Showing 1 - 25 of 157 results
Single Amino Acid Mutation Decouples Photochemistry of the BLUF Domain from the Enzymatic Function of OaPAC and Drives the Enzyme to a Switched-on State.
Photoactivated adenylate cyclases (PACs) are light-activated enzymes that combine a BLUF (blue-light using flavin) domain and an adenylate cyclase domain that are able to increase the levels of the important second messenger cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) upon blue-light excitation. The light-induced changes in the BLUF domain are transduced to the adenylate cyclase domain via a mechanism that has not yet been established. One critical residue in the photoactivation mechanism of BLUF domains, present in the vicinity of the flavin is the glutamine amino acid close to the N5 of the flavin. The role of this residue has been investigated extensively both experimentally and theoretically. However, its role in the activity of the photoactivated adenylate cyclase, OaPAC has never been addressed. In this work, we applied ultrafast transient visible and infrared spectroscopies to study the photochemistry of the Q48E OaPAC mutant. This mutation altered the primary electron transfer process and switched the enzyme into a permanent 'on' state, able to increase the cAMP levels under dark conditions compared to the cAMP levels of the dark-adapted state of the wild-type OaPAC. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements point to a less compact structure for the Q48E OaPAC mutant. The ensemble of these findings provide insight into the important elements in PACs and how their fine tuning may help in the design of optogenetic devices.
Current Trends of Bacterial and Fungal Optoproteins for Novel Optical Applications.
Photoproteins, luminescent proteins or optoproteins are a kind of light-response protein responsible for the conversion of light into biochemical energy that is used by some bacteria or fungi to regulate specific biological processes. Within these specific proteins, there are groups such as the photoreceptors that respond to a given light wavelength and generate reactions susceptible to being used for the development of high-novel applications, such as the optocontrol of metabolic pathways. Photoswitchable proteins play important roles during the development of new materials due to their capacity to change their conformational structure by providing/eliminating a specific light stimulus. Additionally, there are bioluminescent proteins that produce light during a heatless chemical reaction and are useful to be employed as biomarkers in several fields such as imaging, cell biology, disease tracking and pollutant detection. The classification of these optoproteins from bacteria and fungi as photoreceptors or photoresponse elements according to the excitation-emission spectrum (UV-Vis-IR), as well as their potential use in novel applications, is addressed in this article by providing a structured scheme for this broad area of knowledge.
Light-induced Trpin/Metout switching during BLUF domain activation in ATP-bound photoactivatable adenylate cyclase OaPAC.
The understanding of signal transduction mechanisms in photoreceptor proteins is essential for elucidating how living organisms respond to light as environmental stimuli. In this study, we investigated the ATP binding, photoactivation and signal transduction process in the photoactivatable adenylate cyclase from Oscillatoria acuminata (OaPAC) upon blue light excitation. Structural models with ATP bound in the active site of native OaPAC at cryogenic as well as room temperature are presented. ATP is found in one conformation at cryogenic- and in two conformations at ambient-temperature, and is bound in a non-productive conformation. However, FTIR spectroscopic experiments confirm that the non-productive conformation is the native binding mode in dark state OaPAC and that transition to a productive conformation for ATP turnover only occurs after light activation. A combination of time-resolved crystallography experiments at synchrotron and X-ray Free Electron Lasers sheds light on the initial events around the Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide (FAD) chromophore in the light-sensitive BLUF domain of OaPAC. Initial changes involve the highly conserved amino acids Tyr6, Gln48 and Met92. Crucially, the Gln48 side chain performs a 180° rotation during activation, leading to the stabilization of the FAD chromophore. Cryo-trapping experiments allowed us to investigate a late light-activated state of the reaction and revealed significant conformational changes in the BLUF domain around the FAD chromophore. In particular, a Trpin/Metout transition upon illumination is observed for the first time in the BLUF domain and its role in signal transmission via α-helix 3 and 4 in the linker region between sensor and effector domain is discussed.
Optogenetic manipulation of neuronal and cardiomyocyte functions in zebrafish using microbial rhodopsins and adenylyl cyclases.
Even though microbial photosensitive proteins have been used for optogenetics, their use should be optimized to precisely control cell and tissue functions in vivo. We exploited GtCCR4 and KnChR, cation channelrhodopsins from algae, BeGC1, a guanylyl cyclase rhodopsin from a fungus, and photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) from cyanobacteria (OaPAC) or bacteria (bPAC), to control cell functions in zebrafish. Optical activation of GtCCR4 and KnChR in the hindbrain reticulospinal V2a neurons, which are involved in locomotion, induced swimming behavior at relatively short latencies, whereas activation of BeGC1 or PACs achieved it at long latencies. Activation of GtCCR4 and KnChR in cardiomyocytes induced cardiac arrest, whereas activation of bPAC gradually induced bradycardia. KnChR activation led to an increase in intracellular Ca2+ in the heart, suggesting that depolarization caused cardiac arrest. These data suggest that these optogenetic tools can be used to reveal the function and regulation of zebrafish neurons and cardiomyocytes.
Selective induction of programmed cell death using synthetic biology tools.
Regulated cell death (RCD) controls the removal of dispensable, infected or malignant cells, and is thus essential for development, homeostasis and immunity of multicellular organisms. Over the last years different forms of RCD have been described (among them apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis and ferroptosis), and the cellular signaling pathways that control their induction and execution have been characterized at the molecular level. It has also become apparent that different forms of RCD differ in their capacity to elicit inflammation or an immune response, and that RCD pathways show a remarkable plasticity. Biochemical and genetic studies revealed that inhibition of a given pathway often results in the activation of back-up cell death mechanisms, highlighting close interconnectivity based on shared signaling components and the assembly of multivalent signaling platforms that can initiate different forms of RCD. Due to this interconnectivity and the pleiotropic effects of 'classical' cell death inducers, it is challenging to study RCD pathways in isolation. This has led to the development of tools based on synthetic biology that allow the targeted induction of RCD using chemogenetic or optogenetic methods. Here we discuss recent advances in the development of such toolset, highlighting their advantages and limitations, and their application for the study of RCD in cells and animals.
All-optical mapping of cAMP transport reveals rules of sub-cellular localization.
Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is a second messenger that mediates diverse intracellular signals. Studies of cAMP transport in cells have produced wildly different results, from reports of nearly free diffusion to reports that cAMP remains localized in nanometer-scale domains. We developed an all-optical toolkit, termed cAMP-SITES, to locally perturb and map cAMP transport. In MDCK cells and in cultured neurons, cAMP had a diffusion coefficient of ~120 μm2/s, similar to the diffusion coefficients of other small molecules in cytoplasm. In neuronal dendrites, a balance between diffusion and degradation led to cAMP domains with a length scale of ~30 μm. Geometrical confinement by membranes led to subcellular variations in cAMP concentration, but we found no evidence of nanoscale domains or of distinct membrane-local and cytoplasmic pools. We introduce theoretical relations between cell geometry and small-molecule reaction-diffusion dynamics and transport to explain our observations.
Optogenetic Methods in Plant Biology.
Optogenetics is a technique employing natural or genetically engineered photoreceptors in transgene organisms to manipulate biological activities with light. Light can be turned on or off, and adjusting its intensity and duration allows optogenetic fine-tuning of cellular processes in a noninvasive and spatiotemporally resolved manner. Since the introduction of Channelrhodopsin-2 and phytochrome-based switches nearly 20 years ago, optogenetic tools have been applied in a variety of model organisms with enormous success, but rarely in plants. For a long time, the dependence of plant growth on light and the absence of retinal, the rhodopsin chromophore, prevented the establishment of plant optogenetics until recent progress overcame these difficulties. We summarize the recent results of work in the field to control plant growth and cellular motion via green light-gated ion channels and present successful applications to light-control gene expression with single or combined photoswitches in plants. Furthermore, we highlight the technical requirements and options for future plant optogenetic research.
Engineering synthetic biomolecular condensates.
The concept of phase-separation-mediated formation of biomolecular condensates provides a new framework to understand cellular organization and cooperativity-dependent cellular functions. With growing understanding of how biological systems drive phase separation and how cellular functions are encoded by biomolecular condensates, opportunities have emerged for cellular control through engineering of synthetic biomolecular condensates. In this Review, we discuss how to construct synthetic biomolecular condensates and how they can regulate cellular functions. We first describe the fundamental principles by which biomolecular components can drive phase separation. Next, we discuss the relationship between the properties of condensates and their cellular functions, which informs the design of components to create programmable synthetic condensates. Finally, we describe recent applications of synthetic biomolecular condensates for cellular control and discuss some of the design considerations and prospective applications.
Bioelectricity in Developmental Patterning and Size Control: Evidence and Genetically Encoded Tools in the Zebrafish Model.
Developmental patterning is essential for regulating cellular events such as axial patterning, segmentation, tissue formation, and organ size determination during embryogenesis. Understanding the patterning mechanisms remains a central challenge and fundamental interest in developmental biology. Ion-channel-regulated bioelectric signals have emerged as a player of the patterning mechanism, which may interact with morphogens. Evidence from multiple model organisms reveals the roles of bioelectricity in embryonic development, regeneration, and cancers. The Zebrafish model is the second most used vertebrate model, next to the mouse model. The zebrafish model has great potential for elucidating the functions of bioelectricity due to many advantages such as external development, transparent early embryogenesis, and tractable genetics. Here, we review genetic evidence from zebrafish mutants with fin-size and pigment changes related to ion channels and bioelectricity. In addition, we review the cell membrane voltage reporting and chemogenetic tools that have already been used or have great potential to be implemented in zebrafish models. Finally, new perspectives and opportunities for bioelectricity research with zebrafish are discussed.
Optogenetics Sheds Light on Brown and Beige Adipocytes.
Excessive food intake leads to lipid accumulation in white adipose tissue, triggering inflammation, cellular stress, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. In contrast, the dynamic energy expenditure and heat generation of brown and beige adipose tissue, driven by specialized mitochondria, render it an appealing candidate for therapeutic strategies aimed at addressing metabolic disorders. This review examines the therapeutic potential of brown and beige adipocytes for obesity and metabolic disorders, focusing on recent studies that employ optogenetics for thermogenesis control in these cells. The findings delve into the mechanisms underlying UCP1-dependent and UCP1-independent thermogenesis and how optogenetic approaches can be used to precisely modulate energy expenditure and induce thermogenesis. The convergence of adipocyte biology and optogenetics presents an exciting frontier in combating metabolic disorders and advancing our understanding of cellular regulation and energy balance.
Precise modulation of embryonic development through optogenetics.
The past decade has witnessed enormous progress in optogenetics, which uses photo-sensitive proteins to control signal transduction in live cells and animals. The ever-increasing amount of optogenetic tools, however, could overwhelm the selection of appropriate optogenetic strategies. In this work, we summarize recent progress in this emerging field and highlight the application of opsin-free optogenetics in studying embryonic development, focusing on new insights gained into optical induction of morphogenesis, cell polarity, cell fate determination, tissue differentiation, neuronal regeneration, synaptic plasticity, and removal of cells during development.
Optogenetic Stimulation Array for Confocal Microscopy Fast Transient Monitoring.
Optogenetics is an emerging discipline with multiple applications in neuroscience, allowing to study neuronal pathways or serving for therapeutic applications such as in the treatment of anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), or Parkinson's disease. More recently optogenetics is opening its way also to stem cell-based therapeutic applications for neuronal regeneration after stroke or spinal cord injury. The results of optogenetic stimulation are usually evaluated by immunofluorescence or flow cytometry, and the observation of transient responses after stimulation, as in cardiac electrophysiology studies, by optical microscopy. However, certain phenomena, such as the ultra-fast calcium waves acquisition upon simultaneous optogenetics, are beyond the scope of current instrumentation, since they require higher image resolution in real-time, employing for instance time-lapse confocal microscopy. Therefore, in this work, an optogenetic stimulation matrix controllable from a graphical user interface has been developed for its use with a standard 24-well plate for an inverted confocal microscope use and validated by using a photoactivable adenyl cyclase (bPAC) overexpressed in rat fetal cortical neurons and the consequent calcium waves propagation upon 100 ms pulsed blue light stimulation.
Photoactivated adenylyl cyclases attenuate sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy by suppressing macrophage-mediated inflammation.
Sepsis-induced myocardiopathy, characterized by innate immune cells infiltration and proinflammatory cytokines release, may lead to perfusion failure or even life-threatening cardiogenic shock. Macrophages-mediated inflammation has been shown to contribute to sepsis-induced myocardiopathy. In the current study, we introduced two photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs), Beggiatoa sp. PAC (bPAC) and Beggiatoa sp. IS2 PAC (biPAC) into macrophages by transfection to detect the effects of light-induced regulation of macrophage pro-inflammatory response and LPS-induced sepsis-induced myocardiopathy. By this method, we uncovered that blue light-induced bPAC or biPAC activation considerably inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and TNF-α, both at mRNA and protein levels. Further, we assembled a GelMA-Macrophages-LED system, which consists of GelMA-a type of light crosslink hydrogel, gene modulated macrophages and wireless LED device, to allow light to regulate cardiac inflammation in situ with murine models of LPS-induced sepsis. Our results showed significant inhibition of leukocytes infiltration, especially macrophages and neutrophils, suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines release, and alleviation of sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction. Thus, our study may represent an emerging means to treat sepsis-induced myocardiopathy and other cardiovascular diseases by photo-activated regulating macrophage function.
Light-regulated gene expression in Bacteria: Fundamentals, advances, and perspectives.
Numerous photoreceptors and genetic circuits emerged over the past two decades and now enable the light-dependent i.e., optogenetic, regulation of gene expression in bacteria. Prompted by light cues in the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, gene expression can be up- or downregulated stringently, reversibly, non-invasively, and with precision in space and time. Here, we survey the underlying principles, available options, and prominent examples of optogenetically regulated gene expression in bacteria. While transcription initiation and elongation remain most important for optogenetic intervention, other processes e.g., translation and downstream events, were also rendered light-dependent. The optogenetic control of bacterial expression predominantly employs but three fundamental strategies: light-sensitive two-component systems, oligomerization reactions, and second-messenger signaling. Certain optogenetic circuits moved beyond the proof-of-principle and stood the test of practice. They enable unprecedented applications in three major areas. First, light-dependent expression underpins novel concepts and strategies for enhanced yields in microbial production processes. Second, light-responsive bacteria can be optogenetically stimulated while residing within the bodies of animals, thus prompting the secretion of compounds that grant health benefits to the animal host. Third, optogenetics allows the generation of precisely structured, novel biomaterials. These applications jointly testify to the maturity of the optogenetic approach and serve as blueprints bound to inspire and template innovative use cases of light-regulated gene expression in bacteria. Researchers pursuing these lines can choose from an ever-growing, versatile, and efficient toolkit of optogenetic circuits.
Shedding light on current trends in molecular optogenetics.
Molecular optogenetics is a highly dynamic research field. In the past two years, the field was characterized by the development of new allosteric switches as well as the forward integration of optogenetics research towards application. Further, two areas of research have significantly gathered momentum, the use of optogenetics to control liquid-liquid phase separation as well as the application of optogenetic tools in the extracellular space. Here, we review these areas and discuss future directions.
Illuminating bacterial behaviors with optogenetics.
Optogenetic approaches enable light-mediated control of cellular activities using genetically encoded photoreceptors. While optogenetic technology is already well established in neuroscience and fundamental research, the implementation of optogenetic tools in bacteriology is still emerging. Engineered bacteria with the specific optogenetic system that function at the transcriptional or post-translational level can sense and respond to light, allowing optogenetic control of bacterial behaviors. In this review, we give a brief overview of available optogenetic systems, including their mode of action, classification, and engineering strategies, and focus on optogenetic control of bacterial behaviors with the highlight of strategies for use of optogenetic systems.
Optogenetics for light control of biological systems
The H2 + H2 system has long been considered a benchmark system for ro-vibrational energy transfer in bimolecular collisions. However, most studies thus far have focused on collisions involving H2 molecules in the ground vibrational level or in the first excited vibrational state. While H2 + H2/HD collisions have received wide attention due to the important role they play in astrophysics, D2 + D2 collisions have received much less attention. Recently, Zhou et al. [ Nat. Chem. 2022, 14, 658-663, DOI: 10.1038/s41557-022-00926-z] examined stereodynamic aspects of rotational energy transfer in collisions of two aligned D2 molecules prepared in the v = 2 vibrational level and j = 2 rotational level. Here, we report quantum calculations of rotational and vibrational energy transfer in collisions of two D2 molecules prepared in vibrational levels up to v = 2 and identify key resonance features that contribute to the angular distribution in the experimental results of Zhou et al. The quantum scattering calculations were performed in full dimensionality and using the rigid-rotor approximation using a recently developed highly accurate six-dimensional potential energy surface for the H4 system that allows descriptions of collisions involving highly vibrationally excited H2 and its isotopologues.
Emerging molecular technologies for light-mediated modulation of pancreatic beta-cell function.
Optogenetic modalities as well as optochemical and photopharmacological strategies, collectively termed optical methods, have revolutionized the control of cellular functions via light with great spatiotemporal precision. In comparison to the major advances in the photomodulation of signaling activities noted in neuroscience, similar applications to endocrine cells of the pancreas, particularly insulin-producing β-cells, have been limited. The availability of tools allowing light-mediated changes in the trafficking of ions such as K+ and Ca2+ and signaling intermediates such as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), renders β-cells and their glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) amenable to optoengineering for drug-free control of blood sugar.
Recent advances in cellular optogenetics for photomedicine.
Since the successful introduction of exogenous photosensitive proteins, channelrhodopsin, to neurons, optogenetics has enabled substantial understanding of profound brain function by selectively manipulating neural circuits. In an optogenetic system, optical stimulation can be precisely delivered to brain tissue to achieve regulation of cellular electrical activity with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution in living organisms. In recent years, the development of various optical actuators and novel light-delivery techniques has greatly expanded the scope of optogenetics, enabling the control of other signal pathways in non-neuronal cells for different biomedical applications, such as phototherapy and immunotherapy. This review focuses on the recent advances in optogenetic regulation of cellular activities for photomedicine. We discuss emerging optogenetic tools and light-delivery platforms, along with a survey of optogenetic execution in mammalian and microbial cells.
GPCR-dependent spatiotemporal cAMP generation confers functional specificity in cardiomyocytes and cardiac responses.
Cells interpret a variety of signals through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and stimulate the generation of second messengers such as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). A long-standing puzzle is deciphering how GPCRs elicit different responses, despite generating similar levels of cAMP. We previously showed that GPCRs generate cAMP from both the plasma membrane and the Golgi apparatus. Here, we demonstrate that cardiomyocytes distinguish between subcellular cAMP inputs to cue different outputs. We show that generating cAMP from the Golgi by an optogenetic approach or activated GPCR leads to regulation of a specific PKA target that increases rate of cardiomyocyte relaxation. In contrast, cAMP generation from the plasma membrane activates a different PKA target that increases contractile force. We validated the physiological consequences of these observations in intact zebrafish and mice. Thus, the same GPCR regulates distinct molecular and physiological pathways depending on its subcellular location despite generating cAMP in each case.
Engineering of optogenetic devices for biomedical applications in mammalian synthetic biology.
Gene- and cell-based therapies are the next frontiers in the field of medicine. Both are transformative and innovative therapies; however, a lack of safety data limits the translation of such promising technologies to the clinic. Improving the safety and promoting the clinical translation of these therapies can be achieved by tightly regulating the release and delivery of therapeutic outputs. In recent years, the rapid development of optogenetic technology has provided opportunities to develop precision-controlled gene- and cell-based therapies, in which light is introduced to precisely and spatiotemporally manipulate the behaviour of genes and cells. This review focuses on the development of optogenetic tools and their applications in biomedicine, including photoactivated genome engineering and phototherapy for diabetes and tumours. The prospects and challenges of optogenetic tools for future clinical applications are also discussed.
A cAMP signalosome in primary cilia drives gene expression and kidney cyst formation.
The primary cilium constitutes an organelle that orchestrates signal transduction independently from the cell body. Dysregulation of this intricate molecular architecture leads to severe human diseases, commonly referred to as ciliopathies. However, the molecular underpinnings how ciliary signaling orchestrates a specific cellular output remain elusive. By combining spatially resolved optogenetics with RNA sequencing and imaging, we reveal a novel cAMP signalosome that is functionally distinct from the cytoplasm. We identify the genes and pathways targeted by the ciliary cAMP signalosome and shed light on the underlying mechanisms and downstream signaling. We reveal that chronic stimulation of the ciliary cAMP signalosome transforms kidney epithelia from tubules into cysts. Counteracting this chronic cAMP elevation in the cilium by small molecules targeting activation of phosphodiesterase-4 long isoforms inhibits cyst growth. Thereby, we identify a novel concept of how the primary cilium controls cellular functions and maintains tissue integrity in a specific and spatially distinct manner and reveal novel molecular components that might be involved in the development of one of the most common genetic diseases, polycystic kidney disease.
Synthetic microbiology applications powered by light.
Synthetic biology is a field of research in which molecular parts (mostly nucleic acids and proteins) are de novo created or modified and then used either alone or in combination to achieve new functions that can help solve the problems of our modern society. In synthetic microbiology, microbes are employed rather than other organisms or cell-free systems. Optogenetics, a relatively recently established technology that relies on the use of genetically encoded photosensitive proteins to control biological processes with high spatiotemporal precision, offers the possibility to empower synthetic (micro)biology applications due to the many positive features that light has as an external trigger. In this review, we describe recent synthetic microbiology applications that made use of optogenetics after briefly introducing the molecular mechanism behind some of the most employed optogenetic tools. We highlight the power and versatility of this technique, which opens up new horizons for both research and industry.
The expanding role of split protein complementation in opsin-free optogenetics.
A comprehensive understanding of signaling mechanisms helps interpret fundamental biological processes and restore cell behavior from pathological conditions. Signaling outcome depends not only on the activity of each signaling component but also on their dynamic interaction in time and space, which remains challenging to probe by biochemical and cell-based assays. Opsin-based optogenetics has transformed neural science research with its spatiotemporal modulation of the activity of excitable cells. Motivated by this advantage, opsin-free optogenetics extends the power of light to a larger spectrum of signaling molecules. This review summarizes commonly used opsin-free optogenetic strategies, presents a historical overview of split protein complementation, and highlights the adaptation of split protein recombination as optogenetic sensors and actuators.
Soluble cyclase-mediated nuclear cAMP synthesis is sufficient for cell proliferation.
cAMP is a key player in many physiological processes. Classically considered to originate solely from the plasma membrane, this view was recently challenged by observations showing that GPCRs can sustain cAMP signaling from intracellular compartments associated with nuclear PKA translocation and activation of transcriptional events. In this report we show that neither PKA translocation nor cAMP diffusion, but rather nuclear sAC activation represents the only source of nuclear cAMP accumulation, PKA activation, and CREB phosphorylation. Both pharmacological and genetic sAC inhibition, that did not affect the cytosolic cAMP levels, completed blunted nuclear cAMP accumulation, PKA activation and proliferation, while an increase in sAC nuclear expression significantly enhanced cell proliferation. Moreover, utilizing novel compartment-specific optogenetic actuators we showed that light-dependent nuclear cAMP synthesis can stimulate PKA, CREB and trigger cell proliferation. Thus, our results show that sAC-mediated nuclear accumulation is not only necessary but sufficient and rate-limiting for cAMP-dependent proliferation.