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 333 results

Spatially Defined Gene Delivery into Native Cells with the Red Light-Controlled OptoAAV Technology.

red PhyB/PIF6 A-431 in vitro
Curr Protoc, Jun 2022 DOI: 10.1002/cpz1.440 Link to full text
Abstract: The OptoAAV technology allows spatially defined delivery of transgenes into native target cells down to single-cell resolution by the illumination with cell-compatible and tissue-penetrating red light. The system is based on an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector of serotype 2 with an engineered capsid (OptoAAV) and a photoreceptor-containing adapter protein mediating the interaction of the OptoAAV with the surface of the target cell in response to low doses of red and far-red light. In this article, we first provide detailed protocols for the production, purification, and analysis of the OptoAAV and the adapter protein. Afterward, we describe in detail the application of the OptoAAV system for the light-controlled transduction of human cells with global and patterned illumination. © 2022 The Authors. Current Protocols published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Production, purification, and analysis of PhyB-DARPinEGFR adapter protein Basic Protocol 2: Production, purification, and analysis of OptoAAV Basic Protocol 3: Red light-controlled viral transduction with the OptoAAV system Support Protocol: Spatially resolved transduction of two transgenes with the OptoAAV system.

Molecular Research on Oral Diseases and Related Biomaterials: A Journey from Oral Cell Models to Advanced Regenerative Perspectives.

red Phytochromes Review
Int J Mol Sci, 9 May 2022 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23095288 Link to full text
Abstract: Oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer affect millions of people worldwide. Much research has been conducted to understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these diseases and translate this knowledge into therapeutics. This review aims to take the reader on a journey from the initial molecular discoveries to complex regenerative issues in oral medicine. For this, a semi-systematic literature search was carried out in Medline and Web of Science databases to retrieve the primary literature describing oral cell models and biomaterial applications in oral regenerative medicine. First, an in vitro cell model of gingival keratinocytes is discussed, which illustrates patho- and physiologic principles in the context of oral epithelial homeostasis and carcinogenesis and represents a cellular tool to understand biomaterial-based approaches for periodontal tissue regeneration. Consequently, a layered gradient nonwoven (LGN) is described, which demonstrates that the key features of biomaterials serve as candidates for oral tissue regeneration. LGN supports proper tissue formation and obeys the important principles for molecular mechanotransduction. Furthermore, current biomaterial-based tissue regeneration trends, including polymer modifications, cell-based treatments, antimicrobial peptides and optogenetics, are introduced to represent the full spectrum of current approaches to oral disease mitigation and prevention. Altogether, this review is a foray through established and new concepts in oral regenerative medicine and illustrates the process of knowledge translation from basic molecular and cell biological research to future clinical applications.

Peeking under the hood of early embryogenesis: Using tools and synthetic biology to understand native control systems and sculpt tissues.

blue red Cryptochromes Phytochromes Review
Semin Cell Dev Biol, 4 May 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.04.016 Link to full text
Abstract: Early embryogenesis requires rapid division of pluripotent blastomeres, regulated genome activation, precise spatiotemporal signaling to pattern cell fate, and morphogenesis to shape primitive tissue architectures. The complexity of this process has inspired researchers to move beyond simple genetic perturbation into engineered devices and synthetic biology tools to permit temporal and spatial manipulation of the control systems guiding development. By precise alteration of embryo organization, it is now possible to advance beyond basic analytical strategies and directly test the sufficiency of models for developmental regulation. Separately, advances in micropatterning and embryoid culture have facilitated the bottom-up construction of complex embryo tissues allowing ex vivo systems to recapitulate even later stages of development. Embryos fertilized and grown ex vivo offer an excellent opportunity to exogenously perturb fundamental pathways governing embryogenesis. Here we review the technologies developed to thermally modulate the embryo cell cycle, and optically regulate morphogen and signaling pathways in space and time, specifically in the blastula embryo. Additionally, we highlight recent advances in cell patterning in two and three dimensions that have helped reveal the self-organizing properties and gene regulatory networks guiding early embryo organization.

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.

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.

Design and engineering of light-sensitive protein switches.

blue green near-infrared red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Struct Biol, 20 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1016/ Link to full text
Abstract: Engineered, light-sensitive protein switches are used to interrogate a broad variety of biological processes. These switches are typically constructed by genetically fusing naturally occurring light-responsive protein domains with functional domains from other proteins. Protein activity can be controlled using a variety of mechanisms including light-induced colocalization, caging, and allosteric regulation. Protein design efforts have focused on reducing background signaling, maximizing the change in activity upon light stimulation, and perturbing the kinetics of switching. It is common to combine structure-based modeling with experimental screening to identify ideal fusion points between domains and discover point mutations that optimize switching. Here, we introduce commonly used light-sensitive domains and summarize recent progress in using them to regulate protein activity.

Light-inducible T cell engagers trigger, tune and shape the activation of primary T cells.

red PhyB/PIF6 human T cells Extracellular optogenetics
bioRxiv, 15 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.04.15.488452 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells perceive overtime complex sequences of receptor stimulation that they integrate to mount an appropriate response. Yet, the influence of signal dynamics on cell responses has been poorly characterized due to technical limitations. Here, we present a generalizable approach to control receptor stimulation on unmodified primary cells. Indeed, for applications on primary murine T cells, we have engineered the LiTe system, a new recombinant optogenetics-based Light-inducible T cell engager which allows tunable and reversible spatiotemporal control of the T Cell Receptor (TCR) stimulation. We also provided in vitro evidence that this system enables efficient T cell activation with light, leading to cytokine secretion or tumor cell killing. Using specific time-gated stimulations, we have been able to orient the outcome of the activation of T cells. Overall, the LiTe system constitutes a versatile ON/OFF molecular switch allowing to decipher the cellular response to stimulation dynamics. Its original control over T cell activation opens new avenues for future precision cancer immunotherapy.

Optogenetic tools for microbial synthetic biology.

blue green near-infrared red BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biotechnol Adv, 6 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2022.107953 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Red-shifted optogenetics comes to the spotlight.

near-infrared red Phytochromes Review
Clin Transl Med, Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1002/ctm2.807 Link to full text
Abstract: Abstract not available.

A guide to designing photocontrol in proteins: methods, strategies and applications.

blue green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biol Chem, 31 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1515/hsz-2021-0417 Link to full text
Abstract: Light is essential for various biochemical processes in all domains of life. In its presence certain proteins inside a cell are excited, which either stimulates or inhibits subsequent cellular processes. The artificial photocontrol of specifically proteins is of growing interest for the investigation of scientific questions on the organismal, cellular and molecular level as well as for the development of medicinal drugs or biocatalytic tools. For the targeted design of photocontrol in proteins, three major methods have been developed over the last decades, which employ either chemical engineering of small-molecule photosensitive effectors (photopharmacology), incorporation of photoactive non-canonical amino acids by genetic code expansion (photoxenoprotein engineering), or fusion with photoreactive biological modules (hybrid protein optogenetics). This review compares the different methods as well as their strategies and current applications for the light-regulation of proteins and provides background information useful for the implementation of each technique.

Plant phytochrome B is an asymmetric dimer with unique signalling potential.

red Phytochromes Background
Nature, 30 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04529-z Link to full text
Abstract: Many aspects of plant photoperception are mediated by the phytochrome (Phy) family of bilin-containing photoreceptors that reversibly interconvert between inactive Pr and active Pfr conformers1,2. Despite extensive biochemical studies, full understanding of plant Phy signalling has remained unclear due to the absence of relevant 3D models. Here we report a cryo-electron microscopy structure of Arabidopsis PhyB in the Pr state that reveals a topologically complex dimeric organization that is substantially distinct from its prokaryotic relatives. Instead of an anticipated parallel architecture, the C-terminal histidine-kinase-related domains (HKRDs) associate head-to-head, whereas the N-terminal photosensory regions associate head-to-tail to form a parallelogram-shaped platform with near two-fold symmetry. The platform is internally linked by the second of two internal Per/Arnt/Sim domains that binds to the photosensory module of the opposing protomer and a preceding 'modulator' loop that assembles tightly with the photosensory module of its own protomer. Both connections accelerate the thermal reversion of Pfr back to Pr, consistent with an inverse relationship between dimer assembly and Pfr stability. Lopsided contacts between the HKRDs and the platform create profound asymmetry to PhyB that might imbue distinct signalling potentials to the protomers. We propose that this unique structural dynamism creates an extensive photostate-sensitive surface for conformation-dependent interactions between plant Phy photoreceptors and their signalling partners.

Optogenetics Illuminates Applications in Microbial Engineering.

blue green red UV violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng, 23 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-092120-092340 Link to full text
Abstract: 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 for revised estimates.

Optogenetic Application to Investigating Cell Behavior and Neurological Disease.

blue near-infrared red UV Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Front Cell Neurosci, 22 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2022.811493 Link to full text
Abstract: Cells reside in a dynamic microenvironment that presents them with regulatory signals that vary in time, space, and amplitude. The cell, in turn, interprets these signals and accordingly initiates downstream processes including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and self-organization. Conventional approaches to perturb and investigate signaling pathways (e.g., agonist/antagonist addition, overexpression, silencing, knockouts) are often binary perturbations that do not offer precise control over signaling levels, and/or provide limited spatial or temporal control. In contrast, optogenetics leverages light-sensitive proteins to control cellular signaling dynamics and target gene expression and, by virtue of precise hardware control over illumination, offers the capacity to interrogate how spatiotemporally varying signals modulate gene regulatory networks and cellular behaviors. Recent studies have employed various optogenetic systems in stem cell, embryonic, and somatic cell patterning studies, which have addressed fundamental questions of how cell-cell communication, subcellular protein localization, and signal integration affect cell fate. Other efforts have explored how alteration of signaling dynamics may contribute to neurological diseases and have in the process created physiologically relevant models that could inform new therapeutic strategies. In this review, we focus on emerging applications within the expanding field of optogenetics to study gene regulation, cell signaling, neurodevelopment, and neurological disorders, and we comment on current limitations and future directions for the growth of the field.

A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biophys physicobiology, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.2142/biophysico.bppb-v19.0004 Link to full text
Abstract: Lives have acquired a variety of photoreceptive proteins which absorb light in the UV to far-red region during the evolution, such as many different types of rhodopsin, blue-light receptors including cryptochrome and phototropin, and red/far-red light photochromic phytochromes. After the long-time studies on the molecular mechanism of their action, they have been applied to various photobiological studies. Recent advancement in the research field is remarkable and brought many fruitful results especially in optogenetics. To introduce some of these results, we organized a symposium named “A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics” at the 59th annual meeting of the Biological Society of Japan (BSJ) in November 2021. The symposium was co-organized by a research area of the Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology Program (PRESTO) named “Optical Control”, directed by Prof. Shichida (Ritsumeikan University), sponsored by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). We invited 4 PRESTO members and 2 other researchers to cover the light absorption region from blue to far-red (Figure 1).

Far-Red Light Triggered Production of Bispecific T Cell Engagers (BiTEs) from Engineered Cells for Antitumor Application.

red BphS HEK293T Hep G2 SK-HEP-1 Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 3 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.1c00523 Link to full text
Abstract: Bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), which have shown potent antitumor activity in humans, are emerging as one of the most promising immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer treatment in recent years. However, the clinical application of BiTEs nowadays has been hampered by their short half-life in the circulatory system due to their low molecular weight and rapid renal clearance. Inevitable continuous infusion of BiTEs has become a routine operation in order to achieve effective treatment, although it is costly, inconvenient, time-consuming, and even painful for patients in some cases. To develop an on-demand, tunable, and reversible approach to overcome these limitations, we assembled a transcription-control device into mammalian cells based on a bacterial far-red light (FRL) responsive signaling pathway to drive the expression of a BiTE against Glypican 3 (GPC3), which is a highly tumor-specific antigen expressed in most hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). As demonstrated in in vitro experiments, we proved that the FRL sensitive device spatiotemporally responded to the control of FRL illumination and produced a therapeutic level of BiTEs that recruited and activated human T cells to eliminate GPC3 positive tumor cells. By functionally harnessing the power of optogenetics to remotely regulate the production of BiTEs from bioengineered cells and demonstrating its effectiveness in treating tumor cells, this study provides a novel approach to achieve an in vivo supply of BiTEs, which could be potentially applied to other formats of bispecific antibodies and facilitate their clinical applications.

Optogenetic and Chemical Induction Systems for Regulation of Transgene Expression in Plants: Use in Basic and Applied Research.

blue green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Int J Mol Sci, 3 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23031737 Link to full text
Abstract: Continuous and ubiquitous expression of foreign genes sometimes results in harmful effects on the growth, development and metabolic activities of plants. Tissue-specific promoters help to overcome this disadvantage, but do not allow one to precisely control transgene expression over time. Thus, inducible transgene expression systems have obvious benefits. In plants, transcriptional regulation is usually driven by chemical agents under the control of chemically-inducible promoters. These systems are diverse, but usually contain two elements, the chimeric transcription factor and the reporter gene. The commonly used chemically-induced expression systems are tetracycline-, steroid-, insecticide-, copper-, and ethanol-regulated. Unlike chemical-inducible systems, optogenetic tools enable spatiotemporal, quantitative and reversible control over transgene expression with light, overcoming limitations of chemically-inducible systems. This review updates and summarizes optogenetic and chemical induction methods of transgene expression used in basic plant research and discusses their potential in field 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.

Towards translational optogenetics.

blue cyan red UV Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Nat Biomed Eng, 13 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41551-021-00829-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is widely used to interrogate the neural circuits underlying disease and has most recently been harnessed for therapeutic applications. The optogenetic toolkit consists of light-responsive proteins that modulate specific cellular functions, vectors for the delivery of the transgenes that encode the light-responsive proteins to targeted cellular populations, and devices for the delivery of light of suitable wavelengths at effective fluence rates. A refined toolkit with a focus towards translational uses would include efficient and safer viral and non-viral gene-delivery vectors, increasingly red-shifted photoresponsive proteins, nanomaterials that efficiently transduce near-infrared light deep into tissue, and wireless implantable light-delivery devices that allow for spatiotemporally precise interventions at clinically relevant tissue depths. In this Review, we examine the current optogenetics toolkit and the most notable preclinical and translational uses of optogenetics, and discuss future methodological and translational developments and bottlenecks.

Optogenetic approaches in biotechnology and biomaterials.

blue cyan green near-infrared red violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Trends Biotechnol, 11 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.12.007 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

blue green red UV violet Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 5 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.804563 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.

Red Light Optogenetics in Neuroscience.

blue near-infrared red LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Front Cell Neurosci, 3 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2021.778900 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics, a field concentrating on controlling cellular functions by means of light-activated proteins, has shown tremendous potential in neuroscience. It possesses superior spatiotemporal resolution compared to the surgical, electrical, and pharmacological methods traditionally used in studying brain function. A multitude of optogenetic tools for neuroscience have been created that, for example, enable the control of action potential generation via light-activated ion channels. Other optogenetic proteins have been used in the brain, for example, to control long-term potentiation or to ablate specific subtypes of neurons. In in vivo applications, however, the majority of optogenetic tools are operated with blue, green, or yellow light, which all have limited penetration in biological tissues compared to red light and especially infrared light. This difference is significant, especially considering the size of the rodent brain, a major research model in neuroscience. Our review will focus on the utilization of red light-operated optogenetic tools in neuroscience. We first outline the advantages of red light for in vivo studies. Then we provide a brief overview of the red light-activated optogenetic proteins and systems with a focus on new developments in the field. Finally, we will highlight different tools and applications, which further facilitate the use of red light optogenetics in neuroscience.

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.

A far-red light-inducible CRISPR-Cas12a platform for remote-controlled genome editing and gene activation.

red BphS HEK293T Nucleic acid editing
Sci Adv, 10 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abh2358 Link to full text
Abstract: The CRISPR-Cas12a has been harnessed as a powerful tool for manipulating targeted gene expression. The possibility to manipulate the activity of CRISPR-Cas12a with a more precise spatiotemporal resolution and deep tissue permeability will enable targeted genome engineering and deepen our understanding of the gene functions underlying complex cellular behaviors. However, currently available inducible CRISPR-Cas12a systems are limited by diffusion, cytotoxicity, and poor tissue permeability. Here, we developed a far-red light (FRL)–inducible CRISPR-Cas12a (FICA) system that can robustly induce gene editing in mammalian cells, and an FRL-inducible CRISPR-dCas12a (FIdCA) system based on the protein-tagging system SUperNova (SunTag) that can be used for gene activation under light-emitting diode–based FRL. Moreover, we show that the FIdCA system can be deployed to activate target genes in mouse livers. These results demonstrate that these systems developed here provide robust and efficient platforms for programmable genome manipulation in a noninvasive and spatiotemporal fashion.

Optogenetics in bacteria - applications and opportunities.

blue green near-infrared red BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
FEMS Microbiol Rev, 13 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1093/femsre/fuab055 Link to full text
Abstract: 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.
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