Showing 1 - 9 of 9 results
Optogenetic clustering and membrane translocation of the BcLOV4 photoreceptor.
Optogenetic clustering is a versatile method to control protein activity in living cells, tissues, and organisms. Here we show that the BcLOV4 photoreceptor both clusters and translocates to the plasma membrane in response to blue light, representing a new class of light-dependent behavior. We demonstrate that dual translocation and clustering can be harnessed for novel single-component optogenetic tools, including for activation of the entire family of epidermal growth factor receptor (ErbB1-4) tyrosine kinases. We further find that clustering and membrane translocation are causally linked. Stronger clustering increased the magnitude of translocation and downstream signaling, increased sensitivity to light by ~3-4-fold, and decreased the expression levels needed for strong signal activation. Thus light-induced clustering of BcLOV4 provides a strategy to generate a new class of optogenetic tools and to enhance existing ones.
Computational framework for single-cell spatiotemporal dynamics of optogenetic membrane recruitment.
We describe a modular computational framework for analyzing cell-wide spatiotemporal signaling dynamics in single-cell microscopy experiments that accounts for the experiment-specific geometric and diffractive complexities that arise from heterogeneous cell morphologies and optical instrumentation. Inputs are unique cell geometries and protein concentrations derived from confocal stacks and spatiotemporally varying environmental stimuli. After simulating the system with a model of choice, the output is convolved with the microscope point-spread function for direct comparison with the observable image. We experimentally validate this approach in single cells with BcLOV4, an optogenetic membrane recruitment system for versatile control over cell signaling, using a three-dimensional non-linear finite element model with all parameters experimentally derived. The simulations recapitulate observed subcellular and cell-to-cell variability in BcLOV4 signaling, allowing for inter-experimental differences of cellular and instrumentation origins to be elucidated and resolved for improved interpretive robustness. This single-cell approach will enhance optogenetics and spatiotemporally resolved signaling studies.
Designing Single-Component Optogenetic Membrane Recruitment Systems: The Rho-Family GTPase Signaling Toolbox.
We describe the efficient creation of single-component optogenetic tools for membrane recruitment-based signaling perturbation using BcLOV4 technology. The workflow requires two plasmids to create six different domain arrangements of the dynamic membrane binder BcLOV4, a fluorescent reporter, and the fused signaling protein of interest. Screening of this limited set of genetic constructs for expression characteristics and dynamic translocation in response to one pulse of light is sufficient to identify viable signaling control tools. The reliability of this streamlined approach is demonstrated by the creation of an optogenetic Cdc42 GTPase and Rac1-activating Tiam1 GEF protein, which together with our other recently reported technologies, completes a toolbox for spatiotemporally precise induction of Rho-family GTPase signaling at the GEF or GTPase level, for driving filopodial protrusions, lamellipodial protrusions, and cell contractility, respectively mediated by Cdc42, Rac1, and RhoA.
Temperature-responsive optogenetic probes of cell signaling.
We describe single-component optogenetic probes whose activation dynamics depend on both light and temperature. We used the BcLOV4 photoreceptor to stimulate Ras and phosphatidyl inositol-3-kinase signaling in mammalian cells, allowing activation over a large dynamic range with low basal levels. Surprisingly, we found that BcLOV4 membrane translocation dynamics could be tuned by both light and temperature such that membrane localization spontaneously decayed at elevated temperatures despite constant illumination. Quantitative modeling predicted BcLOV4 activation dynamics across a range of light and temperature inputs and thus provides an experimental roadmap for BcLOV4-based probes. BcLOV4 drove strong and stable signal activation in both zebrafish and fly cells, and thermal inactivation provided a means to multiplex distinct blue-light sensitive tools in individual mammalian cells. BcLOV4 is thus a versatile photosensor with unique light and temperature sensitivity that enables straightforward generation of broadly applicable optogenetic tools.
Single-Component Optogenetic Tools for Inducible RhoA GTPase Signaling.
Optogenetic tools are created to control RhoA GTPase, a central regulator of actin organization and actomyosin contractility. RhoA GTPase, or its upstream activator ARHGEF11, is fused to BcLOV4, a photoreceptor that can be dynamically recruited to the plasma membrane by a light-regulated protein-lipid electrostatic interaction with the inner leaflet. Direct membrane recruitment of these proteins induces potent contractile signaling sufficient to separate adherens junctions with as little as one pulse of blue light. Induced cytoskeletal morphology changes are dependent on the alignment of the spatially patterned stimulation with the underlying cell polarization. RhoA-mediated cytoskeletal activation drives yes-associated protein (YAP) nuclear localization within minutes and consequent mechanotransduction verified by YAP-transcriptional enhanced associate domain transcriptional activity. These single-transgene tools do not require protein binding partners for dynamic membrane localization and permit spatiotemporally precise control over RhoA signaling to advance the study of its diverse regulatory roles in cell migration, morphogenesis, and cell cycle maintenance.
Single-component optogenetic tools for inducible RhoA GTPase signaling.
We created optogenetic tools to control RhoA GTPase, a central regulator of actin organization and actomyosin contractility. RhoA GTPase, or its upstream activating GEF effectors, were fused to BcLOV4, a photoreceptor that can be dynamically recruited to the plasma membrane by a light-regulated protein-lipid electrostatic interaction with the inner leaflet. Direct membrane recruitment of these effectors induced potent contractile signaling sufficient to separate adherens junctions in response to as little as one pulse of blue light. Cytoskeletal morphology changes were dependent on the alignment of the spatially patterned stimulation with the underlying cell polarization. RhoA-mediated cytoskeletal activation induced YAP nuclear localization within minutes and subsequent mechanotransduction, verified by YAP-TEAD transcriptional activity. These single-component tools, which do not require protein binding partners, offer spatiotemporally precise control over RhoA signaling that will advance the study of its diverse regulatory roles in cell migration, morphogenesis, and cell cycle maintenance.
Optogenetic Rac1 engineered from membrane lipid-binding RGS-LOV for inducible lamellipodia formation.
We report the construction of a single-component optogenetic Rac1 (opto-Rac1) to control actin polymerization by dynamic membrane recruitment. Opto-Rac1 is a fusion of wildtype human Rac1 small GTPase to the C-terminal region of BcLOV4, a LOV (light-oxygen-voltage) photoreceptor that rapidly binds the plasma membrane upon blue-light activation via a direct electrostatic interaction with anionic membrane phospholipids. Translocation of the fused wildtype Rac1 effector permits its activation by GEFs (guanine nucleotide exchange factors) and consequent actin polymerization and lamellipodia formation, unlike in existing single-chain systems that operate by allosteric photo-switching of constitutively active Rac1 or the heterodimerization-based (i.e. two-component) membrane recruitment of a Rac1-activating GEF. Opto-Rac1 induction of lamellipodia formation was spatially restricted to the patterned illumination field and was efficient, requiring sparse stimulation duty ratios of ∼1-2% (at the sensitivity threshold for flavin photocycling) to cause significant changes in cell morphology. This work exemplifies how the discovery of LOV proteins of distinct signal transmission modes can beget new classes of optogenetic tools for controlling cellular function.
Synthetic cell-like membrane interfaces for probing dynamic protein-lipid interactions.
The ability to rapidly screen interactions between proteins and membrane-like interfaces would aid in establishing the structure-function of protein-lipid interactions, provide a platform for engineering lipid-interacting protein tools, and potentially inform the signaling mechanisms and dynamics of membrane-associated proteins. Here, we describe the preparation and application of water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions with lipid-stabilized droplet interfaces that emulate the plasma membrane inner leaflet with tunable composition. Fluorescently labeled proteins are easily visualized in these synthetic cell-like droplets on an automated inverted fluorescence microscope, thus allowing for both rapid screening of relative binding and spatiotemporally resolved analyses of for example, protein-interface association and dissociation dynamics and competitive interactions, using commonplace instrumentation. We provide protocols for droplet formation, automated imaging assays and analysis, and the production of the positive control protein BcLOV4, a natural photoreceptor with a directly light-regulated interaction with anionic membrane phospholipids that is useful for optogenetic membrane recruitment.
Directly light-regulated binding of RGS-LOV photoreceptors to anionic membrane phospholipids.
We report natural light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) photoreceptors with a blue light-switched, high-affinity (KD ∼ 10-7 M), and direct electrostatic interaction with anionic phospholipids. Membrane localization of one such photoreceptor, BcLOV4 from Botrytis cinerea, is directly coupled to its flavin photocycle, and is mediated by a polybasic amphipathic helix in the linker region between the LOV sensor and its C-terminal domain of unknown function (DUF), as revealed through a combination of bioinformatics, computational protein modeling, structure-function studies, and optogenetic assays in yeast and mammalian cell line expression systems. In model systems, BcLOV4 rapidly translocates from the cytosol to plasma membrane (∼1 second). The reversible electrostatic interaction is nonselective among anionic phospholipids, exhibiting binding strengths dependent on the total anionic content of the membrane without preference for a specific headgroup. The in vitro and cellular responses were also observed with a BcLOV4 homolog and thus are likely to be general across the dikarya LOV class, whose members are associated with regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) domains. Natural photoreceptors are not previously known to directly associate with membrane phospholipids in a light-dependent manner, and thus this work establishes both a photosensory signal transmission mode and a single-component optogenetic tool with rapid membrane localization kinetics that approaches the diffusion limit.