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 201 results

OptoProfilin: A Single Component Biosensor of Applied Cellular Stress.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293T HeLa Neuro-2a NIH/3T3 Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Organelle manipulation
Chembiochem, 8 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1002/cbic.202400007 Link to full text
Abstract: The actin cytoskeleton is a biosensor of cellular stress and a potential prognosticator of human disease. In particular, aberrant cytoskeletal structures such as stress granules formed in response to energetic and oxidative stress are closely linked to ageing, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and viral infection. Whether these cytoskeletal phenomena can be harnessed for the development of biosensors for cytoskeletal dysfunction and, by extension, disease progression, remains an open question. In this work, we describe the design and development of an optogenetic iteration of profilin, an actin monomer binding protein with critical functions in cytoskeletal dynamics. We demonstrate that this optically activated profilin ('OptoProfilin') can act as an optically triggered biosensor of applied cellular stress in select immortalized cell lines. Notably, OptoProfilin is a single component biosensor, likely increasing its utility for experimentalists. While a large body of preexisting work closely links profilin activity with cellular stress and neurodegenerative disease, this, to our knowledge, is the first example of profilin as an optogenetic biosensor of stress-induced changes in the cytoskeleton.

C9orf72 poly-PR condensation induces nuclear TDP-43 pathology and is inhibited by RNA in an optogenetic cell model.

blue CRY2olig HeLa Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 5 Mar 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.03.05.581933 Link to full text
Abstract: Proteinaceous inclusions formed by C9orf72 derived dipeptide-repeat (DPR) proteins are a histopathological hallmark in ∼50% of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) cases. However DPR aggregation/inclusion formation could not be efficiently recapitulated in cell models for four out of five DPRs. We utilised the Cry2olig optogenetic module to achieve chemical-free and controllable poly-PR condensation/aggregation in cultured cells. This approach revealed that poly-PR forms anisotropic condensates in the nucleus and that RNA limits their fusion-dependent growth. Poly-PR self-assembly induced nuclear TDP-43 condensation without activation of cellular stress response. Poly-PR cytoplasmic redistribution and aggregation could be also achieved with prolonged light stimulation. Cytoplasmic poly-PR assemblies were more persistent than its nuclear condensates, selectively sequestered TDP-43 and surrounded spontaneous stress granules. Our data suggest that poly-PR condensation in the nucleus and cytoplasm, causative of TDP-43 dysfunction, may constitute an early pathological event in C9-ALS/FTD. The opto-DPR platform described here is a useful tool for modelling cytopathologies elicited by DPR aggregation for mechanistic research and drug discovery.

Using split protein reassembly strategy to optically control PLD enzymatic activity.

blue CRY2/CIB1 iLID HEK293T HeLa Signaling cascade control Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 30 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.27.577557 Link to full text
Abstract: Phospholipase D (PLD) and phosphatidic acid (PA) play a spatio-temporal role in regulating diverse cellular activities. Although current methodologies enable optical control of the subcellular localization of PLD and by which influence local PLD enzyme activity, the overexpression of PLD elevates the basal PLD enzyme activity and further leads to increased PA levels in cells. In this study, we employed a split protein reassembly strategy and optogenetic techniques to modify superPLD (a PLDPMF variant with a high basal activity). We splited this variants into two HKD domains and fused these domains with optogenetic elements and by which we achieved light-mediated dimerization of the two HKD proteins and then restored the PLD enzymatic activity.

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.

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.

Rho GTPase activity crosstalk mediated by Arhgef11 and Arhgef12 coordinates cell protrusion-retraction cycles.

blue AsLOV2 A-431 HeLa Neuro-2a NIH/3T3 U-2 OS Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Nat Commun, 15 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-43875-y Link to full text
Abstract: Rho GTPases play a key role in the spatio-temporal coordination of cytoskeletal dynamics during cell migration. Here, we directly investigate crosstalk between the major Rho GTPases Rho, Rac and Cdc42 by combining rapid activity perturbation with activity measurements in mammalian cells. These studies reveal that Rac stimulates Rho activity. Direct measurement of spatio-temporal activity patterns show that Rac activity is tightly and precisely coupled to local cell protrusions, followed by Rho activation during retraction. Furthermore, we find that the Rho-activating Lbc-type GEFs Arhgef11 and Arhgef12 are enriched at transient cell protrusions and retractions and recruited to the plasma membrane by active Rac. In addition, their depletion reduces activity crosstalk, cell protrusion-retraction dynamics and migration distance and increases migration directionality. Thus, our study shows that Arhgef11 and Arhgef12 facilitate exploratory cell migration by coordinating cell protrusion and retraction by coupling the activity of the associated regulators Rac and Rho.

Liebig’s law of the minimum in the TGF-β/SMAD pathway.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 6 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.07.10.548398 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells use signaling pathways to sense and respond to their environments. The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway produces context-specific responses. Here, we combined modeling and experimental analysis to study the dependence of the output of the TGF-β pathway on the abundance of signaling molecules in the pathway. We showed that the TGF-β pathway processes the variation of TGF-β receptor abundance using Liebig’s law of the minimum, meaning that the output-modifying factor is the signaling protein that is most limited, to determine signaling responses across cell types and in single cells. We found that the abundance of either the type I (TGFBR1) or type II (TGFBR2) TGF-β receptor determined the responses of cancer cell lines, such that the receptor with relatively low abundance dictates the response. Furthermore, nuclear SMAD2 signaling correlated with the abundance of TGF_x0002_β receptor in single cells depending on the relative expression levels of TGFBR1 and TGFBR2. A similar control principle could govern the heterogeneity of signaling responses in other signaling pathways.

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.

RudLOV—a new optically synchronized cargo transport method reveals unexpected effect of dynasore.

blue LOVTRAP HeLa Control of vesicular transport
bioRxiv, 5 Nov 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.11.04.565648 Link to full text
Abstract: Live imaging of secretory cargoes is a powerful method for understanding the mechanisms of membrane trafficking. Inducing the synchronous release of cargoes from an organelle is a key for enhancing microscopic observation. We developed an optical cargo-releasing method named as retention using dark state of LOV2 (RudLOV), which enables exceptional spatial, temporal, and quantity control during cargo release. A limited amount of cargo-release using RudLOV successfully visualized cargo cisternal-movement and cargo-specific exit sites on the Golgi/trans-Golgi network. Moreover, by controlling the timing of cargo-release using RudLOV, we revealed the canonical and non-canonical effects of the well-known dynamin inhibitor dynasore, which inhibits early-Golgi but not late-Golgi transport and exit from the trans-Golgi network where dynamin-2 is active. Accumulation of COPI vesicles at the cis-side of the Golgi stacks in dynasore-treated cells suggests that dynasore targets COPI-uncoating/tethering/fusion machinery in the early-Golgi cisternae or endoplasmic reticulum but not in the late-Golgi cisternae. These results provide insight into the cisternal maturation of Golgi stacks.

Optogenetics for sensors: On-demand fluorescent labeling of histone epigenetics.

blue AsLOV2 HeLa Epigenetic modification
Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 29 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2023.149174 Link to full text
Abstract: Post-translational modifications of histones to a large extent determine the functional state of chromatin loci. Dynamic visualization of histone modifications with genetically encoded fluorescent sensors makes it possible to monitor changes in the epigenetic state of a single living cell. At the same time, the sensors can potentially compete with endogenous factors recognizing these modifications. Thus, prolonged binding of the sensors to chromatin can affect normal epigenetic regulation. Here, we report an optogenetic sensor for live-cell visualization of histone H3 methylated at lysine-9 (H3K9me3) named MPP8-LAMS (MPP8-based light-activated modification sensor). MPP8-LAMS consists of several fusion protein parts (from N- to C-terminus): i) nuclear export signal (NES), ii) far-red fluorescent protein Katushka, iii) H3K9me3-binding reader domain of the human M phase phosphoprotein 8 (MPP8), iv) the light-responsive AsLOV2 domain, which exposes a nuclear localization signal (NLS) upon blue light stimulation. In the dark, due to the NES, MPP8-LAMS is localized in the cytosol. Under blue light illumination, MPP8-LAMS underwent an efficient translocation from cytosol to nucleus, enabling visualization of H3K9me3-enriched loci. Such an on-demand visualization minimizes potential impact on cell physiology as most of the time the sensor is separated from its target. In general, the present work extends the application of optogenetics to the area of advanced use of genetically encoded sensors.

Turn-On Protein Switches for Controlling Actin Binding in Cells.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T HeLa MDCK Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
bioRxiv, 26 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.10.26.561921 Link to full text
Abstract: Within a shared cytoplasm, filamentous actin (F-actin) plays numerous and critical roles across the cell body. Cells rely on actin-binding proteins (ABPs) to organize F-actin and to integrate its polymeric characteristics into diverse cellular processes. Yet, the multitude of ABPs that engage with and shape F-actin make studying a single ABP’s influence on cellular activities a significant challenge. Moreover, without a means of manipulating actin-binding subcellularly, harnessing the F-actin cytoskeleton for synthetic biology purposes remains elusive. Here, we describe a suite of designed proteins, Controllable Actin-binding Switch Tools (CASTs), whose actin-binding behavior can be controlled with external stimuli. CASTs were developed that respond to different external inputs, providing options for turn-on kinetics and enabling orthogonality. Being genetically encoded, we show that CASTs can be inserted into native protein sequences to control F-actin association locally and engineered into new structures to control cell and tissue shape and behavior.

Optogenetic STING clustering system through nanobody-fused photoreceptor for innate immune regulation.

blue CRY2clust A-172 HeLa Signaling cascade control
Sens Actuators B Chem, 20 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2023.134822 Link to full text
Abstract: Stimulator of interferon gene (STING) serves as a key mediator for regulating innate immune response. Despite the dynamic process of STING activation, the role of STING clustering in the STING-mediated immune response remains unclear due to the lack of a suitable tool. We developed an innovative optogenetic STING clustering system, OptoSTING, that employs a nanobody-fused photoreceptor-driven technique to achieve light-responsive STING clustering. By optimizing the protein configuration, we identified an optimal OptoSTING system that induced efficient, robust, and reversible clustering of STING upon blue-light illumination. We confirmed that light-induced STING clustering required ER exit to trigger the stimulation of type I interferon response because only cytosolic fragment of OptoSTING (cyt-OptoSTING) enabled to initiate immune response, not full-length OptoSTING. The precise and temporally controlled clustering by cyt-OptoSTING revealed that STING clustering facilitated the STING signaling pathway through puncta formation of IRF3 as downstream effector protein.

AAV-compatible optogenetic tools for activating endogenous calcium channels in vivo.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 BV-2 HeLa mouse astrocytes primary mouse hippocampal neurons Immediate control of second messengers
Mol Brain, 17 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1186/s13041-023-01061-7 Link to full text
Abstract: Calcium ions (Ca2+) play pivotal roles in regulating diverse brain functions, including cognition, emotion, locomotion, and learning and memory. These functions are intricately regulated by a variety of Ca2+-dependent cellular processes, encompassing synaptic plasticity, neuro/gliotransmitter release, and gene expression. In our previous work, we developed 'monster OptoSTIM1' (monSTIM1), an improved OptoSTIM1 that selectively activates Ca2+-release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels in the plasma membrane through blue light, allowing precise control over intracellular Ca2+ signaling and specific brain functions. However, the large size of the coding sequence of monSTIM1 poses a limitation for its widespread use, as it exceeds the packaging capacity of adeno-associated virus (AAV). To address this constraint, we have introduced monSTIM1 variants with reduced coding sequence sizes and established AAV-based systems for expressing them in neurons and glial cells in the mouse brain. Upon expression by AAVs, these monSTIM1 variants significantly increased the expression levels of cFos in neurons and astrocytes in the hippocampal CA1 region following non-invasive light illumination. The use of monSTIM1 variants offers a promising avenue for investigating the spatiotemporal roles of Ca2+-mediated cellular activities in various brain functions. Furthermore, this toolkit holds potential as a therapeutic strategy for addressing brain disorders associated with aberrant Ca2+ signaling.

Reversible photoregulation of cell-cell adhesions with opto-E-cadherin.

blue AsLOV2 A-431 HeLa MDA-MB-231 NCTC clone 929 Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions
Nat Commun, 9 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41932-0 Link to full text
Abstract: E-cadherin-based cell-cell adhesions are dynamically and locally regulated in many essential processes, including embryogenesis, wound healing and tissue organization, with dysregulation manifesting as tumorigenesis and metastasis. However, the lack of tools that would provide control of the high spatiotemporal precision observed with E-cadherin adhesions hampers investigation of the underlying mechanisms. Here, we present an optogenetic tool, opto-E-cadherin, that allows reversible control of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions with blue light. With opto-E-cadherin, functionally essential calcium binding is photoregulated such that cells expressing opto-E-cadherin at their surface adhere to each other in the dark but not upon illumination. Consequently, opto-E-cadherin provides remote control over multicellular aggregation, E-cadherin-associated intracellular signalling and F-actin organization in 2D and 3D cell cultures. Opto-E-cadherin also allows switching of multicellular behaviour between single and collective cell migration, as well as of cell invasiveness in vitro and in vivo. Overall, opto-E-cadherin is a powerful optogenetic tool capable of controlling cell-cell adhesions at the molecular, cellular and behavioural level that opens up perspectives for the study of dynamics and spatiotemporal control of E-cadherin in biological processes.

Visual quantification of prostaglandin E2 discharge from a single cell.

blue CRY2clust HeLa MDCK Immediate control of second messengers
Cell Struct Funct, 7 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1247/csf.23047 Link to full text
Abstract: Calcium transients drive cells to discharge prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). We visualized PGE2-induced protein kinase A (PKA) activation and quantitated PGE2 secreted from a single cell by combining fluorescence microscopy and a simulation model. For this purpose, we first prepared PGE2-producer cells that express either an optogenetic or a chemogenetic calcium channel stimulator: OptoSTIM1 or Gq-DREADD, respectively. Second, we prepared reporter cells expressing the Gs-coupled PGE2 reporter EP2 and the PKA biosensor Booster-PKA, which is based on the principle of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Upon the stimulation-induced triggering of calcium transients, a single producer cell discharges PGE2 to stimulate PKA in the surrounding reporter cells. Due to the flow of the medium, the PKA-activated area exhibited a comet-like smear when HeLa cells were used. In contrast, radial PKA activation was observed when confluent MDCK cells were used, indicating that PGE2 diffusion was restricted to the basolateral space. By fitting the radius of the PKA-activated area to a simulation model based on simple diffusion, we estimated that a single HeLa cell secretes 0.25 fmol PGE2 upon a single calcium transient to activate PKA in more than 1000 neighboring cells. This model also predicts that the PGE2 discharge rate is comparable to the diffusion rate. Thus, our method quantitatively envisions that a single calcium transient affects more than 1000 neighboring cells via PGE2.Key words: prostaglandin E2, imaging, intercellular communication, biosensor, quantification.

CaaX-motif-adjacent residues influence G protein gamma (Gγ) prenylation under suboptimal conditions.

blue iLID HeLa Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 20 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2023.105269 Link to full text
Abstract: Prenylation is an irreversible post-translational modification that supports membrane interactions of proteins involved in various cellular processes, including migration, proliferation, and survival. Dysregulation of prenylation contributes to multiple disorders, including cancers and vascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Prenyltransferases tether isoprenoid lipids to proteins via a thioether linkage during prenylation. Pharmacological inhibition of the lipid synthesis pathway by statins is a therapeutic approach to control hyperlipidemia. Building on our previous finding that statins inhibit membrane association of G protein γ (Gγ) in a subtype-dependent manner, we investigated the molecular reasoning for this differential inhibition. We examined the prenylation of carboxy-terminus (Ct) mutated Gγ in cells exposed to Fluvastatin and prenyl transferase inhibitors and monitored the subcellular localization of fluorescently tagged Gγ subunits and their mutants using live-cell confocal imaging. Reversible optogenetic unmasking-masking of Ct residues was used to probe their contribution to prenylation and membrane interactions of the prenylated proteins. Our findings suggest that specific Ct residues regulate membrane interactions of the Gγ polypeptide, statin sensitivity, and extent of prenylation. Our results also show a few hydrophobic and charged residues at the Ct are crucial determinants of a protein's prenylation ability, especially under suboptimal conditions. Given the cell and tissue-specific expression of different Gγ subtypes, our findings indicate a plausible mechanism allowing for statins to differentially perturb heterotrimeric G protein signaling in cells depending on their Gγ-subtype composition. Our results may also provide molecular reasoning for repurposing statins as Ras oncogene inhibitors and the failure of using prenyltransferase inhibitors in cancer treatment.

Photoswitchable binders enable temporal dissection of endogenous protein function.

cyan pdDronpa1 HeLa U-87 MG Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
bioRxiv, 14 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.09.14.557687 Link to full text
Abstract: General methods for spatiotemporal control of specific endogenous proteins would be broadly useful for probing protein function in living cells. Synthetic protein binders that bind and inhibit endogenous protein targets can be obtained from nanobodies, designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), and other small protein scaffolds, but generalizable methods to control their binding activity are lacking. Here, we report robust single-chain photoswitchable DARPins (psDARPins) for bidirectional optical control of endogenous proteins. We created topological variants of the DARPin scaffold by computer-aided design so fusion of photodissociable dimeric Dronpa (pdDronpa) results in occlusion of target binding at baseline. Cyan light induces pdDronpa dissociation to expose the binding surface (paratope), while violet light restores pdDronpa dimerization and paratope caging. Since the DARPin redesign leaves the paratope intact, the approach was easily applied to existing DARPins for GFP, ERK, and Ras, as demonstrated by relocalizing GFP-family proteins and inhibiting endogenous ERK and Ras with optical control. Finally, a Ras-targeted psDARPin was used to determine that, following EGF-activation of EGFR, Ras is required for sustained EGFR to ERK signaling. In summary, psDARPins provide a generalizable strategy for precise spatiotemporal dissection of endogenous protein function.

Diya – a universal light illumination platform for multiwell plate cultures.

blue green CcaS/CcaR CRY2/CIB1 EL222 Magnets VVD E. coli HEK293T HeLa S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
iScience, 9 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107862 Link to full text
Abstract: Recent progress in protein engineering has established optogenetics as one of the leading external non-invasive stimulation strategies, with many optogenetic tools being designed for in vivo operation. Characterization and optimization of these tools require a high-throughput and versatile light delivery system targeting micro-titer culture volumes. Here, we present a universal light illumination platform – Diya, compatible with a wide range of cell culture plates and dishes. Diya hosts specially-designed features ensuring active thermal management, homogeneous illumination, and minimal light bleedthrough. It offers light induction programming via a user-friendly custom-designed GUI. Through extensive characterization experiments with multiple optogenetic tools in diverse model organisms (bacteria, yeast and human cell lines), we show that Diya maintains viable conditions for cell cultures undergoing light induction. Finally, we demonstrate an optogenetic strategy for in vivo biomolecular controller operation. With a custom-designed antithetic integral feedback circuit, we exhibit robust perfect adaptation and light-controlled set-point variation using Diya.

Spatiotemporal optical control of Gαq-PLCβ interactions.

blue CRY2/CIB1 iLID HeLa RAW264.7 Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 12 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.08.10.552801 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells experience time-varying and spatially heterogeneous chemokine signals in vivo, activating cell surface proteins, including G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The Gαq pathway activation by GPCRs is a major signaling axis with a broad physiological and pathological significance. Compared to other Gα members, GαqGTP activates many crucial effectors, including PLCβ (Phospholipase Cβ) and Rho GEFs (Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors). PLCβ regulates many key processes, such as hematopoiesis, synaptogenesis, and cell cycle, and is therefore implicated in terminal - debilitating diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, Huntington’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. However, due to a lack of genetic and pharmacological tools, examining how the dynamic regulation of PLCβ signaling controls cellular physiology has been difficult. Since activated PLCβ induces several abrupt cellular changes, including cell morphology, examining how the other pathways downstream of Gq-GPCRs contribute to the overall signaling has also been difficult. Here we show the engineering, validation, and application of a highly selective and efficient optogenetic inhibitor (Opto-dHTH) to completely disrupt GαqGTP-PLCβ interactions reversibly in user-defined cellular-subcellular regions on optical command. Using this newly gained PLCβ signaling control, our data indicate that the molecular competition between RhoGEFs and PLCβ for GαqGTP determines the potency of Gq-GPCR-governed directional cell migration.

Optogenetic strategies for optimizing the performance of biosensors of membrane phospholipids in live cells.

blue cpLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 LOVTRAP HEK293T HeLa Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 4 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.08.03.551799 Link to full text
Abstract: High-performance biosensors are crucial for elucidating the spatiotemporal regulatory roles and dynamics of membrane lipids, but there is a lack of improvement strategies for biosensors with low sensitivity and low-content substrates detection. Here we developed universal optogenetic strategies to improve a set of membrane biosensors by trapping them into specific region and further reducing the background signal, or by optically-controlled phase separation for membrane lipids detection and tracking. These improved biosensors were superior to typical tools and light simulation would enhance their detection performance and resolution, which might contribute to the design and optimization of other biosensors.

Opto-RhoGEFs, an optimized optogenetic toolbox to reversibly control Rho GTPase activity on a global to subcellular scale, enabling precise control over vascular endothelial barrier strength.

blue iLID Magnets hBE HeLa Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Elife, 14 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.7554/elife.84364 Link to full text
Abstract: The inner layer of blood vessels consists of endothelial cells, which form the physical barrier between blood and tissue. This vascular barrier is tightly regulated and is defined by cell-cell contacts through adherens and tight junctions. To investigate the signaling that regulates vascular barrier strength, we focused on Rho GTPases, regulators of the actin cytoskeleton and known to control junction integrity. To manipulate Rho GTPase signaling in a temporal and spatial manner we applied optogenetics. Guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) domains from ITSN1, TIAM1, and p63RhoGEF, activating Cdc42, Rac, and Rho, respectively, were integrated into the optogenetic recruitment tool improved light-induced dimer (iLID). This tool allows for Rho GTPase activation at the subcellular level in a reversible and non-invasive manner by recruiting a GEF to a specific area at the plasma membrane, The membrane tag of iLID was optimized and a HaloTag was applied to gain more flexibility for multiplex imaging. The resulting optogenetically recruitable RhoGEFs (Opto-RhoGEFs) were tested in an endothelial cell monolayer and demonstrated precise temporal control of vascular barrier strength by a cell-cell overlap-dependent, VE-cadherin-independent, mechanism. Furthermore, Opto-RhoGEFs enabled precise optogenetic control in endothelial cells over morphological features such as cell size, cell roundness, local extension, and cell contraction. In conclusion, we have optimized and applied the optogenetic iLID GEF recruitment tool, that is Opto-RhoGEFs, to study the role of Rho GTPases in the vascular barrier of the endothelium and found that membrane protrusions at the junction region can rapidly increase barrier integrity independent of VE-cadherin.

A Bioluminescent Activity Dependent (BLADe) Platform for Converting Neuronal Activity to Photoreceptor Activation.

blue EL222 HEK293 HeLa mouse in vivo Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 27 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.06.25.546469 Link to full text
Abstract: We developed a platform that utilizes a calcium-dependent luciferase to convert neuronal activity into activation of light sensing domains within the same cell. The platform is based on a Gaussia luciferase variant with high light emission split by calmodulin-M13 sequences that depends on influx of calcium ions (Ca2+) for functional reconstitution. In the presence of its luciferin, coelenterazine (CTZ), Ca2+ influx results in light emission that drives activation of photoreceptors, including optogenetic channels and LOV domains. Critical features of the converter luciferase are light emission low enough to not activate photoreceptors under baseline condition and high enough to activate photosensing elements in the presence of Ca2+ and luciferin. We demonstrate performance of this activity-dependent sensor and integrator for changing membrane potential and driving transcription in individual and populations of neurons in vitro and in vivo.

An optogenetic-phosphoproteomic study reveals dynamic Akt1 signaling profiles in endothelial cells.

blue CRY2/CIB1 EA.Hy926 HeLa HUVEC Signaling cascade control
Nat Commun, 26 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-39514-1 Link to full text
Abstract: The serine/threonine kinase AKT is a central node in cell signaling. While aberrant AKT activation underlies the development of a variety of human diseases, how different patterns of AKT-dependent phosphorylation dictate downstream signaling and phenotypic outcomes remains largely enigmatic. Herein, we perform a systems-level analysis that integrates methodological advances in optogenetics, mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics, and bioinformatics to elucidate how different intensity, duration, and pattern of Akt1 stimulation lead to distinct temporal phosphorylation profiles in vascular endothelial cells. Through the analysis of ~35,000 phosphorylation sites across multiple conditions precisely controlled by light stimulation, we identify a series of signaling circuits activated downstream of Akt1 and interrogate how Akt1 signaling integrates with growth factor signaling in endothelial cells. Furthermore, our results categorize kinase substrates that are preferably activated by oscillating, transient, and sustained Akt1 signals. We validate a list of phosphorylation sites that covaried with Akt1 phosphorylation across experimental conditions as potential Akt1 substrates. Our resulting dataset provides a rich resource for future studies on AKT signaling and dynamics.

Structural basis of NINJ1-mediated plasma membrane rupture in cell death.

blue CRY2olig HeLa Cell death
Nature, 17 May 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-05991-z Link to full text
Abstract: Eukaryotic cells can undergo different forms of programmed cell death, many of which culminate in plasma membrane rupture as the defining terminal event1-7. Plasma membrane rupture was long thought to be driven by osmotic pressure, but it has recently been shown to be in many cases an active process, mediated by the protein ninjurin-18 (NINJ1). Here we resolve the structure of NINJ1 and the mechanism by which it ruptures membranes. Super-resolution microscopy reveals that NINJ1 clusters into structurally diverse assemblies in the membranes of dying cells, in particular large, filamentous assemblies with branched morphology. A cryo-electron microscopy structure of NINJ1 filaments shows a tightly packed fence-like array of transmembrane α-helices. Filament directionality and stability is defined by two amphipathic α-helices that interlink adjacent filament subunits. The NINJ1 filament features a hydrophilic side and a hydrophobic side, and molecular dynamics simulations show that it can stably cap membrane edges. The function of the resulting supramolecular arrangement was validated by site-directed mutagenesis. Our data thus suggest that, during lytic cell death, the extracellular α-helices of NINJ1 insert into the plasma membrane to polymerize NINJ1 monomers into amphipathic filaments that rupture the plasma membrane. The membrane protein NINJ1 is therefore an interactive component of the eukaryotic cell membrane that functions as an in-built breaking point in response to activation of cell death.

Engineering of NEMO as calcium indicators with large dynamics and high sensitivity.

blue AsLOV2 HeLa Immediate control of second messengers
Nat Methods, 20 Apr 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-023-01852-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are indispensable tools for real-time monitoring of intracellular calcium signals and cellular activities in living organisms. Current GECIs face the challenge of suboptimal peak signal-to-baseline ratio (SBR) with limited resolution for reporting subtle calcium transients. We report herein the development of a suite of calcium sensors, designated NEMO, with fast kinetics and wide dynamic ranges (>100-fold). NEMO indicators report Ca2+ transients with peak SBRs around 20-fold larger than the top-of-the-range GCaMP6 series. NEMO sensors further enable the quantification of absolution calcium concentration with ratiometric or photochromic imaging. Compared with GCaMP6s, NEMOs could detect single action potentials in neurons with a peak SBR two times higher and a median peak SBR four times larger in vivo, thereby outperforming most existing state-of-the-art GECIs. Given their high sensitivity and resolution to report intracellular Ca2+ signals, NEMO sensors may find broad applications in monitoring neuronal activities and other Ca2+-modulated physiological processes in both mammals and plants.
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