavin mononucleotide (FMN) molecules that function as blue light-absorbing chromophores. Each FMN molecule is bound in a rigid binding pocket within specialized PAS (PER-ARNT-SIM superfamily) domains, known as LOV (light, oxygen, or voltage) domains. This article reviews the detailed photobiological and biochemical characterization of the light-activated phosphorylation reaction of phototropin and follows the sequence of events leading to the cloning, sequencing, and characterization of the gene and the subsequent biochemical characterization of its encoded protein. It then considers recent biochemical and photochemical evidence that light activation of phototropin involves the formation of a cysteinyl adduct at the C(4a) position of the FMN chromophores. Adduct formation causes a major conformational change in the chromophores and a possible conformational change in the protein moiety as well. The review concludes with a brief discussion of the evidence for a second phototropin-like protein in Arabidopsis and rice. Possible roles for this photoreceptor are discussed.