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 65 results

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.

Single-component near-infrared optogenetic systems for gene transcription regulation.

red iLight E. coli HeLa mouse in vivo primary mouse hippocampal neurons Transgene expression
Nat Commun, 23 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24212-7 Link to full text
Abstract: Near-infrared (NIR) optogenetic systems for transcription regulation are in high demand because NIR light exhibits low phototoxicity, low scattering, and allows combining with probes of visible range. However, available NIR optogenetic systems consist of several protein components of large size and multidomain structure. Here, we engineer single-component NIR systems consisting of evolved photosensory core module of Idiomarina sp. bacterial phytochrome, named iLight, which are smaller and packable in adeno-associated virus. We characterize iLight in vitro and in gene transcription repression in bacterial and gene transcription activation in mammalian cells. Bacterial iLight system shows 115-fold repression of protein production. Comparing to multi-component NIR systems, mammalian iLight system exhibits higher activation of 65-fold in cells and faster 6-fold activation in deep tissues of mice. Neurons transduced with viral-encoded iLight system exhibit 50-fold induction of fluorescent reporter. NIR light-induced neuronal expression of green-light-activatable CheRiff channelrhodopsin causes 20-fold increase of photocurrent and demonstrates efficient spectral multiplexing.

Temporal induction of Lhx8 by optogenetic control system for efficient bone regeneration.

blue FKF1/GI HeLa mouse in vivo primary rat BMSCs Cell differentiation
Stem Cell Res Ther, 10 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1186/s13287-021-02412-8 Link to full text
Abstract: The spatiotemporal regulation of essential genes is crucial for controlling the growth and differentiation of cells in a precise manner during regeneration. Recently, optogenetics was considered as a potent technology for sophisticated regulation of target genes, which might be a promising tool for regenerative medicine. In this study, we used an optogenetic control system to precisely regulate the expression of Lhx8 to promote efficient bone regeneration.

Exosome-based delivery of super-repressor IκBα ameliorates kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T mouse in vivo Signaling cascade control
Kidney Int, 27 May 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.kint.2021.04.039 Link to full text
Abstract: Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a major cause of acute kidney injury. Recent studies on the pathophysiology of ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury showed that immunologic responses significantly affect kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury and repair. Nuclear factor (NF)-ĸB signaling, which controls cytokine production and cell survival, is significantly involved in ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury, and its inhibition can ameliorate ischemic acute kidney injury. Using EXPLOR, a novel, optogenetically engineered exosome technology, we successfully delivered the exosomal super-repressor inhibitor of NF-ĸB (Exo-srIĸB) into B6 wild type mice before/after kidney ischemia-reperfusion surgery, and compared outcomes with those of a control exosome (Exo-Naïve)-injected group. Exo-srIĸB treatment resulted in lower levels of serum blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in post-ischemic mice than in the Exo-Naïve treatment group. Systemic delivery of Exo-srIĸB decreased NF-ĸB activity in post-ischemic kidneys and reduced apoptosis. Post-ischemic kidneys showed decreased gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules with Exo-srIĸB treatment as compared with the control. Intravital imaging confirmed the uptake of exosomes in neutrophils and macrophages. Exo-srIĸB treatment also significantly affected post-ischemic kidney immune cell populations, lowering neutrophil, monocyte/macrophage, and T cell frequencies than those in the control. Thus, modulation of NF-ĸB signaling through exosomal delivery can be used as a novel therapeutic method for ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury.

Circularly permuted LOV2 as a modular photoswitch for optogenetic engineering.

blue AsLOV2 cpLID cpLOV2 cpLOVTRAP iLID LOVTRAP HEK293T HeLa human T cells in vitro Jurkat mouse in vivo NIH/3T3
Nat Chem Biol, 6 May 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-021-00792-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Plant-based photosensors, such as the light-oxygen-voltage sensing domain 2 (LOV2) from oat phototropin 1, can be modularly wired into cell signaling networks to remotely control protein activity and physiological processes. However, the applicability of LOV2 is hampered by the limited choice of available caging surfaces and its preference to accommodate the effector domains downstream of the C-terminal Jα helix. Here, we engineered a set of LOV2 circular permutants (cpLOV2) with additional caging capabilities, thereby expanding the repertoire of genetically encoded photoswitches to accelerate the design of optogenetic devices. We demonstrate the use of cpLOV2-based optogenetic tools to reversibly gate ion channels, antagonize CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome engineering, control protein subcellular localization, reprogram transcriptional outputs, elicit cell suicide and generate photoactivatable chimeric antigen receptor T cells for inducible tumor cell killing. Our approach is widely applicable for engineering other photoreceptors to meet the growing need of optogenetic tools tailored for biomedical and biotechnological applications.

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 synthetic BRET-based optogenetic device for pulsatile transgene expression enabling glucose homeostasis in mice.

blue CRY2/CIB1 LOVTRAP VVD A549 Cos-7 HEK293 HEK293T HeLa mouse in vivo NCI-H1299 PC-3 U-87 MG Transgene expression
Nat Commun, 27 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-20913-1 Link to full text
Abstract: Pulsing cellular dynamics in genetic circuits have been shown to provide critical capabilities to cells in stress response, signaling and development. Despite the fascinating discoveries made in the past few years, the mechanisms and functional capabilities of most pulsing systems remain unclear, and one of the critical challenges is the lack of a technology that allows pulsatile regulation of transgene expression both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we describe the development of a synthetic BRET-based transgene expression (LuminON) system based on a luminescent transcription factor, termed luminGAVPO, by fusing NanoLuc luciferase to the light-switchable transcription factor GAVPO. luminGAVPO allows pulsatile and quantitative activation of transgene expression via both chemogenetic and optogenetic approaches in mammalian cells and mice. Both the pulse amplitude and duration of transgene expression are highly tunable via adjustment of the amount of furimazine. We further demonstrated LuminON-mediated blood-glucose homeostasis in type 1 diabetic mice. We believe that the BRET-based LuminON system with the pulsatile dynamics of transgene expression provides a highly sensitive tool for precise manipulation in biological systems that has strong potential for application in diverse basic biological studies and gene- and cell-based precision therapies in the future.

Liquid-liquid phase separation of light-inducible transcription factors increases transcription activation in mammalian cells and mice.

blue red CRY2/CIB1 CRY2/CRY2 PhyB/PIF6 HEK293 mouse in vivo U-2 OS Transgene expression
Sci Adv, 1 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd3568 Link to full text
Abstract: Light-inducible gene switches represent a key strategy for the precise manipulation of cellular events in fundamental and applied research. However, the performance of widely used gene switches is limited due to low tissue penetrance and possible phototoxicity of the light stimulus. To overcome these limitations, we engineer optogenetic synthetic transcription factors to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation in close spatial proximity to promoters. Phase separation of constitutive and optogenetic synthetic transcription factors was achieved by incorporation of intrinsically disordered regions. Supported by a quantitative mathematical model, we demonstrate that engineered transcription factor droplets form at target promoters and increase gene expression up to fivefold. This increase in performance was observed in multiple mammalian cells lines as well as in mice following in situ transfection. The results of this work suggest that the introduction of intrinsically disordered domains is a simple yet effective means to boost synthetic transcription factor activity.

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.

Creating Red Light-Switchable Protein Dimerization Systems as Genetically Encoded Actuators with High Specificity.

near-infrared red BphP1/PpsR2 DrBphP HEK293T HeLa mouse in vivo S. cerevisiae
ACS Synth Biol, 12 Nov 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00397 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein dimerization systems controlled by red light with increased tissue penetration depth are a highly needed tool for clinical applications such as cell and gene therapies. However, mammalian applications of existing red light-induced dimerization systems are hampered by limitations of their two components: a photosensory protein (or photoreceptor) which often requires a mammalian exogenous chromophore and a naturally occurring photoreceptor binding protein typically having a complex structure and nonideal binding properties. Here, we introduce an efficient, generalizable method (COMBINES-LID) for creating highly specific, reversible light-induced heterodimerization systems independent of any existing binders to a photoreceptor. It involves a two-step binder screen (phage display and yeast two-hybrid) of a combinatorial nanobody library to obtain binders that selectively engage a light-activated form of a photoswitchable protein or domain not the dark form. Proof-of-principle was provided by engineering nanobody-based, red light-induced dimerization (nanoReD) systems comprising a truncated bacterial phytochrome sensory module using a mammalian endogenous chromophore, biliverdin, and light-form specific nanobodies. Selected nanoReD systems were biochemically characterized, exhibiting low dark activity and high induction specificity, and further demonstrated for the reversible control of protein translocation and activation of gene expression in mice. Overall, COMBINES-LID opens new opportunities for creating genetically encoded actuators for the optical manipulation of biological processes.

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.

Spatiotemporal regulation of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation via upconversion optogenetic nanosystem.

blue VVD HEK293T HeLa MARC145 mouse in vivo
Nano Res, 14 Aug 2020 DOI: 10.1007/s12274-020-2998-z Link to full text
Abstract: Protein degradation technology, which is one of the most direct and effective ways to regulate the life activities of cells, is expected to be applied to the treatment of various diseases. However, current protein degradation technologies such as some small-molecule degraders which are unable to achieve spatiotemporal regulation, making them difficult to transform into clinical applications. In this article, an upconversion optogenetic nanosystem was designed to attain accurate regulation of protein degradation. This system worked via two interconnected parts: 1) the host cell expressed light-sensitive protein that could trigger the ubiquitinproteasome pathway upon blue-light exposure; 2) the light regulated light-sensitive protein by changing light conditions to achieve regulation of protein degradation. Experimental results based on model protein (Green Fluorescent Protein, GFP) validated that this system could fulfill protein degradation both in vitro (both Hela and 293T cells) and in vivo (by upconversion optogenetic nanosystem), and further demonstrated that we could reach spatiotemporal regulation by changing the illumination time (0–25 h) and the illumination frequency (the illuminating frequency of 0–30 s every 1 min). We further took another functional protein (The Nonstructural Protein 9, NSP9) into experiment. Results confirmed that the proliferation of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) was inhibited by degrading the NSP9 in this light-induced system, and PRRSV proliferation was affected by different light conditions (illumination time varies from 0–24 h). We expected this system could provide new perspectives into spatiotemporal regulation of protein degradation and help realize the clinical application transformation for treating diseases of protein degradation technology.

A non-invasive far-red light-induced split-Cre recombinase system for controllable genome engineering in mice.

blue red BphS CRY2/CIB1 HEK293 mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Nat Commun, 24 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17530-9 Link to full text
Abstract: The Cre-loxP recombination system is a powerful tool for genetic manipulation. However, there are widely recognized limitations with chemically inducible Cre-loxP systems, and the UV and blue-light induced systems have phototoxicity and minimal capacity for deep tissue penetration. Here, we develop a far-red light-induced split Cre-loxP system (FISC system) based on a bacteriophytochrome optogenetic system and split-Cre recombinase, enabling optogenetical regulation of genome engineering in vivo solely by utilizing a far-red light (FRL). The FISC system exhibits low background and no detectable photocytotoxicity, while offering efficient FRL-induced DNA recombination. Our in vivo studies showcase the strong organ-penetration capacity of FISC system, markedly outperforming two blue-light-based Cre systems for recombination induction in the liver. Demonstrating its strong clinical relevance, we successfully deploy a FISC system using adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery. Thus, the FISC system expands the optogenetic toolbox for DNA recombination to achieve spatiotemporally controlled, non-invasive genome engineering in living systems.

Photoactivatable oncolytic adenovirus for optogenetic cancer therapy.

blue VVD A549 Hep G2 human IPSCs HUVEC mouse in vivo NCI-H1299
Cell Death Dis, 23 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41419-020-02782-6 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Engineering a far-red light–activated split-Cas9 system for remote-controlled genome editing of internal organs and tumors.

red BphS HEK293 mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Sci Adv, 10 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb1777 Link to full text
Abstract: It is widely understood that CRISPR-Cas9 technology is revolutionary, with well-recognized issues including the potential for off-target edits and the attendant need for spatiotemporal control of editing. Here, we describe a far-red light (FRL)–activated split-Cas9 (FAST) system that can robustly induce gene editing in both mammalian cells and mice. Through light-emitting diode–based FRL illumination, the FAST system can efficiently edit genes, including nonhomologous end joining and homology-directed repair, for multiple loci in human cells. Further, we show that FAST readily achieves FRL-induced editing of internal organs in tdTomato reporter mice. Finally, FAST was demonstrated to achieve FRL-triggered editing of the PLK1 oncogene in a mouse xenograft tumor model. Beyond extending the spectrum of light energies in optogenetic toolbox for CRISPR-Cas9 technologies, this study demonstrates how FAST system can be deployed for programmable deep tissue gene editing in both biological and biomedical contexts toward high precision and spatial specificity.

Photoactivatable Cre recombinase 3.0 for in vivo mouse applications.

blue CRY2/CIB1 FKF1/GI iLID Magnets HEK293T isolated MEFs mouse in vivo mouse neural progenitor cells
Nat Commun, 1 May 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16030-0 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic genome engineering tools enable spatiotemporal control of gene expression and provide new insight into biological function. Here, we report the new version of genetically encoded photoactivatable (PA) Cre recombinase, PA-Cre 3.0. To improve PA-Cre technology, we compare light-dimerization tools and optimize for mammalian expression using a CAG promoter, Magnets, and 2A self-cleaving peptide. To prevent background recombination caused by the high sequence similarity in the dimerization domains, we modify the codons for mouse gene targeting and viral production. Overall, these modifications significantly reduce dark leak activity and improve blue-light induction developing our new version, PA-Cre 3.0. As a resource, we have generated and validated AAV-PA-Cre 3.0 as well as two mouse lines that can conditionally express PA-Cre 3.0. Together these new tools will facilitate further biological and biomedical research.

Optogenetic stimulation of phosphoinositides reveals a critical role of primary cilia in eye pressure regulation.

blue CRY2/CIB1 GM01676 hTERT RPE-1 human retinal pigment epithelium cells mouse in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Sci Adv, 29 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay8699 Link to full text
Abstract: Glaucoma is a group of progressive optic neuropathies that cause irreversible vision loss. Although elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is associated with the development and progression of glaucoma, the mechanisms for its regulation are not well understood. Here, we have designed CIBN/CRY2-based optogenetic constructs to study phosphoinositide regulation within distinct subcellular compartments. We show that stimulation of CRY2-OCRL, an inositol 5-phosphatase, increases aqueous humor outflow and lowers IOP in vivo, which is caused by a calcium-dependent actin rearrangement of the trabecular meshwork cells. Phosphoinositide stimulation also rescues defective aqueous outflow and IOP in a Lowe syndrome mouse model but not in IFT88fl/fl mice that lack functional cilia. Thus, our study is the first to use optogenetics to regulate eye pressure and demonstrate that tight regulation of phosphoinositides is critical for aqueous humor homeostasis in both normal and diseased eyes.

A combination of LightOn gene expression system and tumor microenvironment-responsive nanoparticle delivery system for targeted breast cancer therapy.

blue VVD 4T1 mouse in vivo Transgene expression Cell death
Acta Pharm Sin B, 27 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.04.010 Link to full text
Abstract: A light-switchable transgene system called LightOn gene expression system could regulate gene expression with a high on/off ratio under blue light, and have great potential for spatiotemporally controllable gene expression. We developed a nanoparticle drug delivery system (NDDS) to achieve tumor microenvironment-responsive and targeted delivery of diphtheria toxin A (DTA) fragment-encoded plasmids to tumor sites. The expression of DTA was induced by exposure to blue light. Nanoparticles composed of polyethylenimine and vitamin E succinate linked by a disulfide bond, and PEGylated hyaluronic acid modified with RGD peptide, accumulated in tumor tissues and were actively internalized into 4T1 cells via dual targeting to CD44 and αvβ3 receptors. The LightOn gene expression system was able to control target protein expression through regulation of the intensity or duration of blue light exposure. In vitro studies showed that light-induced DTA expression reduced 4T1 cell viability and induced apoptosis. Furthermore, the LightOn gene expression system enabled spatiotemporal control of the expression of DTA in a mouse 4T1 tumor xenograft model, which resulted in excellent antitumor effects, reduced tumor angiogenesis, and no systemic toxicity. The combination of the LightOn gene expression system and NDDS may be an effective strategy for treatment of breast cancer.

Dynamic Fas signaling network regulates neural stem cell proliferation and memory enhancement.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HeLa mouse in vivo primary rat hippocampal neurons rat astrocytes rat oligodendrocyte Signaling cascade control
Sci Adv, 22 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz9691 Link to full text
Abstract: Activation of Fas (CD95) is observed in various neurological disorders and can lead to both apoptosis and prosurvival outputs, yet how Fas signaling operates dynamically in the hippocampus is poorly understood. The optogenetic dissection of a signaling network can yield molecular-level explanations for cellular responses or fates, including the signaling dysfunctions seen in numerous diseases. Here, we developed an optogenetically activatable Fas that works in a physiologically plausible manner. Fas activation in immature neurons of the dentate gyrus triggered mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation and subsequent brain-derived neurotrophic factor secretion. Phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) in neural stem cells was induced under prolonged Fas activation. Repetitive activation of this signaling network yielded proliferation of neural stem cells and a transient increase in spatial working memory in mice. Our results demonstrate a novel Fas signaling network in the dentate gyrus and illuminate its consequences for adult neurogenesis and memory enhancement.

RecV recombinase system for in vivo targeted optogenomic modifications of single cells or cell populations.

blue VVD HEK293T mouse in vivo zebrafish in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Nat Methods, 23 Mar 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-020-0774-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Brain circuits comprise vast numbers of interconnected neurons with diverse molecular, anatomical and physiological properties. To allow targeting of individual neurons for structural and functional studies, we created light-inducible site-specific DNA recombinases based on Cre, Dre and Flp (RecVs). RecVs can induce genomic modifications by one-photon or two-photon light induction in vivo. They can produce targeted, sparse and strong labeling of individual neurons by modifying multiple loci within mouse and zebrafish genomes. In combination with other genetic strategies, they allow intersectional targeting of different neuronal classes. In the mouse cortex they enable sparse labeling and whole-brain morphological reconstructions of individual neurons. Furthermore, these enzymes allow single-cell two-photon targeted genetic modifications and can be used in combination with functional optical indicators with minimal interference. In summary, RecVs enable spatiotemporally precise optogenomic modifications that can facilitate detailed single-cell analysis of neural circuits by linking genetic identity, morphology, connectivity and function.

Establishment of a tTA-dependent photoactivatable Cre recombinase knock-in mouse model for optogenetic genome engineering.

blue Magnets mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 20 Mar 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.03.015 Link to full text
Abstract: The Cre-loxP recombination system is widely used to generate genetically modified mice for biomedical research. Recently, a highly efficient photoactivatable Cre (PA-Cre) based on reassembly of split Cre fragments has been established. This technology enables efficient DNA recombination that is activated upon blue light illumination with spatiotemporal precision. In this study, we generated a tTA-dependent photoactivatable Cre-loxP recombinase knock-in mouse model (TRE-PA-Cre mice) using a CRISPR/Cas9 system. These mice were crossed with ROSA26-tdTomato mice (Cre reporter mouse) to visualize DNA recombination as marked by tdTomato expression. We demonstrated that external noninvasive LED blue light illumination allows efficient DNA recombination in the liver of TRE-PA-Cre:ROSA26-tdTomato mice transfected with tTA expression vectors using hydrodynamic tail vein injection. The TRE-PA-Cre mouse established here promises to be useful for optogenetic genome engineering in a noninvasive, spatiotemporal, and cell-type specific manner in vivo.

Optogenetic manipulation of calcium signals in single T cells in vivo.

blue CRY2/CRY2 mouse in vivo mouse T cells Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions Immediate control of second messengers
Nat Commun, 2 Mar 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14810-2 Link to full text
Abstract: By offering the possibility to manipulate cellular functions with spatiotemporal control, optogenetics represents an attractive tool for dissecting immune responses. However, applying these approaches to single cells in vivo remains particularly challenging for immune cells that are typically located in scattering tissues. Here, we introduce an improved calcium actuator with sensitivity allowing for two-photon photoactivation. Furthermore, we identify an actuator/reporter combination that permits the simultaneous manipulation and visualization of calcium signals in individual T cells in vivo. With this strategy, we document the consequences of defined patterns of calcium signals on T cell migration, adhesion, and chemokine release. Manipulation of individual immune cells in vivo should open new avenues for establishing the functional contribution of single immune cells engaged in complex reactions.

Engineering light-controllable CAR T cells for cancer immunotherapy.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T human T cells Jurkat mouse in vivo Endogenous gene expression
Sci Adv, 19 Feb 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9209 Link to full text
Abstract: T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) can recognize and engage with target cancer cells with redirected specificity for cancer immunotherapy. However, there is a lack of ideal CARs for solid tumor antigens, which may lead to severe adverse effects. Here, we developed a light-inducible nuclear translocation and dimerization (LINTAD) system for gene regulation to control CAR T activation. We first demonstrated light-controllable gene expression and functional modulation in human embryonic kidney 293T and Jurkat T cell lines. We then improved the LINTAD system to achieve optimal efficiency in primary human T cells. The results showed that pulsed light stimulations can activate LINTAD CAR T cells with strong cytotoxicity against target cancer cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our LINTAD system can serve as an efficient tool to noninvasively control gene activation and activate inducible CAR T cells for precision cancer immunotherapy.

Optogenetic modulation of TrkB signaling in the mouse brain.

blue CRY2/CRY2 mouse in vivo Signaling cascade control
J Mol Biol, 18 Jan 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.01.010 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic activation of receptors has advantages compared with chemical or ligand treatment because of its high spatial and temporal precision. Especially in the brain, the use of a genetically encoded light-tunable receptor is superior to direct infusion or systemic drug treatment. We applied light activatable TrkB receptor in mouse brain with reduced basal activity by incorporating Cry2PHR mutant, Opto-cytTrkB(E281A). Upon AAV mediated gene delivery, this form was expressed at sufficient levels in the mouse hippocampus (HPC) and medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) retaining normal canonical signal transduction by blue light stimulus, even by delivery of non-invasive LED light on the mouse head. Within target cells, where its expression was driven by a cell type-specific promoter, Opto-cytTrkB(E281A)-mediated TrkB signaling could be controlled by adjusting light-stimulation conditions. We further demonstrated that Opto-cytTrkB(E281A) could locally induce TrkB signaling in axon terminals in the MEC-HPC. In summary, Opto-cytTrkB(E281A) will be useful for elucidating time- and region-specific roles of TrkB signaling ranging from cellular function to neural circuit mechanisms.
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