Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results
Optogenetic control of apical constriction induces synthetic morphogenesis in mammalian tissues.
During embryonic development, cellular forces synchronize in space and time to generate functional tissue shapes. Apical constriction is one of these force-generating processes, and it is necessary to modulate epithelial curvature in fundamental morphogenetic events, such as neural tube folding. The emerging field of synthetic developmental biology proposes bottom-up approaches to examine the contribution of each cellular process to complex morphogenesis. However, the shortage of tools to manipulate three-dimensional (3D) shapes of mammalian tissues currently hinders the progress of the field. Here we report the development of 'OptoShroom3', a new optogenetic tool that achieves fast spatiotemporal control of apical constriction in mammalian epithelia. Activation of OptoShroom3 through illumination of individual cells in an epithelial cell sheet reduced their apical surface while illumination of groups of cells caused deformation in the adjacent regions. By using OptoShroom3, we further manipulated 3D tissue shapes. Light-induced apical constriction provoked the folding of epithelial cell colonies on soft gels. Its application to murine and human neural organoids led to thickening of neuroepithelia, apical lumen reduction in optic vesicles, and flattening in neuroectodermal tissues. These results show that spatiotemporal control of apical constriction can trigger several types of 3D deformation depending on the initial tissue context.
Photoactivatable oncolytic adenovirus for optogenetic cancer therapy.
Virotherapy using oncolytic adenovirus is an effective anticancer strategy. However, the tumor selectivity of oncolytic adenoviruses is not enough high. To develop oncolytic adenovirus with a low risk of off-tumor toxicity, we constructed a photoactivatable oncolytic adenovirus (paOAd). In response to blue light irradiation, the expression of adenoviral E1 genes, which are necessary for adenoviral replication, is induced and replication of this adenovirus occurs. In vitro, efficient lysis of various human cancer cell lines was observed by paOAd infection followed by blue light irradiation. Importantly, there was no off-tumor toxicity unless the cells were irradiated by blue light. In vivo, tumor growth in a subcutaneous tumor model and a mouse model of liver cancer was significantly inhibited by paOAd infection followed by blue light irradiation. In addition, paOAd also showed a therapeutic effect on cancer stem cells. These results suggest that paOAd is useful as a safe and therapeutically effective cancer therapy.
Novel culture system via wirelessly controllable optical stimulation of the FGF signaling pathway for human and pig pluripotency.
Stem cell fate is largely determined by cellular signaling networks and is heavily dependent on the supplementation of exogenous recombinant proteins into culture media; however, uneven distribution and inconsistent stability of recombinant proteins are closely associated with the spontaneous differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) and result in significant costs in large-scale manufacturing. Here, we report a novel PSC culture system via wirelessly controllable optical activation of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling pathway without the need for supplementation of recombinant FGF2 protein, a key molecule for maintaining pluripotency of PSCs. Using a fusion protein between the cytoplasmic region of the FGF receptor-1 and a light-oxygen-voltage domain, we achieved tunable, blue light-dependent activation of FGF signaling in human and porcine PSCs. Our data demonstrate that a highly controllable optical stimulation of the FGF signaling pathway is sufficient for long-term maintenance of PSCs, without the loss of differentiation potential into three germ layers. This culture system will be a cost-effective platform for a large-scale stem cell culture.
Optical induction of autophagy via Transcription factor EB (TFEB) reduces pathological tau in neurons.
Pathological accumulation of microtubule associated protein tau in neurons is a major neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies. Several attempts have been made to promote clearance of pathological tau (p-Tau) from neurons. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) has shown to clear p-Tau from neurons via autophagy. However, sustained TFEB activation and autophagy can create burden on cellular bioenergetics and can be deleterious. Here, we modified previously described two-plasmid systems of Light Activated Protein (LAP) from bacterial transcription factor-EL222 and Light Responsive Element (LRE) to encode TFEB. Upon blue-light (465 nm) illumination, the conformation changes in LAP induced LRE-driven expression of TFEB, its nuclear entry, TFEB-mediated expression of autophagy-lysosomal genes and clearance of p-Tau from neuronal cells and AD patient-derived human iPSC-neurons. Turning the blue-light off reversed the expression of TFEB-target genes and attenuated p-Tau clearance. Together, these results suggest that optically regulated TFEB expression unlocks the potential of opto-therapeutics to treat AD and other dementias.
Optogenetic control of Wnt signaling for modeling early embryogenic patterning with human pluripotent stem cells.
The processes of cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and self-organization during early embryonic development are governed by dynamic, spatially and temporally varying morphogen signals. Analogous tissue patterns emerge spontaneously in embryonic stem cell (ESC) models for gastrulation, but mechanistic insight into this self-organization is limited by a lack of molecular methods to precisely control morphogen signal dynamics. Here we combine optogenetic stimulation and single-cell imaging approaches to study self-organization of human pluripotent stem cells. Precise control of morphogen signal dynamics, achieved through activation of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling over a broad high dynamic range (>500-fold) using an optoWnt optogenetic system, drove broad transcriptional changes and mesendoderm differentiation of human ESCs at high efficiency (>95% cells). Furthermore, activating Wnt signaling in subpopulations of ESCs in 2D and 3D cultures induced cell self-organization and morphogenesis reminiscent of human gastrulation, including changes in cell migration and epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Our findings thus reveal an instructive role for Wnt in directing cell patterning in this ESC model for gastrulation.
Chronic optogenetic induction of stress granules is cytotoxic and reveals the evolution of ALS-FTD pathology.
Stress granules (SGs) are non-membrane-bound RNA-protein granules that assemble through phase separation in response to cellular stress. Disturbances in SG dynamics have been implicated as a primary driver of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), suggesting the hypothesis that these diseases reflect an underlying disturbance in the dynamics and material properties of SGs. However, this concept has remained largely untestable in available models of SG assembly, which require the confounding variable of exogenous stressors. Here we introduce a light-inducible SG system, termed OptoGranules, based on optogenetic multimerization of G3BP1, which is an essential scaffold protein for SG assembly. In this system, which permits experimental control of SGs in living cells in the absence of exogenous stressors, we demonstrate that persistent or repetitive assembly of SGs is cytotoxic and is accompanied by the evolution of SGs to cytoplasmic inclusions that recapitulate the pathology of ALS-FTD.
CRISPR-Cas9-based photoactivatable transcription systems to induce neuronal differentiation.
Our improved CRISPR-Cas9-based photoactivatable transcription systems, CPTS2.0 and Split-CPTS2.0, enable high blue-light-inducible activation of endogenous target genes in various human cell lines. We achieved reversible activation of target genes with CPTS2.0 and induced neuronal differentiation in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by upregulating NEUROD1 with Split-CPTS2.0.