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 54 results
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High-Throughput Optogenetics Experiments in Yeast Using the Automated Platform Lustro.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets S. cerevisiae
J Vis Exp, 4 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.3791/65686 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics offers precise control over cellular behavior by utilizing genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins. However, optimizing these systems to achieve the desired functionality often requires multiple design-build-test cycles, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address this challenge, we have developed Lustro, a platform that combines light stimulation with laboratory automation, enabling efficient high-throughput screening and characterization of optogenetic systems. Lustro utilizes an automation workstation equipped with an illumination device, a shaking device, and a plate reader. By employing a robotic arm, Lustro automates the movement of a microwell plate between these devices, allowing for the stimulation of optogenetic strains and the measurement of their response. This protocol provides a step-by-step guide on using Lustro to characterize optogenetic systems for gene expression control in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The protocol covers the setup of Lustro's components, including the integration of the illumination device with the automation workstation. It also provides detailed instructions for programming the illumination device, plate reader, and robot, ensuring smooth operation and data acquisition throughout the experimental process.

Opto-RhoGEFs, an optimized optogenetic toolbox to reversibly control Rho GTPase activity on a global to subcellular scale, enabling precise control over vascular endothelial barrier strength.

blue iLID Magnets hBE HeLa Signaling cascade control Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Elife, 14 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.7554/elife.84364 Link to full text
Abstract: The inner layer of blood vessels consists of endothelial cells, which form the physical barrier between blood and tissue. This vascular barrier is tightly regulated and is defined by cell-cell contacts through adherens and tight junctions. To investigate the signaling that regulates vascular barrier strength, we focused on Rho GTPases, regulators of the actin cytoskeleton and known to control junction integrity. To manipulate Rho GTPase signaling in a temporal and spatial manner we applied optogenetics. Guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) domains from ITSN1, TIAM1, and p63RhoGEF, activating Cdc42, Rac, and Rho, respectively, were integrated into the optogenetic recruitment tool improved light-induced dimer (iLID). This tool allows for Rho GTPase activation at the subcellular level in a reversible and non-invasive manner by recruiting a GEF to a specific area at the plasma membrane, The membrane tag of iLID was optimized and a HaloTag was applied to gain more flexibility for multiplex imaging. The resulting optogenetically recruitable RhoGEFs (Opto-RhoGEFs) were tested in an endothelial cell monolayer and demonstrated precise temporal control of vascular barrier strength by a cell-cell overlap-dependent, VE-cadherin-independent, mechanism. Furthermore, Opto-RhoGEFs enabled precise optogenetic control in endothelial cells over morphological features such as cell size, cell roundness, local extension, and cell contraction. In conclusion, we have optimized and applied the optogenetic iLID GEF recruitment tool, that is Opto-RhoGEFs, to study the role of Rho GTPases in the vascular barrier of the endothelium and found that membrane protrusions at the junction region can rapidly increase barrier integrity independent of VE-cadherin.

Lustro: High-Throughput Optogenetic Experiments Enabled by Automation and a Yeast Optogenetic Toolkit.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 11 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.3c00215 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic systems use genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins to control cellular processes. This provides the potential to orthogonally control cells with light; however, these systems require many design-build-test cycles to achieve a functional design and multiple illumination variables need to be laboriously tuned for optimal stimulation. We combine laboratory automation and a modular cloning scheme to enable high-throughput construction and characterization of optogenetic split transcription factors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We expand the yeast optogenetic toolkit to include variants of the cryptochromes and enhanced Magnets, incorporate these light-sensitive dimerizers into split transcription factors, and automate illumination and measurement of cultures in a 96-well microplate format for high-throughput characterization. We use this approach to rationally design and test an optimized enhanced Magnet transcription factor with improved light-sensitive gene expression. This approach is generalizable to the high-throughput characterization of optogenetic systems across a range of biological systems and applications.

A non-invasive photoactivatable split-Cre recombinase system for genome engineering in zebrafish.

blue Magnets zebrafish in vivo Nucleic acid editing
bioRxiv, 25 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.06.23.546268 Link to full text
Abstract: The cyclic recombinase (Cre)/loxP recombination system is a powerful technique for in vivo cell labeling and tracking. However, achieving high spatiotemporal precision in cell tracking using this system is challenging due to the requirement for reliable tissue-specific promoters. In contrast, light-inducible systems offer superior regional confinement, tunability and non-invasiveness compared to conventional lineage tracing methods. Here, we took advantage of the unique strengths of the zebrafish to develop an easy-to-use highly efficient, genetically encoded, Magnets-based, light-inducible transgenic Cre/loxP system. Our system relies on the reassembly of split Cre fragments driven by the affinity of the Magnets and is controlled by the zebrafish ubiquitin promoter. We demonstrate that our system does not exhibit phototoxicity or leakiness in the dark, and it enables efficient and robust Cre/loxP recombination in various tissues and cell types at different developmental stages through noninvasive illumination with blue light. Our newly developed tool is expected to open novel opportunities for light-controlled tracking of cell fate and migration in vivo.

Synthetic Frizzled agonist and LRP antagonist for high-efficiency Wnt/β-catenin signaling manipulation in organoid cultures and in vivo.

blue Magnets HEK293T Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 22 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.06.21.545860 Link to full text
Abstract: Wnt/β-catenin signaling and its dysregulation play critical roles in the fate determination of stem cells and the pathology of various diseases. However, the application of translated Wnt ligand in regenerative medicine is hampered by its hydrophobicity and cross-reactivity with Frizzled (FZD) receptors. Here, we generate an engineered water-soluble, FZD subtype-specific agonist, RRP-pbFn, for high-efficiency Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation. In the absence of direct binding to LRP5/6, RRP-pbFn stimulates Wnt/β-catenin signaling more potently than surrogate Wnt. RRP-pbFn supports the growth of a variety of mouse and human organoids, and induces the expansion of liver and intestine progenitors in vivo. Meanwhile, we develop a synthetic LRP antagonist, RRP-Dkk1c, which exhibits heightened effectiveness in attenuating Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity compared to Dkk1, thereby abolishing the formation of CT26-derived colon cancer xenograft in vivo. Together, these two paired Wnt/β-catenin signaling manipulators hold great promise for biomedical research and potential therapeutics.

Detecting Photoactivatable Cre-mediated Gene Deletion Efficiency in Escherichia coli.

blue Magnets E. coli Transgene expression
Bio Protoc, 5 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.21769/bioprotoc.4685 Link to full text
Abstract: Gene deletion is one of the standard approaches in genetics to investigate the roles and functions of target genes. However, the influence of gene deletion on cellular phenotypes is usually analyzed sometime after the gene deletion was introduced. Such lags from gene deletion to phenotype evaluation could select only the fittest fraction of gene-deleted cells and hinder the detection of potentially diverse phenotypic consequences. Therefore, dynamic aspects of gene deletion, such as real-time propagation and compensation of deletion effects on cellular phenotypes, still need to be explored. To resolve this issue, we have recently introduced a new method that combines a photoactivatable Cre recombination system and microfluidic single-cell observation. This method enables us to induce gene deletion at desired timings in single bacterial cells and to monitor their dynamics for prolonged periods. Here, we detail the protocol for estimating the fractions of gene-deleted cells based on a batch-culture assay. The duration of blue light exposure significantly affects the fractions of gene-deleted cells. Therefore, gene-deleted and non-deleted cells can coexist in a cellular population by adjusting the duration of blue light exposure. Single-cell observations under such illumination conditions allow the comparison of temporal dynamics between gene-deleted and non-deleted cells and unravel phenotypic dynamics provoked by gene deletion.

Generation of a photocontrollable recombinant bovine parainfluenza virus type 3.

blue Magnets HEK293T MDBK Transgene expression
Microbiol Immunol, 6 Jan 2023 DOI: 10.1111/1348-0421.13052 Link to full text
Abstract: Bovine parainfluenza virus type 3 (BPIV3) is a promising vaccine vector against various respiratory virus infections, including the human PIV3, respiratory syncytial virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 infections. In this study, we combined the Magnet system and reverse genetic approach to generate photocontrollable BPIV3. An optically controllable Magnet gene was inserted into the H2 region of the BPIV3 large protein gene, which encodes an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. The generated photocontrollable BPIV3 grew in specific regions of the cell sheet only when illuminated with blue light, suggesting that spatiotemporal control can aid in safe clinical applications of BPIV3.

Enhancing the performance of Magnets photosensors through directed evolution.

blue Magnets E. coli HEK293T Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 15 Nov 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.11.14.516313 Link to full text
Abstract: Photosensory protein domains are the basis of optogenetic protein engineering. These domains originate from natural sources where they fulfill specific functions ranging from the protection against photooxidative damage to circadian rhythms. When used in synthetic biology, the features of these photosensory domains can be specifically tailored towards the application of interest, enabling their full exploitation for optogenetic regulation in basic research and applied bioengineering. In this work, we develop and apply a simple, yet powerful, directed evolution and high-throughput screening strategy that allows us to alter the most fundamental property of the widely used nMag/pMag photodimerization system: its light sensitivity. We identify a set of mutations located within the photosensory domains, which either increase or decrease the light sensitivity at sub-saturating light intensities, while also improving the dark-to-light fold change in certain variants. For some of these variants, photosensitivity and expression levels could be changed independently, showing that the shape of the light-activity dose-response curve can be tuned and adjusted. We functionally characterize the variants in vivo in bacteria on the single-cell and the population levels. We further show that a subset of these variants can be transferred into the mOptoT7 for gene expression regulation in mammalian cells. We demonstrate increased gene expression levels for low light intensities, resulting in reduced potential phototoxicity in long-term experiments. Our findings expand the applicability of the widely used Magnets photosensors by enabling a tuning towards the needs of specific optogenetic regulation strategies. More generally, our approach will aid optogenetic approaches by making the adaptation of photosensor properties possible to better suit specific experimental or bioprocess needs.

Stable Transgenic Mouse Strain with Enhanced Photoactivatable Cre Recombinase for Spatiotemporal Genome Manipulation.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets mouse in vivo primary mouse fibroblasts Nucleic acid editing
Adv Sci (Weinh), 20 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202201352 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic genome engineering is a powerful technology for high-resolution spatiotemporal genetic manipulation, especially for in vivo studies. It is difficult to generate stable transgenic animals carrying a tightly regulated optogenetic system, as its long-term expression induces high background activity. Here, the generation of an enhanced photoactivatable Cre recombinase (ePA-Cre) transgenic mouse strain with stringent light responsiveness and high recombination efficiency is reported. Through serial optimization, ePA-Cre is developed to generate a transgenic mouse line that exhibits 175-fold induction upon illumination. Efficient light-dependent recombination is detected in embryos and various adult tissues of ePA-Cre mice crossed with the Ai14 tdTomato reporter. Importantly, no significant background Cre activity is detected in the tested tissues except the skin. Moreover, efficient light-inducible cell ablation is achieved in ePA-Cre mice crossed with Rosa26-LSL-DTA mice. In conclusion, ePA-Cre mice offer a tightly inducible, highly efficient, and spatiotemporal-specific genome engineering tool for multiple applications.

Blue Light Signaling Regulates Escherichia coli W1688 Biofilm Formation and l-Threonine Production.

blue Magnets E. coli Control of cell-cell / cell-material interactions
Microbiol Spectr, 27 Sep 2022 DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.02460-22 Link to full text
Abstract: Escherichia coli biofilm may form naturally on biotic and abiotic surfaces; this represents a promising approach for efficient biochemical production in industrial fermentation. Recently, industrial exploitation of the advantages of optogenetics, such as simple operation, high spatiotemporal control, and programmability, for regulation of biofilm formation has garnered considerable attention. In this study, we used the blue light signaling-induced optogenetic system Magnet in an E. coli biofilm-based immobilized fermentation system to produce l-threonine in sufficient quantity. Blue light signaling significantly affected the phenotype of E. coli W1688. A series of biofilm-related experiments confirmed the inhibitory effect of blue light signaling on E. coli W1688 biofilm. Subsequently, a strain lacking a blue light-sensing protein (YcgF) was constructed via genetic engineering, which substantially reduced the inhibitory effect of blue light signaling on biofilm. A high-efficiency biofilm-forming system, Magnet, was constructed, which enhanced bacterial aggregation and biofilm formation. Furthermore, l-threonine production was increased from 10.12 to 16.57 g/L during immobilized fermentation, and the fermentation period was shortened by 6 h. IMPORTANCE We confirmed the mechanism underlying the inhibitory effects of blue light signaling on E. coli biofilm formation and constructed a strain lacking a blue light-sensing protein; this mitigated the aforementioned effects of blue light signaling and ensured normal fermentation performance. Furthermore, this study elucidated that the blue light signaling-induced optogenetic system Magnet effectively regulates E. coli biofilm formation and contributes to l-threonine production. This study not only enriches the mechanism of blue light signaling to regulate E. coli biofilm formation but also provides a theoretical basis and feasibility reference for the application of optogenetics technology in biofilm-based immobilized fermentation systems.

Dynamic cybergenetic control of bacterial co-culture composition via optogenetic feedback.

blue Magnets E. coli Transgene expression
Nat Commun, 16 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32392-z Link to full text
Abstract: Communities of microbes play important roles in natural environments and hold great potential for deploying division-of-labor strategies in synthetic biology and bioproduction. However, the difficulty of controlling the composition of microbial consortia over time hinders their optimal use in many applications. Here, we present a fully automated, high-throughput platform that combines real-time measurements and computer-controlled optogenetic modulation of bacterial growth to implement precise and robust compositional control of a two-strain E. coli community. In addition, we develop a general framework for dynamic modeling of synthetic genetic circuits in the physiological context of E. coli and use a host-aware model to determine the optimal control parameters of our closed-loop compositional control system. Our platform succeeds in stabilizing the strain ratio of multiple parallel co-cultures at arbitrary levels and in changing these targets over time, opening the door for the implementation of dynamic compositional programs in synthetic bacterial communities.

Implementation of a Novel Optogenetic Tool in Mammalian Cells Based on a Split T7 RNA Polymerase.

blue Magnets VVD HEK293T Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 3 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.2c00067 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic tools are widely used to control gene expression dynamics both in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. These tools are used in a variety of biological applications from stem cell differentiation to metabolic engineering. Despite some tools already available in bacteria, no light-inducible system currently exists to control gene expression independently from mammalian transcriptional and/or translational machineries thus working orthogonally to endogenous regulatory mechanisms. Such a tool would be particularly important in synthetic biology, where orthogonality is advantageous to achieve robust activation of synthetic networks. Here we implement, characterize, and optimize a new optogenetic tool in mammalian cells based on a previously published system in bacteria called Opto-T7RNAPs. The tool is orthogonal to the cellular machinery for transcription and consists of a split T7 RNA polymerase coupled with the blue light-inducible magnets system (mammalian OptoT7-mOptoT7). In our study we exploited the T7 polymerase's viral origins to tune our system's expression level, reaching up to an almost 20-fold change activation over the dark control. mOptoT7 is used here to generate mRNA for protein expression, shRNA for protein inhibition, and Pepper aptamer for RNA visualization. Moreover, we show that mOptoT7 can mitigate the gene expression burden when compared to another optogenetic construct. These properties make mOptoT7 a powerful new tool to use when orthogonality and viral RNA species (that lack endogenous RNA modifications) are desired.

Biochemical noise enables a single optogenetic input to control identical cells to track asymmetric and asynchronous reference signals.

blue Magnets in silico
bioRxiv, 5 Jul 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.05.498842 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is a powerful technology to control synthetic gene circuits using external and computer-programmable light inputs. Like all biological processes, these systems are subject to intrinsic noise that arises from the stochastic process of gene regulation at the single-cell level. Many engineers have sought to mitigate this noise by developing more complex embedded bio-circuits, but recent work has shown that noise-exploiting stochastic controllers could enable new control strategies that take advantage of noise, rather than working against it. These noise-exploiting controllers were initially proposed to solve a single-input-multi-output stationary control problem, where symmetry was broken in a means reminiscent to the concept of Maxwell’s Demon. In this paper, we extend those results and show through computation that transient, asymmetric, and asynchronous stochastic control of the single-input-multi-output (SIMO) control problem is posible to achieve by cycling through different controllers in time. We show that such a method is able control two cells to two different periodic fates with different frequencies and different phases despite the use of only one control input.

Optogenetic Maxwell Demon to Exploit Intrinsic Noise and Control Cell Differentiation Despite Time Delays and Extrinsic Variability.

blue Magnets in silico
bioRxiv, 5 Jul 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.05.498841 Link to full text
Abstract: The field of synthetic biology focuses on creating modular components which can be used to generate complex and controllable synthetic biological systems. Unfortunately, the intrinsic noise of gene regulation can be large enough to break these systems. Noise is largely treated as a nuisance and much past effort has been spent to create robust components that are less influenced by noise. However, extensive analysis of noise combined with ‘smart’ microscopy tools and optognenetic actuators can create control opportunities that would be difficult or impossible to achieve in the deterministic setting. In previous work, we proposed an Optogenetic Maxwell’s Demons (OMD) control problem and found that deep understanding and manipulation of noise could create controllers that break symmetry between cells, even when those cells share the same optogenetic input and identical gene regulation circuitry. In this paper, we extend those results to analyze (in silico) the robustness of the OMD control under changes in system volume, with time observation/actuation delays, and subject to parametric model uncertainties.

Dynamic cybergenetic control of bacterial co-culture composition via optogenetic feedback.

blue Magnets E. coli Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 14 Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.06.13.495893 Link to full text
Abstract: Communities of microbes play important roles in natural environments and hold great potential for deploying division-of-labor strategies in synthetic biology and bioproduction. However, the difficulty of controlling the composition of microbial consortia over time hinders their optimal use in many applications. Here, we present a fully automated, high-throughput platform that combines real-time measurements and computer-controlled optogenetic modulation of bacterial growth to implement precise and robust compositional control of a two-strain E. coli community. Additionally, we develop a general framework for dynamic modeling of synthetic genetic circuits in the physiological context of E. coli and use a host-aware model to determine the optimal control parameters of our closed-loop compositional control system. Our platform succeeds in stabilizing the strain ratio of multiple parallel co-cultures at arbitrary levels and in changing these targets over time, opening the door for the implementation of dynamic compositional programs in synthetic bacterial communities.

Engineered Cas9 extracellular vesicles as a novel gene editing tool.

blue red CRY2/CIB1 Magnets PhyB/PIF6 VVD HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
J Extracell Vesicles, May 2022 DOI: 10.1002/jev2.12225 Link to full text
Abstract: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have shown promise as biological delivery vehicles, but therapeutic applications require efficient cargo loading. Here, we developed new methods for CRISPR/Cas9 loading into EVs through reversible heterodimerization of Cas9-fusions with EV sorting partners. Cas9-loaded EVs were collected from engineered Expi293F cells using standard methodology, characterized using nanoparticle tracking analysis, western blotting, and transmission electron microscopy and analysed for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated functional gene editing in a Cre-reporter cellular assay. Light-induced dimerization using Cryptochrome 2 combined with CD9 or a Myristoylation-Palmitoylation-Palmitoylation lipid modification resulted in efficient loading with approximately 25 Cas9 molecules per EV and high functional delivery with 51% gene editing of the Cre reporter cassette in HEK293 and 25% in HepG2 cells, respectively. This approach was also effective for targeting knock-down of the therapeutically relevant PCSK9 gene with 6% indel efficiency in HEK293. Cas9 transfer was detergent-sensitive and associated with the EV fractions after size exclusion chromatography, indicative of EV-mediated transfer. Considering the advantages of EVs over other delivery vectors we envision that this study will prove useful for a range of therapeutic applications, including CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing.

Spatio-temporal, optogenetic control of gene expression in organoids.

blue CRY2/CIB1 Magnets HEK293T human IPSCs Developmental processes Organelle manipulation
bioRxiv, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2021.09.26.461850 Link to full text
Abstract: Organoids derived from stem cells become increasingly important to study human development and to model disease. However, methods are needed to control and study spatio-temporal patterns of gene expression in organoids. To this aim, we combined optogenetics and gene perturbation technologies to activate or knock-down RNA of target genes, at single-cell resolution and in programmable spatio-temporal patterns. To illustrate the usefulness of our approach, we locally activated Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling in an organoid model for human neurodevelopment. High-resolution spatial transcriptomic and single-cell analyses showed that this local induction was sufficient to generate stereotypically patterned organoids in three dimensions and revealed new insights into SHH’s contribution to gene regulation in neurodevelopment. With this study, we propose optogenetic perturbations in combination with spatial transcriptomics as a powerful technology to reprogram and study cell fates and tissue patterning in organoids.

Optogenetic Activation of Intracellular Nanobodies.

blue Magnets HeLa NIH/3T3
Methods Mol Biol, 2022 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2075-5_31 Link to full text
Abstract: Intracellular antibody fragments such as nanobodies and scFvs are powerful tools for imaging and for modulating and neutralizing endogenous target proteins. Optogenetically activated intracellular antibodies (optobodies) constitute a light-inducible system to directly control intrabody activities in cells, with greater spatial and temporal resolution than intracellular antibodies alone. Here, we describe optogenetic and microscopic methods to activate optobodies in cells using a confocal microscope and an automated fluorescence microscope. In the protocol, we use the examples of an optobody targeting green fluorescent protein and an optobody that inhibits the endogenous gelsolin protein.

Rapid and robust optogenetic control of gene expression in Drosophila.

blue Magnets D. melanogaster in vivo Transgene expression Endogenous gene expression
Dev Cell, 29 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.11.016 Link to full text
Abstract: Deciphering gene function requires the ability to control gene expression in space and time. Binary systems such as the Gal4/UAS provide a powerful means to modulate gene expression and to induce loss or gain of function. This is best exemplified in Drosophila, where the Gal4/UAS system has been critical to discover conserved mechanisms in development, physiology, neurobiology, and metabolism, to cite a few. Here we describe a transgenic light-inducible Gal4/UAS system (ShineGal4/UAS) based on Magnet photoswitches. We show that it allows efficient, rapid, and robust activation of UAS-driven transgenes in different tissues and at various developmental stages in Drosophila. Furthermore, we illustrate how ShineGal4 enables the generation of gain and loss-of-function phenotypes at animal, organ, and cellular levels. Thanks to the large repertoire of UAS-driven transgenes, ShineGal4 enriches the Drosophila genetic toolkit by allowing in vivo control of gene expression with high temporal and spatial resolutions.

Exploiting Noise, Non-Linearity, and Feedback for Differential Control of Multiple Synthetic Cells with a Single Optogenetic Input.

blue Magnets in silico
ACS Synth Biol, 18 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.1c00341 Link to full text
Abstract: Synthetic biology seeks to develop modular biocircuits that combine to produce complex, controllable behaviors. These designs are often subject to noisy fluctuations and uncertainties, and most modern synthetic biology design processes have focused to create robust components to mitigate the noise of gene expression and reduce the heterogeneity of single-cell responses. However, a deeper understanding of noise can achieve control goals that would otherwise be impossible. We explore how an "Optogenetic Maxwell Demon" could selectively amplify noise to control multiple cells using single-input-multiple-output (SIMO) feedback. Using data-constrained stochastic model simulations and theory, we show how an appropriately selected stochastic SIMO controller can drive multiple different cells to different user-specified configurations irrespective of initial conditions. We explore how controllability depends on cells' regulatory structures, the amount of information available to the controller, and the accuracy of the model used. Our results suggest that gene regulation noise, when combined with optogenetic feedback and non-linear biochemical auto-regulation, can achieve synergy to enable precise control of complex stochastic processes.

Repetitive short-pulsed illumination efficiently activates photoactivatable-Cre as continuous illumination in embryonic stem cells and pre-implantation embryos of transgenic mouse.

blue Magnets mESCs mouse in vivo Nucleic acid editing
Genesis, 23 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1002/dvg.23457 Link to full text
Abstract: The Cre-loxP system has been widely used for specific DNA recombination which induces gene inactivation or expression. Recently, photoactivatable-Cre (PA-Cre) proteins have been developed as a tool for spatiotemporal control of the enzymatic activity of Cre recombinase. Here, we generated transgenic mice bearing a PA-Cre gene and systematically investigated the conditions of photoactivation for the PA-Cre in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the transgenic mice and in a simple mathematical model. Cre-mediated DNA recombination was induced in 16% of the PA-Cre ESCs by 6 hr continuous illumination. We show that repetitive pulsed illumination efficiently induced DNA recombination with low light energy as efficient as continuous illumination in the ESCs (96 ± 15% of continuous illumination when pulse cycle was 2 s), which was also supported by a minimal mathematical model. DNA recombination by the PA-Cre was also successfully induced in the transgenic mouse pre-implantation embryos under the developed conditions. These results suggest that strategies based on repetitive pulsed illumination are efficient for the activation of photoactivatable Cre and, possibly other photo-switchable proteins.

Optogenetic Tools for Manipulating Protein Subcellular Localization and Intracellular Signaling at Organelle Contact Sites.

blue Magnets Cos-7 HeLa U-2 OS
Curr Protoc, 3 Mar 2021 DOI: 10.1002/cpz1.71 Link to full text
Abstract: Intracellular signaling processes are frequently based on direct interactions between proteins and organelles. A fundamental strategy to elucidate the physiological significance of such interactions is to utilize optical dimerization tools. These tools are based on the use of small proteins or domains that interact with each other upon light illumination. Optical dimerizers are particularly suitable for reproducing and interrogating a given protein-protein interaction and for investigating a protein's intracellular role in a spatially and temporally precise manner. Described in this article are genetic engineering strategies for the generation of modular light-activatable protein dimerization units and instructions for the preparation of optogenetic applications in mammalian cells. Detailed protocols are provided for the use of light-tunable switches to regulate protein recruitment to intracellular compartments, induce intracellular organellar membrane tethering, and reconstitute protein function using enhanced Magnets (eMags), a recently engineered optical dimerization system. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Genetic engineering strategy for the generation of modular light-activated protein dimerization units Support Protocol 1: Molecular cloning Basic Protocol 2: Cell culture and transfection Support Protocol 2: Production of dark containers for optogenetic samples Basic Protocol 3: Confocal microscopy and light-dependent activation of the dimerization system Alternate Protocol 1: Protein recruitment to intracellular compartments Alternate Protocol 2: Induction of organelles' membrane tethering Alternate Protocol 3: Optogenetic reconstitution of protein function Basic Protocol 4: Image analysis Support Protocol 3: Analysis of apparent on- and off-kinetics Support Protocol 4: Analysis of changes in organelle overlap over time.

A single-chain and fast-responding light-inducible Cre recombinase as a novel optogenetic switch.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CIB1 Magnets HEK293 S. cerevisiae Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Elife, 23 Feb 2021 DOI: 10.7554/elife.61268 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics enables genome manipulations with high spatiotemporal resolution, opening exciting possibilities for fundamental and applied biological research. Here, we report the development of LiCre, a novel light-inducible Cre recombinase. LiCre is made of a single flavin-containing protein comprising the AsLOV2 photoreceptor domain of Avena sativa fused to a Cre variant carrying destabilizing mutations in its N-terminal and C-terminal domains. LiCre can be activated within minutes of illumination with blue light, without the need of additional chemicals. When compared to existing photoactivatable Cre recombinases based on two split units, LiCre displayed faster and stronger activation by light as well as a lower residual activity in the dark. LiCre was efficient both in yeast, where it allowed us to control the production of β-carotene with light, and in human cells. Given its simplicity and performances, LiCre is particularly suited for fundamental and biomedical research, as well as for controlling industrial bioprocesses.

Optical Control of Genome Editing by Photoactivatable Cas9.

blue Magnets HEK293T
Methods Mol Biol, 2021 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1441-9_13 Link to full text
Abstract: The CRISPR-Cas9 system offers targeted genome manipulation with simplicity. Combining the CRISPR-Cas9 with optogenetics technology, we have engineered photoactivatable Cas9 to precisely control the genome sequence in a spatiotemporal manner. Here we provide a detailed protocol for optogenetic genome editing experiments using photoactivatable Cas9, including that for the generation of guide RNA vectors, light-mediated Cas9 activation, and quantification of genome editing efficiency in mammalian cells.

Efficient photoactivatable Dre recombinase for cell type-specific spatiotemporal control of genome engineering in the mouse.

blue red CRY2/CIB1 Magnets PhyB/PIF3 VVD HEK293T HeLa HEp-2 mouse in vivo SH-SY5Y Nucleic acid editing
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 14 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003991117 Link to full text
Abstract: Precise genetic engineering in specific cell types within an intact organism is intriguing yet challenging, especially in a spatiotemporal manner without the interference caused by chemical inducers. Here we engineered a photoactivatable Dre recombinase based on the identification of an optimal split site and demonstrated that it efficiently regulated transgene expression in mouse tissues spatiotemporally upon blue light illumination. Moreover, through a double-floxed inverted open reading frame strategy, we developed a Cre-activated light-inducible Dre (CALID) system. Taking advantage of well-defined cell-type-specific promoters or a well-established Cre transgenic mouse strain, we demonstrated that the CALID system was able to activate endogenous reporter expression for either bulk or sparse labeling of CaMKIIα-positive excitatory neurons and parvalbumin interneurons in the brain. This flexible and tunable system could be a powerful tool for the dissection and modulation of developmental and genetic complexity in a wide range of biological systems.
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