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 35 results

Light-regulated gene expression in Bacteria: Fundamentals, advances, and perspectives.

blue green near-infrared red violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 14 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.1029403 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Optogenetic Control of Bacterial Expression by Red Light.

blue red DrBphP PAL E. coli Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 23 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.2c00259 Link to full text
Abstract: In optogenetics, as in nature, sensory photoreceptors serve to control cellular processes by light. Bacteriophytochrome (BphP) photoreceptors sense red and far-red light via a biliverdin chromophore and, in response, cycle between the spectroscopically, structurally, and functionally distinct Pr and Pfr states. BphPs commonly belong to two-component systems that control the phosphorylation of cognate response regulators and downstream gene expression through histidine kinase modules. We recently demonstrated that the paradigm BphP from Deinococcus radiodurans exclusively acts as a phosphatase but that its photosensory module can control the histidine kinase activity of homologous receptors. Here, we apply this insight to reprogram two widely used setups for bacterial gene expression from blue-light to red-light control. The resultant pREDusk and pREDawn systems allow gene expression to be regulated down and up, respectively, uniformly under red light by 100-fold or more. Both setups are realized as portable, single plasmids that encode all necessary components including the biliverdin-producing machinery. The triggering by red light affords high spatial resolution down to the single-cell level. As pREDusk and pREDawn respond sensitively to red light, they support multiplexing with optogenetic systems sensitive to other light colors. Owing to the superior tissue penetration of red light, the pREDawn system can be triggered at therapeutically safe light intensities through material layers, replicating the optical properties of the skin and skull. Given these advantages, pREDusk and pREDawn enable red-light-regulated expression for diverse use cases in bacteria.

Shedding light on current trends in molecular optogenetics.

blue green red violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Chem Biol, 18 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2022.102196 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Engineering of optogenetic devices for biomedical applications in mammalian synthetic biology.

blue near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Eng Biol, 7 Jul 2022 DOI: 10.1049/enb2.12022 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Optogenetics for transcriptional programming and genetic engineering.

blue cyan near-infrared red UV violet Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Trends Genet, 20 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2022.05.014 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics combines genetics and biophotonics to enable noninvasive control of biological processes with high spatiotemporal precision. When engineered into protein machineries that govern the cellular information flow as depicted in the central dogma, multiple genetically encoded non-opsin photosensory modules have been harnessed to modulate gene transcription, DNA or RNA modifications, DNA recombination, and genome engineering by utilizing photons emitting in the wide range of 200-1000 nm. We present herein generally applicable modular strategies for optogenetic engineering and highlight latest advances in the broad applications of opsin-free optogenetics to program transcriptional outputs and precisely manipulate the mammalian genome, epigenome, and epitranscriptome. We also discuss current challenges and future trends in opsin-free optogenetics, which has been rapidly evolving to meet the growing needs in synthetic biology and genetics research.

Extracellular Optogenetics at the Interface of Synthetic Biology and Materials Science.

blue cyan green red UV violet Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 14 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.903982 Link to full text
Abstract: We review fundamental mechanisms and applications of OptoGels: hydrogels with light-programmable properties endowed by photoswitchable proteins ("optoproteins") found in nature. Light, as the primary source of energy on earth, has driven evolution to develop highly-tuned functionalities, such as phototropism and circadian entrainment. These functions are mediated through a growing family of optoproteins that respond to the entire visible spectrum ranging from ultraviolet to infrared by changing their structure to transmit signals inside of cells. In a recent series of articles, engineers and biochemists have incorporated optoproteins into a variety of extracellular systems, endowing them with photocontrollability. While other routes exist for dynamically controlling material properties, light-sensitive proteins have several distinct advantages, including precise spatiotemporal control, reversibility, substrate selectivity, as well as biodegradability and biocompatibility. Available conjugation chemistries endow OptoGels with a combinatorially large design space determined by the set of optoproteins and polymer networks. These combinations result in a variety of tunable material properties. Despite their potential, relatively little of the OptoGel design space has been explored. Here, we aim to summarize innovations in this emerging field and highlight potential future applications of these next generation materials. OptoGels show great promise in applications ranging from mechanobiology, to 3D cell and organoid engineering, and programmable cell eluting materials.

A red light-responsive photoswitch for deep tissue optogenetics.

near-infrared red BphP1/Q-PAS1 DrBphP MagRed HEK293T HeLa in vitro Neuro-2a Transgene expression
Nat Biotechnol, 13 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41587-022-01351-w Link to full text
Abstract: Red light penetrates deep into mammalian tissues and has low phototoxicity, but few optogenetic tools that use red light have been developed. Here we present MagRed, a red light-activatable photoswitch that consists of a red light-absorbing bacterial phytochrome incorporating a mammalian endogenous chromophore, biliverdin and a photo-state-specific binder that we developed using Affibody library selection. Red light illumination triggers the binding of the two components of MagRed and the assembly of split-proteins fused to them. Using MagRed, we developed a red light-activatable Cre recombinase, which enables light-activatable DNA recombination deep in mammalian tissues. We also created red light-inducible transcriptional regulators based on CRISPR-Cas9 that enable an up to 378-fold activation (average, 135-fold induction) of multiple endogenous target genes. MagRed will facilitate optogenetic applications deep in mammalian organisms in a variety of biological research areas.

A general approach for engineering RTKs optically controlled with far-red light.

red DrBphP HEK293 mouse in vivo Neuro-2a PC6-3 rat cortical neurons Signaling cascade control Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
Nat Methods, 9 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-022-01517-z Link to full text
Abstract: Regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) activity is necessary for studying cell signaling pathways in health and disease. We developed a generalized approach for engineering RTKs optically controlled with far-red light. We targeted the bacterial phytochrome DrBphP to the cell surface and allowed its light-induced conformational changes to be transmitted across the plasma membrane via transmembrane helices to intracellular RTK domains. Systematic optimization of these constructs has resulted in optically regulated epidermal growth factor receptor, HER2, TrkA, TrkB, FGFR1, IR1, cKIT and cMet, named eDrRTKs. eDrRTKs induced downstream signaling in mammalian cells in tens of seconds. The ability to activate eDrRTKs with far-red light enabled spectral multiplexing with fluorescent probes operating in a shorter spectral range, allowing for all-optical assays. We validated eDrTrkB performance in mice and found that minimally invasive stimulation in the neocortex with penetrating via skull far-red light-induced neural activity, early immediate gene expression and affected sleep patterns.

Benchmarking of Cph1 Mutants and DrBphP for Light-Responsive Phytochrome-Based Hydrogels with Reversibly Adjustable Mechanical Properties.

red Cph1 DrBphP Benchmarking
Adv Biol (Weinh), 28 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000337 Link to full text
Abstract: In the rapidly expanding field of molecular optogenetics, the performance of the engineered systems relies on the switching properties of the underlying genetically encoded photoreceptors. In this study, the bacterial phytochromes Cph1 and DrBphP are engineered, recombinantly produced in Escherichia coli, and characterized regarding their switching properties in order to synthesize biohybrid hydrogels with increased light-responsive stiffness modulations. The R472A mutant of the cyanobacterial phytochrome 1 (Cph1) is identified to confer the phytochrome-based hydrogels with an increased dynamic range for the storage modulus but a different light-response for the loss modulus compared to the original Cph1-based hydrogel. Stiffness measurements of human atrial fibroblasts grown on these hydrogels suggest that differences in the loss modulus at comparable changes in the storage modulus affect cell stiffness and thus underline the importance of matrix viscoelasticity on cellular mechanotransduction. The hydrogels presented here are of interest for analyzing how mammalian cells respond to dynamic viscoelastic cues. Moreover, the Cph1-R472A mutant, as well as the benchmarking of the other phytochrome variants, are expected to foster the development and performance of future optogenetic systems.

Combinatorial Approaches for Efficient Design of Photoswitchable Protein-Protein Interactions as In Vivo Actuators.

blue near-infrared red Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 8 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.844405 Link to full text
Abstract: Light switchable two-component protein dimerization systems offer versatile manipulation and dissection of cellular events in living systems. Over the past 20 years, the field has been driven by the discovery of photoreceptor-based interaction systems, the engineering of light-actuatable binder proteins, and the development of photoactivatable compounds as dimerization inducers. This perspective is to categorize mechanisms and design approaches of these dimerization systems, compare their advantages and limitations, and bridge them to emerging applications. Our goal is to identify new opportunities in combinatorial protein design that can address current engineering challenges and expand in vivo applications.

Optophysiology: Illuminating cell physiology with optogenetics.

blue cyan green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Physiol Rev, 24 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00021.2021 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Optogenetic activation of intracellular signaling based on light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Neural Regen Res, Jan 2022 DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.314293 Link to full text
Abstract: Dynamic protein-protein interactions are essential for proper cell functioning. Homo-interaction events-physical interactions between the same type of proteins-represent a pivotal subset of protein-protein interactions that are widely exploited in activating intracellular signaling pathways. Capacities of modulating protein-protein interactions with spatial and temporal resolution are greatly desired to decipher the dynamic nature of signal transduction mechanisms. The emerging optogenetic technology, based on genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins, provides promising opportunities to dissect the highly complex signaling networks with unmatched specificity and spatiotemporal precision. Here we review recent achievements in the development of optogenetic tools enabling light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions and their applications in optical activation of signaling pathways.

Directed evolution approaches for optogenetic tool development.

blue green near-infrared red Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biochem Soc Trans, 17 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1042/bst20210700 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Comparative analysis of two paradigm bacteriophytochromes reveals opposite functionalities in two-component signaling.

red Phytochromes Background
Nat Commun, 20 Jul 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24676-7 Link to full text
Abstract: Bacterial phytochrome photoreceptors usually belong to two-component signaling systems which transmit environmental stimuli to a response regulator through a histidine kinase domain. Phytochromes switch between red light-absorbing and far-red light-absorbing states. Despite exhibiting extensive structural responses during this transition, the model bacteriophytochrome from Deinococcus radiodurans (DrBphP) lacks detectable kinase activity. Here, we resolve this long-standing conundrum by comparatively analyzing the interactions and output activities of DrBphP and a bacteriophytochrome from Agrobacterium fabrum (Agp1). Whereas Agp1 acts as a conventional histidine kinase, we identify DrBphP as a light-sensitive phosphatase. While Agp1 binds its cognate response regulator only transiently, DrBphP does so strongly, which is rationalized at the structural level. Our data pinpoint two key residues affecting the balance between kinase and phosphatase activities, which immediately bears on photoreception and two-component signaling. The opposing output activities in two highly similar bacteriophytochromes suggest the use of light-controllable histidine kinases and phosphatases for optogenetics.

Changes in tongue-palatal contact during swallowing in patients with skeletal mandibular prognathism after orthognathic surgery.

near-infrared red BphP1/Q-PAS1 DrBphP HEK293T HeLa Neuro-2a Transgene expression Endogenous gene expression
PLoS ONE, 19 May 2021 DOI: 10.21203/ Link to full text
Abstract: This study aimed to evaluate improvement of tongue-palatal contact patterns during swallowing after orthognathic surgery in mandibular prognathism patients. Thirty patients with mandibular prognathism treated by orthognathic surgery (average age of 27 years, 3 months) and 10 controls (average age 29 years, 6 months) participated in this study. Tongue-palatal contact patterns of patients before and three months after surgery were evaluated by electropalatography (EPG) as well as controls. Whole total of tongue-palatal contact at 0.3, 0.2, and 0.1 sec before complete tongue-palatal contact during swallowing were evaluated. The duration of swallowing phases was also examined. Complete contact of tongue-tip in the alveolar part of individual artificial EPG plate were shown at 0.3, 0.2, and 0.1 sec before complete tongue-palatal contact in the controls, although incomplete contact in the alveolar part were shown at 0.3 sec in mandibular prognathism patients. Whole total of tongue-palatal contact at 0.3 and 0.2 sec before complete tongue-palatal contact was significantly lower in the patients before surgery than in the controls (p<0.05). However, these values increased after surgery. The duration of oral and pharyngeal phase was significantly longer in the patients before surgery than in the controls and the patients after surgery (p<0.01). This study demonstrated that the tongue-palatal contact pattern improved and the duration of oral and pharyngeal phase was shortened in mandibular prognathism patients during swallowing after orthognathic surgery. It is suggested that changes in maxillofacial morphology by orthognathic surgery can induce normal tongue movement during swallowing. (The data underlying this study have been uploaded to figshare and are accessible using the following DOI:

Optogenetic Approaches for the Spatiotemporal Control of Signal Transduction Pathways.

blue cyan green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Int J Mol Sci, 18 May 2021 DOI: 10.3390/ijms22105300 Link to full text
Abstract: Biological signals are sensed by their respective receptors and are transduced and processed by a sophisticated intracellular signaling network leading to a signal-specific cellular response. Thereby, the response to the signal depends on the strength, the frequency, and the duration of the stimulus as well as on the subcellular signal progression. Optogenetic tools are based on genetically encoded light-sensing proteins facilitating the precise spatiotemporal control of signal transduction pathways and cell fate decisions in the absence of natural ligands. In this review, we provide an overview of optogenetic approaches connecting light-regulated protein-protein interaction or caging/uncaging events with steering the function of signaling proteins. We briefly discuss the most common optogenetic switches and their mode of action. The main part deals with the engineering and application of optogenetic tools for the control of transmembrane receptors including receptor tyrosine kinases, the T cell receptor and integrins, and their effector proteins. We also address the hallmarks of optogenetics, the spatial and temporal control of signaling events.

Steering Molecular Activity with Optogenetics: Recent Advances and Perspectives.

blue cyan green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Adv Biol, 14 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202000180 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics utilizes photosensitive proteins to manipulate the localization and interaction of molecules in living cells. Because light can be rapidly switched and conveniently confined to the sub‐micrometer scale, optogenetics allows for controlling cellular events with an unprecedented resolution in time and space. The past decade has witnessed an enormous progress in the field of optogenetics within the biological sciences. The ever‐increasing amount of optogenetic tools, however, can overwhelm the selection of appropriate optogenetic strategies. Considering that each optogenetic tool may have a distinct mode of action, a comparative analysis of the current optogenetic toolbox can promote the further use of optogenetics, especially by researchers new to this field. This review provides such a compilation that highlights the spatiotemporal accuracy of current optogenetic systems. Recent advances of optogenetics in live cells and animal models are summarized, the emerging work that interlinks optogenetics with other research fields is presented, and exciting clinical and industrial efforts to employ optogenetic strategy toward disease intervention are reported.

Real-time observation of tetrapyrrole binding to an engineered bacterial phytochrome.

red Phytochromes Background
Commun Chem, 4 Jan 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s42004-020-00437-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Near-infrared fluorescent proteins (NIR FPs) engineered from bacterial phytochromes are widely used for structural and functional deep-tissue imaging in vivo. To fluoresce, NIR FPs covalently bind a chromophore, such as biliverdin IXa tetrapyrrole. The efficiency of biliverdin binding directly affects the fluorescence properties, rendering understanding of its molecular mechanism of major importance. miRFP proteins constitute a family of bright monomeric NIR FPs that comprise a Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) and cGMP-specific phosphodiesterases - Adenylyl cyclases - FhlA (GAF) domain. Here, we structurally analyze biliverdin binding to miRFPs in real time using time-resolved stimulated Raman spectroscopy and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations. Biliverdin undergoes isomerization, localization to its binding pocket, and pyrrolenine nitrogen protonation in <1 min, followed by hydrogen bond rearrangement in ~2 min. The covalent attachment to a cysteine in the GAF domain was detected in 4.3 min and 19 min in miRFP670 and its C20A mutant, respectively. In miRFP670, a second C-S covalent bond formation to a cysteine in the PAS domain occurred in 14 min, providing a rigid tetrapyrrole structure with high brightness. Our findings provide insights for the rational design of NIR FPs and a novel method to assess cofactor binding to light-sensitive proteins.

Creating Red Light-Switchable Protein Dimerization Systems as Genetically Encoded Actuators with High Specificity.

near-infrared red BphP1/PpsR2 DrBphP HEK293T HeLa mouse in vivo S. cerevisiae
ACS Synth Biol, 12 Nov 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00397 Link to full text
Abstract: Protein dimerization systems controlled by red light with increased tissue penetration depth are a highly needed tool for clinical applications such as cell and gene therapies. However, mammalian applications of existing red light-induced dimerization systems are hampered by limitations of their two components: a photosensory protein (or photoreceptor) which often requires a mammalian exogenous chromophore and a naturally occurring photoreceptor binding protein typically having a complex structure and nonideal binding properties. Here, we introduce an efficient, generalizable method (COMBINES-LID) for creating highly specific, reversible light-induced heterodimerization systems independent of any existing binders to a photoreceptor. It involves a two-step binder screen (phage display and yeast two-hybrid) of a combinatorial nanobody library to obtain binders that selectively engage a light-activated form of a photoswitchable protein or domain not the dark form. Proof-of-principle was provided by engineering nanobody-based, red light-induced dimerization (nanoReD) systems comprising a truncated bacterial phytochrome sensory module using a mammalian endogenous chromophore, biliverdin, and light-form specific nanobodies. Selected nanoReD systems were biochemically characterized, exhibiting low dark activity and high induction specificity, and further demonstrated for the reversible control of protein translocation and activation of gene expression in mice. Overall, COMBINES-LID opens new opportunities for creating genetically encoded actuators for the optical manipulation of biological processes.

Light control of RTK activity: from technology development to translational research.

blue cyan green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Chem Sci, 7 Sep 2020 DOI: 10.1039/d0sc03570j Link to full text
Abstract: Inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) by small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies is used to treat cancer. Conversely, activation of RTKs with their ligands, including growth factors and insulin, is used to treat diabetes and neurodegeneration. However, conventional therapies that rely on injection of RTK inhibitors or activators do not provide spatiotemporal control over RTK signaling, which results in diminished efficiency and side effects. Recently, a number of optogenetic and optochemical approaches have been developed that allow RTK inhibition or activation in cells and in vivo with light. Light irradiation can control RTK signaling non-invasively, in a dosed manner, with high spatio-temporal precision, and without the side effects of conventional treatments. Here we provide an update on the current state of the art of optogenetic and optochemical RTK technologies and the prospects of their use in translational studies and therapy.

Illuminating a Phytochrome Paradigm- a Light-Activated Phosphatase in Two-Component Signaling Uncovered.

red Phytochromes Background
bioRxiv, 27 Jun 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.26.173310 Link to full text
Abstract: Bacterial phytochrome photoreceptors usually belong to two-component signaling systems which transmit environmental stimuli to a response regulator through a histidine kinase domain. Phytochromes switch between red light-absorbing and far-red light-absorbing states. Despite exhibiting extensive structural responses during this transition, the model bacteriophytochrome from Deinococcus radiodurans (DrBphP) lacks detectable kinase activity. Here, we resolve this long-standing conundrum by comparatively analyzing the interactions and output activities of DrBphP and a bacteriophytochrome from Agrobacterium fabrum (AgP1). Whereas AgP1 acts as a conventional histidine kinase, we identify DrBphP as a light-sensitive phosphatase. While AgP1 binds its cognate response regulator only transiently, DrBphP does so strongly, which is rationalized at the structural level. Our data pinpoint two key residues affecting the balance between kinase and phosphatase activities, which immediately bears on photoreception and two-component signaling. The opposing output activities in two highly similar bacteriophytochromes inform the use of light-controllable histidine kinases and phosphatases for optogenetics.

Bacterial Phytochrome as a Scaffold for Engineering of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases Controlled with Near-Infrared Light.

red DrBphP HeLa PC6-3 Signaling cascade control
J Mol Biol, 14 Apr 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.04.005 Link to full text
Abstract: Optically controlled receptor tyrosine kinases (opto-RTKs) allow regulation of RTK signaling using light. Until recently, the majority of opto-RTKs were activated with blue-green light. Fusing a photosensory core module of Deinococcus radiodurans bacterial phytochrome (DrBphP-PCM) to the kinase domains of neurotrophin receptors resulted in opto-RTKs controlled with light above 650 nm. To expand this engineering approach to RTKs of other families, here we combined the DrBpP-PCM with the cytoplasmic domains of EGFR and FGFR1. The resultant Dr-EGFR and Dr-FGFR1 opto-RTKs are rapidly activated with near-infrared and inactivated with far-red light. The opto-RTKs efficiently trigger ERK1/2, PI3K/Akt, and PLCγ signaling. Absence of spectral crosstalk between the opto-RTKs and green fluorescent protein-based biosensors enables simultaneous Dr-FGFR1 activation and detection of calcium transients. Action mechanism of the DrBphP-PCM-based opto-RTKs is considered using the available RTK structures. DrBphP-PCM represents a versatile scaffold for engineering of opto-RTKs that are reversibly regulated with far-red and near-infrared light.

Dynamic Properties of the Photosensory Domain of Deinococcus radiodurans Bacteriophytochrome.

red Phytochromes Background
J Phys Chem B, 21 Feb 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c00612 Link to full text
Abstract: Phytochromes are biological photoreceptors found in all kingdoms of life. Numerous physicochemical and spectroscopic studies of phytochromes have been carried out for many decades, both experimentally and computationally, with the main focus on the photoconversion mechanism involving a tetrapyrrole chromophore. In this computational work, we concentrate on the long-scale dynamic motion of the photosensory domain of Deinococcus radiodurans by means of classical all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Conventional and accelerated MD methods in combination with two different force fields, CHARMM27 and AMBER ff14SB, are tested in long atomistic simulations to confront the dynamics of monomer and dimer forms. These calculations highlight dissimilar equilibrium conformations in aqueous solutions and, in turn, different large-scale dynamic behaviors of the monomer form vs the dimer form. While the phytochrome in a monomer form tends to close the cavity entailed between the GAF and PHY domains, the opposite trend is predicted for the phytochrome dimer, which opens up as a consequence of the formation of strong salt bridges between the PHY domains of two molecules in water.

Phytochromes and Cyanobacteriochromes: Photoreceptor Molecules Incorporating a Linear Tetrapyrrole Chromophore.

green near-infrared red violet Cyanobacteriochromes Phytochromes Review
Adv Exp Med Biol, 6 Jan 2020 DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-8763-4_10 Link to full text
Abstract: In this chapter, we summarize the molecular mechanisms of the linear tetrapyrrole-binding photoreceptors, phytochromes, and cyanobacteriochromes. We especially focus on the color-tuning mechanisms and conformational changes during the photoconversion process. Furthermore, we introduce current status of development of the optogenetic tools based on these molecules. Huge repertoire of these photoreceptors with diverse spectral properties would contribute to development of multiplex optogenetic regulation. Among them, the photoreceptors incorporating the biliverdin IXα chromophore is advantageous for in vivo optogenetics because this is intrinsic in the mammalian cells, and absorbs far-red light penetrating into deep mammalian tissues.

Functional Modulation of Receptor Proteins on Cellular Interface with Optogenetic System.

blue green red UV violet Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Adv Exp Med Biol, 6 Jan 2020 DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-8763-4_15 Link to full text
Abstract: In multicellular organisms, living cells cooperate with each other to exert coordinated complex functions by responding to extracellular chemical or physical stimuli via proteins on the plasma membrane. Conventionally, chemical signal transduction or mechano-transduction has been investigated by chemical, genetic, or physical perturbation; however, these methods cannot manipulate biomolecular reactions at high spatiotemporal resolution. In contrast, recent advances in optogenetic perturbation approaches have succeeded in controlling signal transduction with external light. The methods have enabled spatiotemporal perturbation of the signaling, providing functional roles of the specific proteins. In this chapter, we summarize recent advances in the optogenetic tools that modulate the function of a receptor protein. While most optogenetic systems have been devised for controlling ion channel conductivities, the present review focuses on the other membrane proteins involved in chemical transduction or mechano-transduction. We describe the properties of natural or artificial photoreceptor proteins used in optogenetic systems. Then, we discuss the strategies for controlling the receptor protein functions by external light. Future prospects of optogenetic tool development are discussed.
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