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 31 results

Optogenetic manipulation of YAP cellular localisation and function.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T HFF-1 MKN28 zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 19 Mar 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.19.436118 Link to full text
Abstract: YAP, an effector of the Hippo signalling pathway, promotes organ growth and regeneration. Prolonged YAP activation results in uncontrolled proliferation and cancer. Therefore, exogenous regulation of YAP activity has potential translational applications. We present a versatile optogenetic construct (optoYAP) for manipulating YAP localisation, and consequently its activity and function. We attached a LOV2 domain that photocages a nuclear localisation signal (NLS) to the N-terminus of YAP. In 488 nm light, the LOV2 domain unfolds, exposing the NLS, which shuttles optoYAP into the nucleus. Nuclear import of optoYAP is reversible and tuneable by light intensity. In cell culture, activated optoYAP promotes YAP target gene expression, cell proliferation, and anchorage-independent growth. Similarly, we can utilise optoYAP in zebrafish embryos to modulate target genes. OptoYAP is functional in both cell culture and in vivo, providing a powerful tool to address basic research questions and therapeutic applications in regeneration and disease.

TAEL 2.0: An Improved Optogenetic Expression System for Zebrafish.

blue EL222 zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression
Zebrafish, 8 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.1089/zeb.2020.1951 Link to full text
Abstract: Inducible gene expression systems are valuable tools for studying biological processes. We previously developed an optogenetic gene expression system called TAEL that is optimized for use in zebrafish. When illuminated with blue light, TAEL transcription factors dimerize and activate gene expression downstream of the TAEL-responsive C120 promoter. By using light as the inducing agent, the TAEL/C120 system overcomes limitations of traditional inducible expression systems by enabling fine spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression. In this study, we describe ongoing efforts to improve the TAEL/C120 system. We made modifications to both the TAEL transcriptional activator and the C120 regulatory element, collectively referred to as TAEL 2.0. We demonstrate that TAEL 2.0 consistently induces higher levels of reporter gene expression and at a faster rate, but with comparable background and toxicity as the original TAEL system. With these improvements, we were able to create functional stable transgenic lines to express the TAEL 2.0 transcription factor either ubiquitously or with a tissue-specific promoter. We demonstrate that the ubiquitous line in particular can be used to induce expression at late embryonic and larval stages, addressing a major deficiency of the original TAEL system. This improved optogenetic expression system will be a broadly useful resource for the zebrafish community.

Use of Optogenetic Amyloid-β to Monitor Protein Aggregation in Drosophila melanogaster, Danio rerio and Caenorhabditis elegans.

blue CRY2/CRY2 C. elegans in vivo D. melanogaster in vivo zebrafish in vivo
Bio Protoc, 5 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.21769/bioprotoc.3856 Link to full text
Abstract: Alzheimer's Disease (AD) has long been associated with accumulation of extracellular amyloid plaques (Aβ) originating from the Amyloid Precursor Protein. Plaques have, however, been discovered in healthy individuals and not all AD brains show plaques, suggesting that extracellular Aβ aggregates may play a smaller role than anticipated. One limitation to studying Aβ peptide in vivo during disease progression is the inability to induce aggregation in a controlled manner. We developed an optogenetic method to induce Aβ aggregation and tested its biological influence in three model organisms-D. melanogaster, C. elegans and D. rerio. We generated a fluorescently labeled, optogenetic Aβ peptide that oligomerizes rapidly in vivo in the presence of blue light in all organisms. Here, we detail the procedures for expressing this fusion protein in animal models, investigating the effects on the nervous system using time lapse light-sheet microscopy, and performing metabolic assays to measure changes due to intracellular Aβ aggregation. This method, employing optogenetics to study the pathology of AD, allows spatial and temporal control in vivo that cannot be achieved by any other method at present.

Optogenetic investigation of BMP target gene expression diversity.

blue VfAU1-LOV zebrafish in vivo Endogenous gene expression Developmental processes
Elife, 11 Nov 2020 DOI: 10.7554/elife.58641 Link to full text
Abstract: Signaling molecules activate distinct patterns of gene expression to coordinate embryogenesis, but how spatiotemporal expression diversity is generated is an open question. In zebrafish, a BMP signaling gradient patterns the dorsal-ventral axis. We systematically identified target genes responding to BMP and found that they have diverse spatiotemporal expression patterns. Transcriptional responses to optogenetically delivered high- and low-amplitude BMP signaling pulses indicate that spatiotemporal expression is not fully defined by different BMP signaling activation thresholds. Additionally, we observed negligible correlations between spatiotemporal expression and transcription kinetics for the majority of analyzed genes in response to BMP signaling pulses. In contrast, spatial differences between BMP target genes largely collapsed when FGF and Nodal signaling were inhibited. Our results suggest that, similar to other patterning systems, combinatorial signaling is likely to be a major driver of spatial diversity in BMP-dependent gene expression in zebrafish.

CreLite: An Optogenetically Controlled Cre/loxP System Using Red Light.

red PhyB/PIF6 zebrafish in vivo
Dev Dyn, 3 Aug 2020 DOI: 10.1002/dvdy.232 Link to full text
Abstract: Precise manipulation of gene expression with temporal and spatial control is essential for functional analysis and determining cell lineage relationships in complex biological systems. The Cre-loxP system is commonly used for gene manipulation at desired times and places. However, specificity is dependent on the availability of tissue- or cell-specific regulatory elements used in combination with Cre. Here we present CreLite, an optogenetically-controlled Cre system using red light in developing zebrafish embryos. Cre activity is disabled by splitting Cre and fusing with the Arabidopsis thaliana red light-inducible binding partners, PhyB and PIF6. Upon red light illumination, the PhyB-CreC and PIF6-CreN fusion proteins come together in the presence of the cofactor phycocyanobilin (PCB) to restore Cre activity. Red light exposure of zebrafish embryos harboring a Cre-dependent multi-color fluorescent protein reporter injected with CreLite mRNAs and PCB resulted in Cre activity as measured by the generation of multi-spectral cell labeling in several different tissues. Our data show that CreLite can be used for gene manipulations in whole embryos or small groups of cells at different developmental stages, and suggests CreLite may also be useful for temporal and spatial control of gene expression in cell culture, ex vivo organ culture, and other animal models. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Requirement of Irf6 and Esrp1/2 in frontonasal and palatal epithelium to regulate craniofacial and palate morphogenesis in mouse and zebrafish.

blue EL222 zebrafish in vivo Developmental processes
bioRxiv, 30 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.14.149773 Link to full text
Abstract: Orofacial clefts are among the most common human congenital malformations. Irf6 and Esrp1 are two key genes important for palate development, conserved across vertebrates. In the zebrafish, we found that irf6 regulates the expression of esrp1. Using RNAscope, we detailed overlapping Irf6 and Esrp1/2 gene expression in mouse and zebrafish embryonic oral epithelium and periderm. Genetic disruption of irf6 and esrp1/2 in the zebrafish resulted in cleft of the anterior neurocranium (ANC). In the esrp1/2 zebrafish mutant, cleft of the lip formed and appeared to tether into the ANC cleft. Lineage tracing of the anterior cranial neural crest cells revealed that cleft of the ANC resulted not from migration defect, but from impaired chondrogenesis. Molecular analysis of the aberrant cells interrupting ANC fusion revealed that this cell population espresses sox10 and irf6 and is adjacent to cells expressing epithelial krt4 and mesenchymal col1a1 genes. Detailed morphogenetic analysis of mouse Irf6 mutant revealed mesenchymal defects not observed in the Esrp1/2 mutant. Analysis of breeding compound Irf6;Esrp1;Esrp2 mutant suggests that these genes interact where the triple mutant is not observed. Taken together, these studies highlight the complementary analysis of Irf6 and Esrp1/2 in mouse and zebrafish models and captured an unique aberrant embryonic cell population that contributes to cleft pathogenesis. Future work characterizing this unqiue sox10+, irf6+ cell population will yield additional insight into cleft pathogenesis.

Long-Range Optogenetic Control of Axon Guidance Overcomes Developmental Boundaries and Defects.

blue AsLOV2 zebrafish in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Dev Cell, 8 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2020.05.009 Link to full text
Abstract: Axons connect neurons together, establishing the wiring architecture of neuronal networks. Axonal connectivity is largely built during embryonic development through highly constrained processes of axon guidance, which have been extensively studied. However, the inability to control axon guidance, and thus neuronal network architecture, has limited investigation of how axonal connections influence subsequent development and function of neuronal networks. Here, we use zebrafish motor neurons expressing a photoactivatable Rac1 to co-opt endogenous growth cone guidance machinery to precisely and non-invasively direct axon growth using light. Axons can be guided over large distances, within complex environments of living organisms, overriding competing endogenous signals and redirecting axons across potent repulsive barriers to construct novel circuitry. Notably, genetic axon guidance defects can be rescued, restoring functional connectivity. These data demonstrate that intrinsic growth cone guidance machinery can be co-opted to non-invasively build new connectivity, allowing investigation of neural network dynamics in intact living organisms.

Application of optogenetic Amyloid-β distinguishes between metabolic and physical damage in neurodegeneration.

blue CRY2/CRY2 C. elegans in vivo D. melanogaster in vivo HEK293T zebrafish in vivo Developmental processes
Elife, 31 Mar 2020 DOI: 10.7554/elife.52589 Link to full text
Abstract: The brains of Alzheimer's Disease patients show a decrease in brain mass and a preponderance of extracellular Amyloid-β plaques. These plaques are formed by aggregation of polypeptides that are derived from the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). Amyloid-β plaques are thought to play either a direct or an indirect role in disease progression, however the exact role of aggregation and plaque formation in the aetiology of Alzheimer's Disease is subject to debate as the biological effects of soluble and aggregated Amyloid-β peptides are difficult to separate in vivo. To investigate the consequences of formation of Amyloid-β oligomers in living tissues, we developed a fluorescently tagged, optogenetic Amyloid-β peptide that oligomerizes rapidly in the presence of blue light. We applied this system to the crucial question of how intracellular Amyloid-β oligomers underlie the pathologies of Alzheimer's Disease. We use Drosophila, C. elegans and D. rerio to show that, although both expression and induced oligomerization of Amyloid-β were detrimental to lifespan and healthspan, we were able to separate the metabolic and physical damage caused by light-induced Amyloid-β oligomerization from Amyloid-β expression alone. The physical damage caused by Amyloid-β oligomers also recapitulated the catastrophic tissue loss that is a hallmark of late AD. We show that the lifespan deficit induced by Amyloid-β oligomers was reduced with Li+ treatment. Our results present the first model to separate different aspects of disease progression.

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.

Cytokinetic bridge triggers de novo lumen formation in vivo.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa zebrafish in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Developmental processes
Nat Commun, 9 Mar 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15002-8 Link to full text
Abstract: Multicellular rosettes are transient epithelial structures that serve as intermediates during diverse organ formation. We have identified a unique contributor to rosette formation in zebrafish Kupffer's vesicle (KV) that requires cell division, specifically the final stage of mitosis termed abscission. KV utilizes a rosette as a prerequisite before forming a lumen surrounded by ciliated epithelial cells. Our studies identify that KV-destined cells remain interconnected by cytokinetic bridges that position at the rosette's center. These bridges act as a landmark for directed Rab11 vesicle motility to deliver an essential cargo for lumen formation, CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator). Here we report that premature bridge cleavage through laser ablation or inhibiting abscission using optogenetic clustering of Rab11 result in disrupted lumen formation. We present a model in which KV mitotic cells strategically place their cytokinetic bridges at the rosette center, where Rab11-associated vesicles transport CFTR to aid in lumen establishment.

Optogenetic modulation of TDP-43 oligomerization accelerates ALS-related pathologies in the spinal motor neurons.

blue CRY2olig zebrafish in vivo
Nat Commun, 21 Feb 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14815-x Link to full text
Abstract: Cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43 characterizes degenerating neurons in most cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we develop an optogenetic TDP-43 variant (opTDP-43), whose multimerization status can be modulated in vivo through external light illumination. Using the translucent zebrafish neuromuscular system, we demonstrate that short-term light stimulation reversibly induces cytoplasmic opTDP-43 mislocalization, but not aggregation, in the spinal motor neuron, leading to an axon outgrowth defect associated with myofiber denervation. In contrast, opTDP-43 forms pathological aggregates in the cytoplasm after longer-term illumination and seeds non-optogenetic TDP-43 aggregation. Furthermore, we find that an ALS-linked mutation in the intrinsically disordered region (IDR) exacerbates the light-dependent opTDP-43 toxicity on locomotor behavior. Together, our results propose that IDR-mediated TDP-43 oligomerization triggers both acute and long-term pathologies of motor neurons, which may be relevant to the pathogenesis and progression of ALS.

Optimizing photoswitchable MEK.

blue cyan iLID pdDronpa1 D. melanogaster in vivo zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 3 Dec 2019 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1912320116 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic approaches are transforming quantitative studies of cell-signaling systems. A recently developed photoswitchable mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK1) enzyme (psMEK) short-circuits the highly conserved Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase (ERK)-signaling cascade at the most proximal step of effector kinase activation. However, since this optogenetic tool relies on phosphorylation-mimicking substitutions in the activation loop of MEK, its catalytic activity is predicted to be substantially lower than that of wild-type MEK that has been phosphorylated at these residues. Here, we present evidence that psMEK indeed has suboptimal functionality in vivo and propose a strategy to circumvent this limitation by harnessing gain-of-function, destabilizing mutations in MEK. Specifically, we demonstrate that combining phosphomimetic mutations with additional mutations in MEK, chosen for their activating potential, restores maximal kinase activity in vitro. We establish that this modification can be tuned by the choice of the destabilizing mutation and does not interfere with reversible activation of psMEK in vivo in both Drosophila and zebrafish. To illustrate the types of perturbations enabled by optimized psMEK, we use it to deliver pulses of ERK activation during zebrafish embryogenesis, revealing rheostat-like responses of an ERK-dependent morphogenetic event.

Targeted cell ablation in zebrafish using optogenetic transcriptional control.

blue VVD zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression Cell death
bioRxiv, 10 Aug 2019 DOI: 10.1101/730507 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell ablation is a powerful method forelucidatingthe contributions of individual cell populations toembryonicdevelopment and tissue regeneration. Targeted cell lossin whole organisms has been typically achieved through expression of a cytotoxic or prodrug-activating gene productin the cell type of interest. This approach depends on the availability of tissue-specific promoters, and it does not allow further spatial selectivity within the promoter-defined region(s). To address this limitation, we have developedablative methodsthat combine genetically encoded toxins, thetissue specificity afforded by cis-regulatory elements,and the conditionalityof optogenetics.Using this integrative approach, we have ablated cellsin zebrafish embryoswith spatial and temporal precision.

Reversible induction of mitophagy by an optogenetic bimodular system.

blue iLID ETNA HEK293T HeLa human T cells zebrafish in vivo Organelle manipulation
Nat Commun, 4 Apr 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09487-1 Link to full text
Abstract: Autophagy-mediated degradation of mitochondria (mitophagy) is a key process in cellular quality control. Although mitophagy impairment is involved in several patho-physiological conditions, valuable methods to induce mitophagy with low toxicity in vivo are still lacking. Herein, we describe a new optogenetic tool to stimulate mitophagy, based on light-dependent recruitment of pro-autophagy protein AMBRA1 to mitochondrial surface. Upon illumination, AMBRA1-RFP-sspB is efficiently relocated from the cytosol to mitochondria, where it reversibly mediates mito-aggresome formation and reduction of mitochondrial mass. Finally, as a proof of concept of the biomedical relevance of this method, we induced mitophagy in an in vitro model of neurotoxicity, fully preventing cell death, as well as in human T lymphocytes and in zebrafish in vivo. Given the unique features of this tool, we think it may turn out to be very useful for a wide range of both therapeutic and research applications.

Optogenetic Control of Subcellular Protein Location and Signaling in Vertebrate Embryos.

red PhyB/PIF6 zebrafish in vivo
Methods Mol Biol, 9 Feb 2019 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9009-2_10 Link to full text
Abstract: This chapter describes the use of optogenetic heterodimerization in single cells within whole-vertebrate embryos. This method allows the use of light to reversibly bind together an "anchor" protein and a "bait" protein. Proteins can therefore be directed to specific subcellular compartments, altering biological processes such as cell polarity and signaling. I detail methods for achieving transient expression of fusion proteins encoding the phytochrome heterodimerization system in early zebrafish embryos (Buckley et al., Dev Cell 36(1):117-126, 2016) and describe the imaging parameters used to achieve subcellular light patterning.

Potassium channel-based optogenetic silencing.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HEK293 mouse hippocampal slices mouse in vivo ND7/23 primary mouse hippocampal neurons rabbit cardiomyocytes zebrafish in vivo Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
Nat Commun, 5 Nov 2018 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07038-8 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics enables manipulation of biological processes with light at high spatio-temporal resolution to control the behavior of cells, networks, or even whole animals. In contrast to the performance of excitatory rhodopsins, the effectiveness of inhibitory optogenetic tools is still insufficient. Here we report a two-component optical silencer system comprising photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) and the small cyclic nucleotide-gated potassium channel SthK. Activation of this 'PAC-K' silencer by brief pulses of low-intensity blue light causes robust and reversible silencing of cardiomyocyte excitation and neuronal firing. In vivo expression of PAC-K in mouse and zebrafish neurons is well tolerated, where blue light inhibits neuronal activity and blocks motor responses. In combination with red-light absorbing channelrhodopsins, the distinct action spectra of PACs allow independent bimodal control of neuronal activity. PAC-K represents a reliable optogenetic silencer with intrinsic amplification for sustained potassium-mediated hyperpolarization, conferring high operational light sensitivity to the cells of interest.

A light-gated potassium channel for sustained neuronal inhibition.

blue AsLOV2 Cos-7 HEK293T rat hippocampal neurons rat in vivo zebrafish in vivo Neuronal activity control
Nat Methods, 30 Oct 2018 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-018-0186-9 Link to full text
Abstract: Currently available inhibitory optogenetic tools provide short and transient silencing of neurons, but they cannot provide long-lasting inhibition because of the requirement for high light intensities. Here we present an optimized blue-light-sensitive synthetic potassium channel, BLINK2, which showed good expression in neurons in three species. The channel is activated by illumination with low doses of blue light, and in our experiments it remained active over (tens of) minutes in the dark after the illumination was stopped. This activation caused long periods of inhibition of neuronal firing in ex vivo recordings of mouse neurons and impaired motor neuron response in zebrafish in vivo. As a proof-of-concept application, we demonstrated that in a freely moving rat model of neuropathic pain, the activation of a small number of BLINK2 channels caused a long-lasting (>30 min) reduction in pain sensation.

Bidirectional approaches for optogenetic regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells using Arabidopsis cryptochrome 2.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T zebrafish in vivo
Nucleic Acids Res, 20 Apr 2017 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx260 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic tools allow regulation of cellular processes with light, which can be delivered with spatiotemporal resolution. In previous work, we used cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) and CIB1, Arabidopsis proteins that interact upon light illumination, to regulate transcription with light in yeast. While adopting this approach to regulate transcription in mammalian cells, we observed light-dependent redistribution and clearing of CRY2-tethered proteins within the nucleus. The nuclear clearing phenotype was dependent on the presence of a dimerization domain contained within the CRY2-fused transcriptional activators. We used this knowledge to develop two different approaches to regulate cellular protein levels with light: a system using CRY2 and CIB1 to induce protein expression with light through stimulation of transcription, and a system using CRY2 and a LOV-fused degron to simultaneously block transcription and deplete protein levels with light. These tools will allow precise, bi-directional control of gene expression in a variety of cells and model systems.

Green-Light-Induced Inactivation of Receptor Signaling Using Cobalamin-Binding Domains.

green MxCBD TtCBD HEK293 zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control Developmental processes
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 20 Mar 2017 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201611998 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics and photopharmacology provide spatiotemporally precise control over protein interactions and protein function in cells and animals. Optogenetic methods that are sensitive to green light and can be used to break protein complexes are not broadly available but would enable multichromatic experiments with previously inaccessible biological targets. Herein, we repurposed cobalamin (vitamin B12) binding domains of bacterial CarH transcription factors for green-light-induced receptor dissociation. In cultured cells, we observed oligomerization-induced cell signaling for the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 fused to cobalamin-binding domains in the dark that was rapidly eliminated upon illumination. In zebrafish embryos expressing fusion receptors, green light endowed control over aberrant fibroblast growth factor signaling during development. Green-light-induced domain dissociation and light-inactivated receptors will critically expand the optogenetic toolbox for control of biological processes.

TAEL: a zebrafish-optimized optogenetic gene expression system with fine spatial and temporal control.

blue EL222 zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression Developmental processes
Development, 19 Dec 2016 DOI: 10.1242/dev.139238 Link to full text
Abstract: Here, we describe an optogenetic gene expression system optimized for use in zebrafish. This system overcomes the limitations of current inducible expression systems by enabling robust spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression in living organisms. Because existing optogenetic systems show toxicity in zebrafish, we re-engineered the blue-light-activated EL222 system for minimal toxicity while exhibiting a large range of induction, fine spatial precision and rapid kinetics. We validate several strategies to spatially restrict illumination and thus gene induction with our new TAEL (TA4-EL222) system. As a functional example, we show that TAEL is able to induce ectopic endodermal cells in the presumptive ectoderm via targeted sox32 induction. We also demonstrate that TAEL can be used to resolve multiple roles of Nodal signaling at different stages of embryonic development. Finally, we show how inducible gene editing can be achieved by combining the TAEL and CRISPR/Cas9 systems. This toolkit should be a broadly useful resource for the fish community.

Optogenetic Control of Nodal Signaling Reveals a Temporal Pattern of Nodal Signaling Regulating Cell Fate Specification during Gastrulation.

blue VfAU1-LOV zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control Developmental processes
Cell Rep, 7 Jul 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.036 Link to full text
Abstract: During metazoan development, the temporal pattern of morphogen signaling is critical for organizing cell fates in space and time. Yet, tools for temporally controlling morphogen signaling within the embryo are still scarce. Here, we developed a photoactivatable Nodal receptor to determine how the temporal pattern of Nodal signaling affects cell fate specification during zebrafish gastrulation. By using this receptor to manipulate the duration of Nodal signaling in vivo by light, we show that extended Nodal signaling within the organizer promotes prechordal plate specification and suppresses endoderm differentiation. Endoderm differentiation is suppressed by extended Nodal signaling inducing expression of the transcriptional repressor goosecoid (gsc) in prechordal plate progenitors, which in turn restrains Nodal signaling from upregulating the endoderm differentiation gene sox17 within these cells. Thus, optogenetic manipulation of Nodal signaling identifies a critical role of Nodal signaling duration for organizer cell fate specification during gastrulation.

Reversible Optogenetic Control of Subcellular Protein Localization in a Live Vertebrate Embryo.

red PhyB/PIF6 zebrafish in vivo
Dev Cell, 11 Jan 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.12.011 Link to full text
Abstract: We demonstrate the utility of the phytochrome system to rapidly and reversibly recruit proteins to specific subcellular regions within specific cells in a living vertebrate embryo. Light-induced heterodimerization using the phytochrome system has previously been used as a powerful tool to dissect signaling pathways for single cells in culture but has not previously been used to reversibly manipulate the precise subcellular location of proteins in multicellular organisms. Here we report the experimental conditions necessary to use this system to manipulate proteins in vivo. As proof of principle, we demonstrate that we can manipulate the localization of the apical polarity protein Pard3 with high temporal and spatial precision in both the neural tube and the embryo's enveloping layer epithelium. Our optimizations of optogenetic component expression and chromophore purification and delivery should significantly lower the barrier for establishing this powerful optogenetic system in other multicellular organisms.

Optogenetic control of endogenous Ca(2+) channels in vivo.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CRY2 Cos-7 HEK293 HeLa hESCs HUVEC mouse astrocytes mouse hippocampal slices mouse in vivo NIH/3T3 primary mouse hippocampal neurons zebrafish in vivo Immediate control of second messengers
Nat Biotechnol, 14 Sep 2015 DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3350 Link to full text
Abstract: Calcium (Ca(2+)) signals that are precisely modulated in space and time mediate a myriad of cellular processes, including contraction, excitation, growth, differentiation and apoptosis. However, study of Ca(2+) responses has been hampered by technological limitations of existing Ca(2+)-modulating tools. Here we present OptoSTIM1, an optogenetic tool for manipulating intracellular Ca(2+) levels through activation of Ca(2+)-selective endogenous Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels. Using OptoSTIM1, which combines a plant photoreceptor and the CRAC channel regulator STIM1 (ref. 4), we quantitatively and qualitatively controlled intracellular Ca(2+) levels in various biological systems, including zebrafish embryos and human embryonic stem cells. We demonstrate that activating OptoSTIM1 in the CA1 hippocampal region of mice selectively reinforced contextual memory formation. The broad utility of OptoSTIM1 will expand our mechanistic understanding of numerous Ca(2+)-associated processes and facilitate screening for drug candidates that antagonize Ca(2+) signals.

Optogenetics. Engineering of a light-gated potassium channel.

blue AsLOV2 HEK293T S. cerevisiae Xenopus oocytes zebrafish in vivo Neuronal activity control
Science, 7 May 2015 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2787 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Red Light-Regulated Reversible Nuclear Localization of Proteins in Mammalian Cells and Zebrafish.

red PhyB/PIF3 CHO-K1 Cos-7 HEK293T HeLa NIH/3T3 zebrafish in vivo
ACS Synth Biol, 30 Mar 2015 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.5b00004 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein trafficking in and out of the nucleus represents a key step in controlling cell fate and function. Here we report the development of a red light-inducible and far-red light-reversible synthetic system for controlling nuclear localization of proteins in mammalian cells and zebrafish. First, we synthetically reconstructed and validated the red light-dependent Arabidopsis phytochrome B nuclear import mediated by phytochrome-interacting factor 3 in a nonplant environment and support current hypotheses on the import mechanism in planta. On the basis of this principle we next regulated nuclear import and activity of target proteins by the spatiotemporal projection of light patterns. A synthetic transcription factor was translocated into the nucleus of mammalian cells and zebrafish to drive transgene expression. These data demonstrate the first in vivo application of a plant phytochrome-based optogenetic tool in vertebrates and expand the repertoire of available light-regulated molecular devices.
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