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 27 results

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.

C-terminal sequence stability profiling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae reveals protective protein quality control pathways.

blue iLID S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
J Biol Chem, 16 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2023.105166 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein quality control (PQC) mechanisms are essential for degradation of misfolded or dysfunctional proteins. An essential part of protein homeostasis is recognition of defective proteins by PQC components and their elimination by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, often concentrating on protein termini as indicators of protein integrity. Changes in amino acid composition of C-terminal ends arise through protein disintegration, alternative splicing or during the translation step of protein synthesis from premature termination or translational stop-codon read-through. We characterized reporter protein stability using light-controlled exposure of random C-terminal peptides (CtPC) in budding yeast revealing stabilizing and destabilizing features of amino acids at positions -5 to -1 of the C-terminus. The (de)stabilization properties of CtPC-degrons depend on amino acid identity, position as well as composition of the C-terminal sequence and are transferable. Evolutionary pressure towards stable proteins in yeast is evidenced by amino acid residues under-represented in cytosolic and nuclear proteins at corresponding C-terminal positions, but over-represented in unstable CtPC-degrons, and vice versa. Furthermore, analysis of translational stop-codon read-through peptides suggested that such extended proteins have destabilizing C-termini. PQC pathways targeting CtPC-degrons involved the ubiquitin-protein ligase Doa10 and the cullin-RING E3 ligase (CRL) SCFDas1. Overall, our data suggest a proteome protection mechanism that targets proteins with unnatural C-termini by recognizing a surprisingly large number of C-terminal sequence variants.

An engineered N-acyltransferase-LOV2 domain fusion protein enables light-inducible allosteric control of enzymatic activity.

blue AsLOV2 in vitro
J Biol Chem, 24 Feb 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2023.103069 Link to full text
Abstract: Transferases are ubiquitous across all known life. While much work has been done to understand and describe these essential enzymes, there have been minimal efforts to exert tight and reversible control over their activity for various biotechnological applications. Here, we apply a rational, computation-guided methodology to design and test a transferase-class enzyme allosterically regulated by Light-oxygen-voltage-sensing domain (LOV2). We utilize computational techniques to determine the intrinsic allosteric networks within N-acyltransferase (Orf11/*Dbv8) and identify potential allosteric sites on the protein's surface. We insert LOV2 at the predicted allosteric site, exerting reversible control over enzymatic activity. We demonstrate blue-light regulation of N-acyltransferase (Orf11/*Dbv8) function. Our study for the first time demonstrates optogenetic regulation of a transferase-class enzyme as a proof-of-concept for controllable transferase design. This successful design opens the door for many future applications in metabolic engineering and cellular programming.

CRY-BARs: Versatile light-gated molecular tools for the remodeling of membrane architectures.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293T primary mouse cortical neurons Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Transgene expression
J Biol Chem, 17 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102388 Link to full text
Abstract: BAR (Bin, Amphiphysin and Rvs) protein domains are responsible for the generation of membrane curvature and represent a critical mechanical component of cellular functions. Thus, BAR domains have great potential as components of membrane-remodeling tools for cell biologists. In this work, we describe the design and implementation of a family of versatile light-gated I-BAR (inverse-BAR) domain containing tools derived from the fusion of the A. thaliana Cryptochrome 2 photoreceptor and I-BAR protein domains ('CRY-BARs') with applications in the remodeling of membrane architectures and the control of cellular dynamics. By taking advantage of the intrinsic membrane binding propensity of the I-BAR domain, CRY-BARs can be used for spatial and temporal control of cellular processes that require induction of membrane protrusions. Using cell lines and primary neuron cultures, we demonstrate here that the CRY-BAR optogenetic tool evokes membrane dynamics changes associated with cellular activity. Moreover, we provide evidence that ezrin, an actin and PIP2 binding protein, acts as a relay between the plasma membrane and the actin cytoskeleton and therefore is an important mediator of switch function. Overall, we propose that CRY-BARs hold promise as a useful addition to the optogenetic toolkit to study membrane remodeling in live cells.

An optogenetic tool to recruit individual PKC isozymes to the cell surface and promote specific phosphorylation of membrane proteins.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 31 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101893 Link to full text
Abstract: The Protein kinase C family consists of several closely related kinases. These enzymes regulate the function of proteins through the phosphorylation of hydroxyl groups on serines and/or threonines. The selective activation of individual PKC isozymes has proven challenging due to a lack of specific activator molecules. Here we developed an optogenetic, blue-light activated PKC isozyme that harnesses a plant-based dimerization system between the photosensitive cryptochrome-2 (CRY2) and the N-terminus of the transcription factor CIB1 (CIBN). We show that tagging CRY2 with the catalytic domain of PKC isozymes can efficiently promote its translocation to the cell surface upon blue light exposure. We demonstrate this system using PKCε and show that this leads to robust activation of a K+ channel (GIRK1/4) previously shown to be activated by PKCε. We anticipate that this approach can be utilized for other PKC isoforms to provide a reliable and direct stimulus for targeted membrane protein phosphorylation by the relevant PKCs.

Endosomal cAMP production broadly impacts the cellular phosphoproteome.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HEK293 Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 21 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100907 Link to full text
Abstract: Endosomal signaling downstream of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) has emerged as a novel paradigm with important pharmacological and physiological implications. However, our knowledge of the functional consequences of intracellular signaling is incomplete. To begin to address this gap, we combined an optogenetic approach for site-specific generation of the prototypical second messenger generated by active GPCRs, cyclic AMP (cAMP), with unbiased mass spectrometry-based analysis of the phosphoproteome. We identified 218 unique, high-confidence sites whose phosphorylation is either increased or decreased in response to cAMP elevation. We next determined that the same amount of cAMP produced from the endosomal membrane led to more robust changes in phosphorylation than the plasma membrane. Remarkably, this was true for the entire repertoire of 218 identified targets, and irrespective of their annotated sub-cellular localizations (endosome, cell surface, nucleus, cytosol). Furthermore, we identified a particularly strong endosome bias for a subset of proteins that are dephosphorylated in response to cAMP. Through bioinformatics analysis, we established these targets as putative substrates for protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), and we propose compartmentalized activation of PP2A by cAMP-responsive kinases as the likely underlying mechanism. Altogether, our study extends the concept that endosomal signaling is a significant functional contributor to cellular responsiveness to cAMP by establishing a unique role for localized cAMP production in defining categorically distinct phosphoresponses.

Optogenetic-induced multimerization of the dopamine transporter increases uptake and trafficking to the plasma membrane.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293 SH-SY5Y Control of vesicular transport
J Biol Chem, 17 May 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100787 Link to full text
Abstract: The dopamine transporter (DAT) is essential for the reuptake of the released neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) in the brain. Psychostimulants, methamphetamine (METH) and cocaine (COC), have been reported to induce the formation of DAT multimeric complexes in vivo and in vitro. The interpretation of DAT multimer function has been primarily in the context of compounds that induce structural and functional modifications of DAT, complicating the understanding of the significance of DAT multimers. To examine multimerization in the absence of DAT ligands as well as in their presence, we developed a novel, optogenetic fusion chimera of cryptochrome 2 and DAT with a mCherry fluorescent reporter (Cry2-DAT). Using blue light to induce Cry2-DAT multimeric protein complex formation, we were able to simultaneously test the functional contributions of DAT multimerization in the absence or presence of substrates or inhibitors with high spatiotemporal precision. We found that blue light-stimulated Cry2-DAT multimers significantly increased IDT307 uptake and MFZ 9-18 binding in the absence of ligands as well as after METH and nomifensine (NOM) treatment. Blue light induced Cry2-DAT multimerization increased colocalization with recycling endosomal marker Rab11 and had decreased presence in Rab5-positive early endosomes and Rab7-positive late endosomes. Our data suggest that the increased uptake and binding results from induced and rapid trafficking of DAT multimers to the plasma membrane. Our data suggest that DAT multimers may function to help maintain DA homeostasis.

PIP2 regulation of TRPC5 channel activation and desensitization.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293T Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 29 Apr 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100726 Link to full text
Abstract: Transient receptor potential canonical type 5 (TRPC5) ion channels are expressed in the brain and kidney, and have been identified as promising therapeutic targets whose selective inhibition can protect against diseases driven by a leaky kidney filter, such as Focal Segmental Glomerular Sclerosis (FSGS). TRPC5 channels are activated by elevated levels of extracellular Ca2+or lanthanide ions, but also by G protein (Gq/11) stimulation. Phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PIP2) hydrolysis by phospholipase C (PLC) enzymes leads to protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated phosphorylation of TRPC5 channels and their subsequent desensitization. However, the roles of PIP2 in activation and maintenance of TRPC5 channel activity via its hydrolysis product diacyl glycerol (DAG), as well as the mechanism of desensitization of TRPC5 activity by DAG-stimulated PKC activity remain unclear. Here, we designed experiments to distinguish between the processes underlying channel activation and inhibition. Using whole-cell patch clamp, we employed an optogenetic tool to dephosphorylate PIP2 and assess channel-PIP2 interactions influenced by activators, such as DAG, or inhibitors, such as PKC phosphorylation. Using total internal reflection microscopy, we assessed channel cell surface density. We show that PIP2 controls both the PKC-mediated inhibition as well as the DAG- and lanthanide-mediated activation of TRPC5 currents via control of gating rather than channel cell surface density. These mechanistic insights promise to aid in the development of more selective and precise inhibitors to block TRPC5 channel activity, and to illuminate new opportunities for targeted therapies for a group of chronic kidney diseases for which there is currently a great unmet need.

Optogenetic-based Localization of Talin to the Plasma Membrane Promotes Activation of β3 Integrins.

blue CRY2/CIB1 CHO murine lung endothelial cells
J Biol Chem, 15 Apr 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100675 Link to full text
Abstract: Interaction of talin with the cytoplasmic tails of integrin β triggers integrin activation, leading to an increase of integrin affinity/avidity for extracellular ligands. In talin knockout mice, loss of talin interaction with platelet integrin αIIbβ3 causes a severe hemostatic defect, and loss of talin interaction with endothelial cell integrin αVβ3 affects angiogenesis. In normal cells, talin is auto-inhibited and localized in the cytoplasm. Here we employed an optogenetic platform to assess whether recruitment of full-length talin to the plasma membrane was sufficient to induce integrin activation. A dimerization module (CRY2 fused to the N-terminus of talin; CIBN-CAAX) responsive to 450 nm (blue) light was inserted into CHO cells and endothelial cells also expressing αIIbβ3 or αVβ3, respectively. Thus, exposure of the cells to blue light caused a rapid and reversible recruitment of CRY2-talin to the CIBN-CAAX-decorated plasma membrane. This resulted in β3 integrin activation in both cell types, as well as increasing migration of the endothelial cells. However, membrane recruitment of talin was not sufficient for integrin activation, as membrane-associated Rap1-GTP was also required. Moreover, talin mutations that interfered with its direct binding to Rap1 abrogated β3 integrin activation. Altogether, these results define a role for the plasma membrane recruitment of talin in β3 integrin activation, and they suggest a nuanced sequence of events thereafter involving Rap1-GTP.

Lighting the way: Recent insights into the structure and regulation of phototropin blue light receptors.

blue LOV domains Review
J Biol Chem, 26 Mar 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100594 Link to full text
Abstract: The phototropins (phots) are light-activated kinases that are critical for plant physiology and the many diverse optogenetic tools that they have inspired. Phototropins combine two blue light sensing Light-Oxygen-Voltage (LOV) domains (LOV1 and LOV2) and a C-terminal serine/threonine kinase domain, using the LOV domains to control the catalytic activity of the kinase. While much is known about the structure and photochemistry of the light-perceiving LOV domains, particularly in how activation of the LOV2 domain triggers the unfolding of alpha helices that communicate the light signal to the kinase domain, many questions about phot structure and mechanism remain. Recent studies have made progress addressing these questions by utilizing small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and other biophysical approaches to study multidomain phots from Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis, leading to models where the domains have an extended linear arrangement, with the activating LOV2 domain contacting the kinase domain N-lobe. We discuss this and other advances which have improved structural and mechanistic understanding of phot regulation in this review, along with the challenges that will have to be overcome to obtain high-resolution structural information on these exciting photoreceptors. Such information will be essential to advancing fundamental understanding of plant physiology while enabling engineering efforts at both the whole plant and molecular levels.

Strategies for site-specific recombination with high efficiency and precise spatiotemporal resolution.

blue near-infrared red UV Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
J Biol Chem, 4 Mar 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100509 Link to full text
Abstract: Site-specific recombinases (SSRs) are invaluable genome engineering tools that have enormously boosted our understanding of gene functions and cell lineage relationships in developmental biology, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and multiple diseases. However, the ever-increasing complexity of biomedical research requires the development of novel site-specific genetic recombination technologies that can manipulate genomic DNA with high efficiency and fine spatiotemporal control. Here, we review the latest innovative strategies of the commonly used Cre-loxP recombination system and its combinatorial strategies with other SSR systems. We also highlight recent progress with a focus on the new generation of chemical- and light-inducible genetic systems and discuss the merits and limitations of each new and established system. Finally, we provide the future perspectives of combining various recombination systems or improving well-established site-specific genetic tools to achieve more efficient and precise spatiotemporal genetic manipulation.

Optogenetic control of small GTPases reveals RhoA mediates intracellular calcium signaling.

blue CRY2/CIB1 iLID HEK293T HeLa hTERT RPE-1 MDCK Signaling cascade control
J Biol Chem, 13 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100290 Link to full text
Abstract: Rho/Ras family small GTPases are known to regulate numerous cellular processes, including cytoskeletal reorganization, cell proliferation, and cell differentiation. These processes are also controlled by Ca2+, and consequently, crosstalk between these signals is considered likely. However, systematic quantitative evaluation has not yet been reported. To fill this gap, we constructed optogenetic tools to control the activity of small GTPases (RhoA, Rac1, Cdc42, Ras, Rap, and Ral) using an improved light-inducible dimer system (iLID). We characterized these optogenetic tools with genetically encoded red fluorescence intensity-based small GTPase biosensors and confirmed these optogenetic tools' specificities. Using these optogenetic tools, we investigated calcium mobilization immediately after small GTPase activation. Unexpectedly, we found that a transient intracellular calcium elevation was specifically induced by RhoA activation in RPE1 and HeLa cells. RhoA activation also induced transient intracellular calcium elevation in MDCK and HEK293T cells, suggesting that generally RhoA induces calcium signaling. Interestingly, the molecular mechanisms linking RhoA activation to calcium increases were shown to be different among the different cell types: In RPE1 and HeLa cells, RhoA activated phospholipase C epsilon (PLCε) at the plasma membrane, which in turn induced Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The RhoA-PLCε axis induced calcium-dependent NFAT nuclear translocation, suggesting it does activate intracellular calcium signaling. Conversely, in MDCK and HEK293T cells, RhoA-ROCK-myosin II axis induced the calcium transients. These data suggest universal coordination of RhoA and calcium signaling in cellular processes, such as cellular contraction and gene expression.

CofActor: A light- and stress-gated optogenetic clustering tool to study disease-associated cytoskeletal dynamics in living cells.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
J Biol Chem, 18 May 2020 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra119.012427 Link to full text
Abstract: The hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases, including neural fibrils, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and cofilin-actin rods, present numerous challenges in the development of in vivo diagnostic tools. Biomarkers such as amyloid β (Aβ) fibrils and Tau tangles in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are accessible only via invasive cerebrospinal fluid assays, and ROS can be fleeting and challenging to monitor in vivo. Although remaining a challenge for in vivo detection, the protein-protein interactions underlying these disease-specific biomarkers present opportunities for the engineering of in vitro pathology-sensitive biosensors. These tools can be useful for investigating early-stage events in neurodegenerative diseases in both cellular and animal models and may lead to clinically useful reagents. Here, we report a light- and cellular stress-gated protein switch based on cofilin-actin rod formation, occurring in stressed neurons in the AD brain and following ischemia. By coupling the stress-sensitive cofilin-actin interaction with the light-responsive Cry2-CIB blue-light switch, referred to hereafter as the "CofActor," we accomplished both light- and energetic/oxidative stress-gated control of this interaction. Site-directed mutagenesis of both cofilin and actin revealed residues critical for sustaining or abrogating the light- and stress-gated response. Of note, the switch response varied, depending on whether cellular stress was generated via glycolytic inhibition or by both glycolytic inhibition and azide-induced ATP depletion. We also demonstrate light- and cellular stress-gated switch function in cultured hippocampal neurons. CofActor holds promise for the tracking of early-stage events in neurodegeneration and for investigating actin's interactions with other proteins during cellular stress.

Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate directly interacts with the β and γ subunits of the sodium channel ENaC.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HEK293 Organelle manipulation
J Biol Chem, 27 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra120.012606 Link to full text
Abstract: The plasma membrane phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) regulates the activity of diverse ion channels to include the epithelial Na+ channel ENaC. Whether PIP2 regulation of ENaC is due to a direct phospholipid-protein interaction, though, remains obscure. To date, possible interaction of PIP2 with ENaC primarily has been tested indirectly through assays of channel function. A fragment-based biochemical analysis approach is used here to directly quantify possible PIP2-ENaC interactions. We find using the CIBN-CRY2 optogenetic dimerization system that the phosphoryl group positioned at carbon 5 of PIP2 is necessary for interaction with ENaC. Previous studies have implicated conserved basic residues in the cytosolic portions of β- and γ-ENaC subunits as being important for PIP2-ENaC interactions. To test this, we used synthetic peptides of these regions of β- and γ-ENaC. Steady state intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy demonstrated that phosphoinositides change the local conformation of the N terminus of β-ENaC, and two sites of γ-ENaC adjacent to the plasma membrane, suggesting direct interactions of PIP2 with these three regions. Microscale thermophoresis elaborated PIP2 interactions with the amino termini of β- (Kd ~5.2 µM) and γ-ENaC (Kd ~13 µM). A weaker interaction site within the carboxy terminus of γ-ENaC (Kd ~800 µM) was also observed. These results support that PIP2 regulates ENaC activity by directly interacting with at least three distinct regions within the cytoplasmic domains of the channel that contain conserved basic residues. These interactions are probably electrostatic in nature, and are likely to bear a key structural role in support of channel activity.

The histone H4 basic patch regulates SAGA-mediated H2B deubiquitylation and histone acetylation.

blue AsLOV2 S. cerevisiae Epigenetic modification
J Biol Chem, 3 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra120.013196 Link to full text
Abstract: Histone H2B monoubiquitylation (H2Bub1) has central functions in multiple DNA-templated processes, including gene transcription, DNA repair, and replication. H2Bub1 also is required for the trans-histone regulation of H3K4 and H3K79 methylation. Although previous studies have elucidated the basic mechanisms that establish and remove H2Bub1, we have only an incomplete understanding of how H2Bub1 is regulated. We report here that the histone H4 basic patch regulates H2Bub1. Yeast cells with arginine-to-alanine mutations in the H4 basic patch (H42RA) exhibited significant loss of global H2Bub1. H42RA mutant yeast strains also displayed chemotoxin sensitivities similar to, but less severe than, strains containing a complete loss of H2Bub1. We found that the H4 basic patch regulates H2Bub1 levels independently of interactions with chromatin remodelers and separately from its regulation of H3K79 methylation. To measure H2B ubiquitylation and deubiquitination kinetics in vivo, we used a rapid and reversible optogenetic tool, the light-inducible nuclear exporter (LINX), to control the subcellular location of the H2Bub1 E3-ligase, Bre1. The ability of Bre1 to ubiquitylate H2B was unaffected in the H42RA mutant. In contrast, H2Bub1 deubiquitination by SAGA-associated Ubp8, but not by Ubp10, increased in the H42RA mutant. Consistent with a function for the H4 basic patch in regulating SAGA deubiquitinase activity, we also detected increased SAGA-mediated histone acetylation in H4 basic patch mutants. Our findings uncover that the H4 basic patch has a regulatory function in SAGA-mediated histone modifications.

Designing protein structures and complexes with the molecular modeling program Rosetta.

blue LOV domains Review
J Biol Chem, 7 Nov 2019 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.aw119.008144 Link to full text
Abstract: Proteins perform an amazingly diverse set of functions in all aspects of life. Critical to the function of many proteins are the highly specific three-dimensional structures they adopt. For this reason, there is strong interest in learning how to rationally design proteins that adopt user-defined structures. Over the last 25-years there has been significant progress in the field of computational protein design as rotamer-based sequence optimization protocols have enabled accurate design of protein tertiary and quaternary structure. In this award article I will summarize how the molecular modeling program Rosetta is used to design new protein structures and describe how we have taken advantage of this capability to create proteins that have important applications in research and medicine.  I will highlight three protein design stories: the use of protein interface design to create therapeutic bispecific antibodies, the engineering of light-inducible proteins that can be used to recruit proteins to specific locations in the cell, and the de novo design of new protein structures from pieces of naturally occurring proteins.

Luminescence-activated nucleotide cyclase regulates spatial and temporal cAMP synthesis.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HC-1 HEK293 PCCL3 Cell cycle control Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 17 Dec 2018 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ac118.004905 Link to full text
Abstract: cAMP is a ubiquitous second messenger that regulates cellular proliferation, differentiation, attachment, migration, and several other processes. It has become increasingly evident that tight regulation of cAMP accumulation and localization confers divergent yet specific signaling to downstream pathways. Currently, few tools are available that have sufficient spatial and temporal resolution to study location-biased cAMP signaling. Here, we introduce a new fusion protein consisting of a light-activated adenylyl cyclase (bPAC) and luciferase (nLuc). This construct allows dual activation of cAMP production through temporally precise photostimulation or chronic chemical stimulation that can be fined-tuned to mimic physiological levels and duration of cAMP synthesis to trigger downstream events. By targeting this construct to different compartments, we show that cAMP produced in the cytosol and nucleus stimulates proliferation in thyroid cells. The bPAC-nLuc fusion construct adds a new reagent to the available toolkit to study cAMP-regulated processes in living cells.

Plasticity in oligomerization, operator architecture, and DNA binding in the mode of action of a bacterial B12-based photoreceptor.

green Cobalamin-binding domains Background
J Biol Chem, 27 Sep 2018 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra118.004838 Link to full text
Abstract: Newly discovered bacterial photoreceptors called CarH sense light by using 5'-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl). They repress their own expression and that of genes for carotenoid synthesis by binding in the dark to operator DNA as AdoCbl-bound tetramers, whose light-induced disassembly relieves repression. High-resolution structures of Thermus thermophilus CarHTt have provided snapshots of the dark and light states and have revealed a unique DNA-binding mode whereby only three out of four DNA binding domains contact an operator comprising three tandem direct repeats. To gain further insights into CarH photoreceptors and employing biochemical, spectroscopic, mutational and computational analyses, here we investigated CarHBm from Bacillus megaterium We found that apoCarHBm, unlike monomeric apoCarHTt, is an oligomeric molten globule that forms DNA-binding tetramers in the dark only upon AdoCbl binding, which requires a conserved W-x9-EH motif. Light relieved DNA binding by disrupting CarHBm tetramers to dimers, rather than to monomers as with CarHTt CarHBm operators resembled that of CarHTt, but were larger by one repeat and overlapped with the -35 or -10 promoter elements. This design persisted in a six-repeat, multipartite operator we discovered upstream of a gene encoding an Spx global redox-response regulator whose photoregulated expression links photooxidative and general redox responses in B. megaterium Interestingly, CarHBm recognized the smaller CarHTt operator, revealing an adaptability possibly related to the linker bridging the DNA- and AdoCbl-binding domains. Our findings highlight a remarkable plasticity in the mode of action of B12-based CarH photoreceptors, important for their biological functions and development as optogenetic tools.

Structure-guided design and functional characterization of an artificial red light-regulated guanylate/adenylate cyclase for optogenetic applications.

red DrBphP C. elegans in vivo Transgene expression
J Biol Chem, 25 Apr 2018 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra118.003069 Link to full text
Abstract: Genetically targeting biological systems to control cellular processes with light is the concept of optogenetics. Despite impressive developments in this field, underlying molecular mechanisms of signal transduction of the employed photoreceptor modules are frequently not sufficiently understood to rationally design new optogenetic tools. Here, we investigate the requirements for functional coupling of red light-sensing phytochromes with non-natural enzymatic effectors by creating a series of constructs featuring the Deinococcus radiodurans bacteriophytochrome linked to a Synechocystis guanylate/adenylate cyclase. Incorporating characteristic structural elements important for cyclase regulation in our designs, we identified several red light-regulated fusions with promising properties. We provide details of one light-activated construct with low dark-state activity and high dynamic range that outperforms previous optogenetic tools in vitro and expands our in vivo toolkit, as demonstrated by manipulation of Caenorhabditis elegans locomotor activity. The full-length crystal structure of this phytochrome-linked cyclase revealed molecular details of photoreceptor-effector coupling, highlighting the importance of the regulatory cyclase element. Analysis of conformational dynamics by hydrogen-deuterium exchange in different functional states enriched our understanding of phytochrome signaling and signal integration by effectors. We found that light-induced conformational changes in the phytochrome destabilize the coiled-coil sensor-effector linker, which releases the cyclase regulatory element from an inhibited conformation, increasing cyclase activity of this artificial system. Future designs of optogenetic functionalities may benefit from our work, indicating that rational considerations for the effector improve the rate of success of initial designs to obtain optogenetic tools with superior properties.

Cyanobacteriochrome-based photoswitchable adenylyl cyclases (cPACs) for broad spectrum light regulation of cAMP levels in cells.

violet cPAC E. coli in vitro Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 9 Apr 2018 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.ra118.002258 Link to full text
Abstract: Class III adenylyl cyclases generate the ubiquitous second messenger cAMP from ATP often in response to environmental or cellular cues. During evolution, soluble adenylyl-cyclase catalytic domains have been repeatedly juxtaposed with signal-input domains to place cAMP synthesis under the control of a wide variety of these environmental and endogenous signals. Adenylyl cyclases with light-sensing domains have proliferated in photosynthetic species depending on light as an energy source, yet are also widespread in non-photosynthetic species. Among such naturally occurring light sensors, several flavin-based photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) have been adopted as optogenetic tools to manipulate cellular processes with blue light. In this report, we report the discovery of a cyanobacteriochrome-based photoswitchable adenylyl cyclase (cPAC) from the cyanobacterium Microcoleussp. PCC 7113. Unlike flavin-dependent PACs, which must thermally decay to be deactivated, cPAC exhibited a bistable photocycle whose adenylyl cyclase could be reversibly activated and inactivated by blue and green light, respectively. Through domain exchange experiments, we also document the ability to extend the wavelength-sensing specificity of cPAC into the near IR. In summary, our work has uncovered a cyanobacteriochrome-based adenylyl cyclase that holds great potential for design of bistable photoswitchable adenylyl cyclases to fine-tune cAMP-regulated processes in cells. tissues, and whole organisms with light across the visible spectrum and into near IR.

Two independent but synchronized Gβγ subunit-controlled pathways are essential for trailing-edge retraction during macrophage migration.

blue CRY2/CIB1 HeLa RAW264.7 Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
J Biol Chem, 1 Sep 2017 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m117.787838 Link to full text
Abstract: Chemokine-induced directional cell migration is a universal cellular mechanism and plays crucial roles in numerous biological processes, including embryonic development, immune system function, and tissue remodeling and regeneration. During the migration of a stationary cell, the cell polarizes, forms lamellipodia at the leading edge (LE), and triggers the concurrent retraction of the trailing edge (TE). During cell migration governed by inhibitory G protein (Gi)-coupled receptors (GPCRs), G protein βγ (Gβγ) subunits control the LE signaling. Interestingly, TE retraction has been linked to the activation of the small GTPase Ras homolog family member A (RhoA) by the Gα12/13 pathway. However, it is not clear how the activation of Gi-coupled GPCRs at the LE orchestrates the TE retraction in RAW264.7 macrophages. Here, using an optogenetic approach involving an opsin to activate the Gi pathway in defined subcellular regions of RAW cells, we show that in addition to their LE activities, free Gβγ subunits also govern TE retraction by operating two independent, yet synchronized, pathways. The first pathway involves RhoA activation, which prevents dephosphorylation of the myosin light chain, allowing actomyosin contractility to proceed. The second pathway activates phospholipase Cβ and induces myosin light chain phosphorylation to enhance actomyosin contractility through increasing cytosolic calcium. We further show that both of these pathways are essential, and inhibition of either one is sufficient to abolish the Gi-coupled GPCR-governed TE retraction and subsequent migration of RAW cells.

Blue light-induced dimerization of monomeric aureochrome-1 enhances its affinity for the target sequence.

blue LOV domains Background
J Biol Chem, 1 May 2014 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m114.554618 Link to full text
Abstract: Aureochrome-1 (AUREO1) is a blue light (BL) receptor that mediates the branching response in stramenopile alga, Vaucheria frigida. AUREO1 contains a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) domain in the central region and a light-oxygen-voltage sensing (LOV) domain at the C terminus, and has been suggested to function as a light-regulated transcription factor. We have previously reported that preparations of recombinant AUREO1 contained the complete coding sequence (full-length, FL) and N-terminal truncated protein (ZL) containing bZIP and LOV domains, and suggested that wild-type ZL (ZLwt2) was in a dimer form with intermolecular disulfide linkages at Cys(162) and Cys(182) (Hisatomi, O., Takeuchi, K., Zikihara, K., Ookubo, Y., Nakatani, Y., Takahashi, F., Tokutomi, S., and Kataoka, H. (2013) Plant Cell Physiol. 54, 93-106). In the present study, we report the photoreactions, oligomeric structures, and DNA binding of monomeric cysteine to serine-mutated ZL (ZLC2S), DTT-treated ZL (DTT-ZL), and FL (DTT-FL). Recombinant AUREO1 showed similar spectral properties and dark regeneration kinetics to those of dimeric ZLwt2. Dynamic light scattering and size exclusion chromatography revealed that ZLC2S and DTT-ZL were monomeric in the dark state. Dissociation of intermolecular disulfide bonds of ZLwt2 was in equilibrium with a midpoint oxidation-redox potential of approximately -245 ± 15 mV. BL induced the dimerization of monomeric ZL, which subsequently increased its affinity for the target sequence. Also, DTT-FL was monomeric in the dark state and underwent BL-induced dimerization, which led to formation of the FL2·DNA complex. Taken together, our results suggest that monomeric AUREO1 is present in vivo, with dimerization playing a key role in its role as a BL-regulated transcription factor.

Formation of Arabidopsis Cryptochrome 2 photobodies in mammalian nuclei: application as an optogenetic DNA damage checkpoint switch.

blue CRY2/CRY2 Flp-In-T-REx293 HEK293T Signaling cascade control
J Biol Chem, 5 Jul 2013 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m113.493361 Link to full text
Abstract: Nuclear bodies are discrete suborganelle structures that perform specialized functions in eukaryotic cells. In plant cells, light can induce de novo formation of nuclear bodies called photobodies (PBs) composed of the photosensory pigments, phytochrome (PHY) or cryptochrome (CRY). The mechanisms of formation, the exact compositions, and the functions of plant PBs are not known. Here, we have expressed Arabidopsis CRY2 (AtCRY2) in mammalian cells and analyzed its fate after blue light exposure to understand the requirements for PB formation, the functions of PBs, and their potential use in cell biology. We found that light efficiently induces AtCRY2-PB formation in mammalian cells, indicating that, other than AtCRY2, no plant-specific proteins or nucleic acids are required for AtCRY2-PB formation. Irradiation of AtCRY2 led to its degradation; however, degradation was not dependent upon photobody formation. Furthermore, we found that AtCRY2 photobody formation is associated with light-stimulated interaction with mammalian COP1 E3 ligase. Finally, we demonstrate that by fusing AtCRY2 to the TopBP1 DNA damage checkpoint protein, light-induced AtCRY2 PBs can be used to activate DNA damage signaling pathway in the absence of DNA damage.

Natural and engineered photoactivated nucleotidyl cyclases for optogenetic applications.

blue BlgC bPAC (BlaC) E. coli in vitro Immediate control of second messengers
J Biol Chem, 28 Oct 2010 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m110.177600 Link to full text
Abstract: Cyclic nucleotides, cAMP and cGMP, are ubiquitous second messengers that regulate metabolic and behavioral responses in diverse organisms. We describe purification, engineering, and characterization of photoactivated nucleotidyl cyclases that can be used to manipulate cAMP and cGMP levels in vivo. We identified the blaC gene encoding a putative photoactivated adenylyl cyclase in the Beggiatoa sp. PS genome. BlaC contains a BLUF domain involved in blue-light sensing using FAD and a nucleotidyl cyclase domain. The blaC gene was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and its product was purified. Irradiation of BlaC in vitro resulted in a small red shift in flavin absorbance, typical of BLUF photoreceptors. BlaC had adenylyl cyclase activity that was negligible in the dark and up-regulated by light by 2 orders of magnitude. To convert BlaC into a guanylyl cyclase, we constructed a model of the nucleotidyl cyclase domain and mutagenized several residues predicted to be involved in substrate binding. One triple mutant, designated BlgC, was found to have photoactivated guanylyl cyclase in vitro. Irradiation with blue light of the E. coli cya mutant expressing BlaC or BlgC resulted in the significant increases in cAMP or cGMP synthesis, respectively. BlaC, but not BlgC, restored cAMP-dependent growth of the mutant in the presence of light. Small protein sizes, negligible activities in the dark, high light-to-dark activation ratios, functionality at broad temperature range and physiological pH, as well as utilization of the naturally occurring flavins as chromophores make BlaC and BlgC attractive for optogenetic applications in various animal and microbial models.

Light modulation of cellular cAMP by a small bacterial photoactivated adenylyl cyclase, bPAC, of the soil bacterium Beggiatoa.

blue bPAC (BlaC) euPAC D. melanogaster in vivo E. coli in vitro rat hippocampal neurons Xenopus oocytes Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
J Biol Chem, 28 Oct 2010 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m110.185496 Link to full text
Abstract: The recent success of channelrhodopsin in optogenetics has also caused increasing interest in enzymes that are directly activated by light. We have identified in the genome of the bacterium Beggiatoa a DNA sequence encoding an adenylyl cyclase directly linked to a BLUF (blue light receptor using FAD) type light sensor domain. In Escherichia coli and Xenopus oocytes, this photoactivated adenylyl cyclase (bPAC) showed cyclase activity that is low in darkness but increased 300-fold in the light. This enzymatic activity decays thermally within 20 s in parallel with the red-shifted BLUF photointermediate. bPAC is well expressed in pyramidal neurons and, in combination with cyclic nucleotide gated channels, causes efficient light-induced depolarization. In the Drosophila central nervous system, bPAC mediates light-dependent cAMP increase and behavioral changes in freely moving animals. bPAC seems a perfect optogenetic tool for light modulation of cAMP in neuronal cells and tissues and for studying cAMP-dependent processes in live animals.
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