Showing 1 - 25 of 89 results
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.
Introduction of reversible cysteine ligation ability to the biliverdin-binding cyanobacteriochrome photoreceptor.
Cyanobacteriochrome (CBCR) photoreceptors are distantly related to the canonical red/far-red reversible phytochrome photoreceptors. In the case of the CBCRs, only the GAF domain is required for chromophore incorporation and photoconversion. The GAF domains of CBCR are highly diversified into many lineages to sense various colors of light. These CBCR GAF domains are divided into two types: those possessing only the canonical Cys residue and those with both canonical and second Cys residues. The canonical Cys residue stably ligates to the chromophore in both cases. The second Cys residue mostly shows reversible adduct formation with the chromophore during photoconversion for spectral tuning. In this study, we focused on the CBCR GAF domain AnPixJg2_BV4, which possesses only the canonical Cys residue. AnPixJg2_BV4 covalently ligates to the biliverdin (BV) chromophore and shows far-red/orange reversible photoconversion. Because BV is a mammalian intrinsic chromophore, BV-binding molecules are advantageous for in vivo optogenetic and bioimaging tool development. To obtain a better developmental platform molecule, we performed site-saturation random mutagenesis and serendipitously obtained a unique variant molecule that showed far-red/blue reversible photoconversion, in which the Cys residue was introduced near the chromophore. This introduced Cys residue functioned as the second Cys residue that reversibly ligated with the chromophore. Because the position of the introduced Cys residue is distinct from the known second Cys residues, the variant molecule obtained in this study would expand our knowledge about the spectral tuning mechanism of CBCRs and contribute to tool development.
OptoCRISPRi-HD: Engineering a Bacterial Green-Light-Activated CRISPRi System with a High Dynamic Range.
The ability to modulate gene expression is crucial for studying gene function and programming cell behaviors. Combining the reliability of CRISPRi and the precision of optogenetics, the optoCRISPRi technique is emerging as an advanced tool for live-cell gene regulation. Since previous versions of optoCRISPRi often exhibit no more than a 10-fold dynamic range due to the leakage activity, they are not suitable for targets that are sensitive to such leakage or critical for cell growth. Here, we describe a green-light-activated CRISPRi system with a high dynamic range (40 fold) and the flexibility of changing targets in Escherichia coli. Our optoCRISPRi-HD system can efficiently repress essential genes, nonessential genes, or inhibit the initiation of DNA replication. Providing a regulative system with high resolution over space-time and extensive targets, our study would facilitate further research involving complex gene networks, metabolic flux redirection, or bioprinting.
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 of bidirectional, cyanobacteriochrome-based light-inducible dimers (BICYCL)s.
Optogenetic tools for controlling protein-protein interactions (PPIs) have been developed from a small number of photosensory modules that respond to a limited selection of wavelengths. Cyanobacteriochrome (CBCR) GAF domain variants respond to an unmatched array of colors; however, their natural molecular mechanisms of action cannot easily be exploited for optogenetic control of PPIs. Here we developed bidirectional, cyanobacteriochrome-based light-inducible dimers (BICYCL)s by engineering synthetic light-dependent interactors for a red/green GAF domain. The systematic approach enables the future engineering of the broad chromatic palette of CBCRs for optogenetics use. BICYCLs are among the smallest optogenetic tools for controlling PPIs and enable either green-ON/red-OFF (BICYCL-Red) or red-ON/green-OFF (BICYCL-Green) control with up to 800-fold state selectivity. The access to green wavelengths creates new opportunities for multiplexing with existing tools. We demonstrate the utility of BICYCLs for controlling protein subcellular localization and transcriptional processes in mammalian cells and for multiplexing with existing blue-light tools.
Retraction: "Long noncoding RNA ZFPM2-AS1 is involved in lung adenocarcinoma via miR-511-3p/AFF4 pathway," by Juan Li, Jun Ge, Ye Yang, Bin Liu, Min Zheng, and Rui Shi, J Cell Biochem. 2020; 2534-2542: The above article, published online on November 6, 2019, in Wiley Online Library (https://doi.org/10.1002/jcb.29476) has been retracted by agreement between the journal's Editor in Chief, Prof. Dr. Christian Behl, and Wiley Periodicals LLC. The retraction has been agreed after the authors stated that unintentional errors occurred during the research process, and the experimental results cannot be verified. Thus, the conclusions are considered to be invalid. The authors were not available for a final confirmation of the retraction.
Deep model predictive control of gene expression in thousands of single cells.
Gene expression is inherently dynamic, due to complex regulation and stochastic biochemical events. However, the effects of these dynamics on cell phenotypes can be difficult to determine. Researchers have historically been limited to passive observations of natural dynamics, which can preclude studies of elusive and noisy cellular events where large amounts of data are required to reveal statistically significant effects. Here, using recent advances in the fields of machine learning and control theory, we train a deep neural network to accurately predict the response of an optogenetic system in Escherichia coli cells. We then use the network in a deep model predictive control framework to impose arbitrary and cell-specific gene expression dynamics on thousands of single cells in real time, applying the framework to generate complex time-varying patterns. We also showcase the framework’s ability to link expression patterns to dynamic functional outcomes by controlling expression of the tetA antibiotic resistance gene. This study highlights how deep learning-enabled feedback control can be used to tailor distributions of gene expression dynamics with high accuracy and throughput.
Highlighter: an optogenetic actuator for light-mediated, high resolution gene expression control in plants.
Optogenetic actuators have revolutionized the resolution at which we can assert control over biological processes in living systems. In plants, deployment of optogenetics is challenging due to the need for these light-responsive systems to maintain a single activation state in conventional horticultural environments with light-dark cycling. Furthermore, many available optogenetic actuators are based on plant photoreceptors that might crosstalk with endogenous signaling processes, while others depend on exogenously supplied cofactors. To overcome such challenges, we have developed Highlighter; a synthetic, light-gated gene expression system tailored for in planta function. Highlighter is based on the photoswitchable CcaS-CcaR system from cyanobacteria and is repurposed for plants as a fully genetically encoded system, engineered to photoswitch with the endogenous plant chromophore, phytochromobilin. We deployed Highlighter in transiently transformed Nicotiana benthamiana for optogenetic control of fluorescent protein expression and innate immune responses. Using light to guide differential fluorescent protein expression in nuclei of neighboring cells, we demonstrate unprecedented spatiotemporal control of target gene expression. We furthermore regulate activation of plant immunity by modulating the spectral composition of white light, demonstrating optogenetic control of a biological process in horticultural light environments. Highlighter is a step forward for optogenetics in plants and a technology for high-resolution gene induction that will advance fundamental plant biology and provide new opportunities for crop improvement.
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.
The bright frontiers of microbial metabolic optogenetics.
In recent years, light-responsive systems from the field of optogenetics have been applied to several areas of metabolic engineering with remarkable success. By taking advantage of light's high tunability, reversibility, and orthogonality to host endogenous processes, optogenetic systems have enabled unprecedented dynamical controls of microbial fermentations for chemical production, metabolic flux analysis, and population compositions in co-cultures. In this article, we share our opinions on the current state of this new field of metabolic optogenetics.We make the case that it will continue to impact metabolic engineering in increasingly new directions, with the potential to challenge existing paradigms for metabolic pathway and strain optimization as well as bioreactor operation.
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.
Plant optogenetics: Applications and perspectives.
To understand cell biological processes, like signalling pathways, protein movements, or metabolic processes, precise tools for manipulation are desired. Optogenetics allows to control cellular processes by light and can be applied at a high temporal and spatial resolution. In the last three decades, various optogenetic applications have been developed for animal, fungal, and prokaryotic cells. However, using optogenetics in plants has been difficult due to biological and technical issues, like missing cofactors, the presence of endogenous photoreceptors, or the necessity of light for photosynthesis, which potentially activates optogenetic tools constitutively. Recently developed tools overcome these limitations, making the application of optogenetics feasible also in plants. Here, we highlight the most useful recent applications in plants and give a perspective for future optogenetic approaches in plants science.
Point (S-to-G) Mutations in the W(S/G)GE Motif in Red/Green Cyanobacteriochrome GAF Domains Enhance Thermal Reversion Rates.
Cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs) are photoreceptors consisting of single or tandem GAF (cGMP-phosphodiesterase/adenylate cyclase/FhlA) domains that bind bilin chromophores. Canonical red/green CBCR GAF domains are a well-characterized subgroup of the expanded red/green CBCR GAF domain family that binds phycocyanobilin (PCB) and converts between a thermally stable red-absorbing Pr state and a green-absorbing Pg state. The rate of thermal reversion from Pg to Pr varies widely among canonical red/green CBCR GAF domains, with half-lives ranging from days to seconds. Since the thermal reversion rate is an important parameter for the application of CBCR GAF domains as optogenetic tools, the molecular factors controlling the thermal reversion rate are of particular interest. Here, we report that point mutations in a well-conserved W(S/G)GE motif alter reversion rates in canonical red/green CBCR GAF domains in a predictable manner. Specifically, S-to-G mutations enhance thermal reversion rates, while the reverse, G-to-S mutations slow thermal reversion. Despite the distance (>10 Å) of the mutation site from the chromophore, molecular dynamics simulations and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses suggest that the presence of a glycine residue allows the formation of a water bridge that alters the conformational dynamics of chromophore-interacting residues, leading to enhanced Pg to Pr thermal reversion.
Optogenetic technologies in translational cancer research.
Gene and cell therapies are widely recognized as future cancer therapeutics but poor controllability limits their clinical applications. Optogenetics, the use of light-controlled proteins to precisely spatiotemporally regulate the activity of genes and cells, opens up new possibilities for cancer treatment. Light of specific wavelength can activate the immune response, oncolytic activity and modulate cell signaling in tumor cells non-invasively, in dosed manner, with tissue confined action and without side effects of conventional therapies. Here, we review optogenetic approaches in cancer research, their clinical potential and challenges of incorporating optogenetics in cancer therapy. We critically discuss beneficial combinations of optogenetic technologies with therapeutic nanobodies, T-cell activation and CAR-T cell approaches, genome editors and oncolytic viruses. We consider viral vectors and nanoparticles for delivering optogenetic payloads and activating light to tumors. Finally, we highlight herein the prospects for integrating optogenetics into immunotherapy as a novel, fast, reversible and safe approach to cancer treatment.
Platforms for Optogenetic Stimulation and Feedback Control.
Harnessing the potential of optogenetics in biology requires methodologies from different disciplines ranging from biology, to mechatronics engineering, to control engineering. Light stimulation of a synthetic optogenetic construct in a given biological species can only be achieved via a suitable light stimulation platform. Emerging optogenetic applications entail a consistent, reproducible, and regulated delivery of light adapted to the application requirement. In this review, we explore the evolution of light-induction hardware-software platforms from simple illumination set-ups to sophisticated microscopy, microtiter plate and bioreactor designs, and discuss their respective advantages and disadvantages. Here, we examine design approaches followed in performing optogenetic experiments spanning different cell types and culture volumes, with induction capabilities ranging from single cell stimulation to entire cell culture illumination. The development of automated measurement and stimulation schemes on these platforms has enabled researchers to implement various in silico feedback control strategies to achieve computer-controlled living systems-a theme we briefly discuss in the last part of this review.
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.
Engineering Light-Control in Biology.
Unraveling the transformative power of optogenetics in biology requires sophisticated engineering for the creation and optimization of light-regulatable proteins. In addition, diverse strategies have been used for the tuning of these light-sensitive regulators. This review highlights different protein engineering and synthetic biology approaches, which might aid in the development and optimization of novel optogenetic proteins (Opto-proteins). Focusing on non-neuronal optogenetics, chromophore availability, general strategies for creating light-controllable functions, modification of the photosensitive domains and their fusion to effector domains, as well as tuning concepts for Opto-proteins are discussed. Thus, this review shall not serve as an encyclopedic summary of light-sensitive regulators but aims at discussing important aspects for the engineering of light-controllable proteins through selected examples.
Optogenetic tools for microbial synthetic biology.
Chemical induction is one of the most common modalities used to manipulate gene expression in living systems. However, chemical induction can be toxic or expensive that compromise the economic feasibility when it comes to industrial-scale synthetic biology applications. These complications have driven the pursuit of better induction systems. Optogenetics technique can be a solution as it not only enables dynamic control with unprecedented spatiotemporal precision but also is inexpensive and eco-friendlier. The optogenetic technique harnesses natural light-sensing modules that are genetically encodable and re-programmable in various hosts. By further engineering these modules to connect with the microbial regulatory machinery, gene expression and protein activity can be finely tuned simply through light irradiation. Recent works on applying optogenetics to microbial synthetic biology have yielded remarkable achievements. To further expand the usability of optogenetics, more optogenetic tools with greater portability that are compatible with different microbial hosts need to be developed. This review focuses on non-opsin optogenetic systems and the current state of optogenetic advancements in microbes, by showcasing the different designs and functions of optogenetic tools, followed by an insight into the optogenetic approaches used to circumvent challenges in synthetic biology.
Optogenetics Illuminates Applications in Microbial Engineering.
Optogenetics has been used in a variety of microbial engineering applications, such as chemical and protein production, studies of cell physiology, and engineered microbe-host interactions. These diverse applications benefit from the precise spatiotemporal control that light affords, as well as its tunability, reversibility, and orthogonality. This combination of unique capabilities has enabled a surge of studies in recent years investigating complex biological systems with completely new approaches. We briefly describe the optogenetic tools that have been developed for microbial engineering, emphasizing the scientific advancements that they have enabled. In particular, we focus on the unique benefits and applications of implementing optogenetic control, from bacterial therapeutics to cybergenetics. Finally, we discuss future research directions, with special attention given to the development of orthogonal multichromatic controls. With an abundance of advantages offered by optogenetics, the future is bright in microbial engineering. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Volume 13 is October 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Optophysiology: Illuminating cell physiology with optogenetics.
Optogenetics combines light and genetics to enable precise control of living cells, tissues, and organisms with tailored functions. Optogenetics has the advantages of noninvasiveness, rapid responsiveness, tunable reversibility, and superior spatiotemporal resolution. Following the initial discovery of microbial opsins as light-actuated ion channels, a plethora of naturally occurring or engineered photoreceptors or photosensitive domains that respond to light at varying wavelengths has ushered in the next chapter of optogenetics. Through protein engineering and synthetic biology approaches, genetically encoded photoswitches can be modularly engineered into protein scaffolds or host cells to control a myriad of biological processes, as well as to enable behavioral control and disease intervention in vivo. Here, we summarize these optogenetic tools on the basis of their fundamental photochemical properties to better inform the chemical basis and design principles. We also highlight exemplary applications of opsin-free optogenetics in dissecting cellular physiology (designated "optophysiology") and describe the current progress, as well as future trends, in wireless optogenetics, which enables remote interrogation of physiological processes with minimal invasiveness. This review is anticipated to spark novel thoughts on engineering next-generation optogenetic tools and devices that promise to accelerate both basic and translational studies.
Development of Optogenetic Dual-Switch System for Rewiring Metabolic Flux for Polyhydroxybutyrate Production.
Several strategies, including inducer addition and biosensor use, have been developed for dynamical regulation. However, the toxicity, cost, and inflexibility of existing strategies have created a demand for superior technology. In this study, we designed an optogenetic dual-switch system and applied it to increase polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production. First, an optimized chromatic acclimation sensor/regulator (RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR) system (comprising an optimized ribosomal binding site (RBS), light sensory protein CcaS, and response regulator CcaR) was selected for a wide sensing range of approximately 10-fold between green-light activation and red-light repression. The RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR system was combined with a blue light-activated YF1-FixJ-PhlF system (containing histidine kinase YF1, response regulator FixJ, and repressor PhlF) engineered with reduced crosstalk. Finally, the optogenetic dual-switch system was used to rewire the metabolic flux for PHB production by regulating the sequences and intervals of the citrate synthase gene (gltA) and PHB synthesis gene (phbCAB) expression. Consequently, the strain RBS34, which has high gltA expression and a time lag of 3 h, achieved the highest PHB content of 16.6 wt%, which was approximately 3-fold that of F34 (expressed at 0 h). The results indicate that the optogenetic dual-switch system was verified as a practical and convenient tool for increasing PHB production.
Optogenetic approaches in biotechnology and biomaterials.
Advances in genetic engineering, combined with the development of optical technologies, have allowed optogenetics to broaden its area of possible applications in recent years. However, the application of optogenetic tools in industry, including biotechnology and the production of biomaterials, is still limited, because each practical task requires the engineering of a specific optogenetic system. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the use of optogenetic tools in the production of biofuels and valuable chemicals, the synthesis of biomedical and polymer materials, and plant agrobiology. We also offer a comprehensive analysis of the properties and industrial applicability of light-controlled and other smart biomaterials. These data allow us to outline the prospects for the future use of optogenetics in bioindustry.
Toward Multiplexed Optogenetic Circuits.
Owing to its ubiquity and easy availability in nature, light has been widely employed to control complex cellular behaviors. Light-sensitive proteins are the foundation to such diverse and multilevel adaptive regulations in a large range of organisms. Due to their remarkable properties and potential applications in engineered systems, exploration and engineering of natural light-sensitive proteins have significantly contributed to expand optogenetic toolboxes with tailor-made performances in synthetic genetic circuits. Progressively, more complex systems have been designed in which multiple photoreceptors, each sensing its dedicated wavelength, are combined to simultaneously coordinate cellular responses in a single cell. In this review, we highlight recent works and challenges on multiplexed optogenetic circuits in natural and engineered systems for a dynamic regulation breakthrough in biotechnological applications.
Directed evolution approaches for optogenetic tool development.
Photoswitchable proteins enable specific molecular events occurring in complex biological settings to be probed in a rapid and reversible fashion. Recent progress in the development of photoswitchable proteins as components of optogenetic tools has been greatly facilitated by directed evolution approaches in vitro, in bacteria, or in yeast. We review these developments and suggest future directions for this rapidly advancing field.
Optogenetics in bacteria - applications and opportunities.
Optogenetics holds the promise of controlling biological processes with superb temporal and spatial resolution at minimal perturbation. Although many of the light-reactive proteins used in optogenetic systems are derived from prokaryotes, applications were largely limited to eukaryotes for a long time. In recent years, however, an increasing number of microbiologists use optogenetics as a powerful new tool to study and control key aspects of bacterial biology in a fast and often reversible manner. After a brief discussion of optogenetic principles, this review provides an overview of the rapidly growing number of optogenetic applications in bacteria, with a particular focus on studies venturing beyond transcriptional control. To guide future experiments, we highlight helpful tools, provide considerations for successful application of optogenetics in bacterial systems, and identify particular opportunities and challenges that arise when applying these approaches in bacteria.