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 197 results

Light-Oxygen-Voltage (LOV)-sensing domains: activation mechanism and optogenetic stimulation.

blue UV LOV domains UV receptors Review
J Mol Biol, 7 Nov 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2023.168356 Link to full text
Abstract: The light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) domains of phototropins emerged as essential constituents of light-sensitive proteins, helping initiate blue light-triggered responses. Moreover, these domains have been identified across all kingdoms of life. LOV domains utilize flavin nucleotides as co-factors and undergo structural rearrangements upon exposure to blue light, which activates an effector domain that executes the final output of the photoreaction. LOV domains are versatile photoreceptors that play critical roles in cellular signaling and environmental adaptation; additionally, they can noninvasively sense and control intracellular processes with high spatiotemporal precision, making them ideal candidates for use in optogenetics, where a light signal is linked to a cellular process through a photoreceptor. The ongoing development of LOV-based optogenetic tools, driven by advances in structural biology, spectroscopy, computational methods, and synthetic biology, has the potential to revolutionize the study of biological systems and enable the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Emerging optogenetics technologies in biomedical applications.

blue green near-infrared red UV violet Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Smart Med, 1 Nov 2023 DOI: 10.1002/smmd.20230026 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is a cutting-edge technology that merges light control and genetics to achieve targeted control of tissue cells. Compared to traditional methods, optogenetics offers several advantages in terms of time and space precision, accuracy, and reduced damage to the research object. Currently, optogenetics is primarily used in pathway research, drug screening, gene expression regulation, and the stimulation of molecule release to treat various diseases. The selection of light-sensitive proteins is the most crucial aspect of optogenetic technology; structural changes occur or downstream channels are activated to achieve signal transmission or factor release, allowing efficient and controllable disease treatment. In this review, we examine the extensive research conducted in the field of biomedicine concerning optogenetics, including the selection of light-sensitive proteins, the study of carriers and delivery devices, and the application of disease treatment. Additionally, we offer critical insights and future implications of optogenetics in the realm of clinical medicine.

Full-field exposure of larval zebrafish to narrow waveband LED light sources at defined power and energy for optogenetic applications.

blue VVD zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression
J Neurosci Methods, 31 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2023.110001 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic approaches in transparent zebrafish models have provided numerous insights into vertebrate neurobiology. The purpose of this study was to develop methods to activate light-sensitive transgene products simultaneously throughout an entire larval zebrafish.

Current Trends of Bacterial and Fungal Optoproteins for Novel Optical Applications.

blue cyan near-infrared red UV BLUF domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Int J Mol Sci, 29 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.3390/ijms241914741 Link to full text
Abstract: Photoproteins, luminescent proteins or optoproteins are a kind of light-response protein responsible for the conversion of light into biochemical energy that is used by some bacteria or fungi to regulate specific biological processes. Within these specific proteins, there are groups such as the photoreceptors that respond to a given light wavelength and generate reactions susceptible to being used for the development of high-novel applications, such as the optocontrol of metabolic pathways. Photoswitchable proteins play important roles during the development of new materials due to their capacity to change their conformational structure by providing/eliminating a specific light stimulus. Additionally, there are bioluminescent proteins that produce light during a heatless chemical reaction and are useful to be employed as biomarkers in several fields such as imaging, cell biology, disease tracking and pollutant detection. The classification of these optoproteins from bacteria and fungi as photoreceptors or photoresponse elements according to the excitation-emission spectrum (UV-Vis-IR), as well as their potential use in novel applications, is addressed in this article by providing a structured scheme for this broad area of knowledge.

Allosteric regulation of kinase activity in living cells.

blue cyan red Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
bioRxiv, 25 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.07.19.549709 Link to full text
Abstract: The dysregulation of protein kinases is associated with multiple diseases due to the kinases’ involvement in a variety of cell signaling pathways. Manipulating protein kinase function, by controlling the active site, is a promising therapeutic and investigative strategy to mitigate and study diseases. Kinase active sites share structural similarities making it difficult to specifically target one kinase, allosteric control allows specific regulation and study of kinase function without directly targeting the active site. Allosteric sites are distal to the active site but coupled via a dynamic network of inter-atomic interactions between residues in the protein. Establishing an allosteric control over a kinase requires understanding the allosteric wiring of the protein. Computational techniques offer effective and inexpensive mapping of the allosteric sites on a protein. Here, we discuss methods to map and regulate allosteric communications in proteins, and strategies to establish control over kinase functions in live cells and organisms. Protein molecules, or “sensors” are engineered to function as tools to control allosteric activity of the protein as these sensors have high spatiotemporal resolution and help in understanding cell phenotypes after immediate activation or inactivation of a kinase. Traditional methods used to study protein functions, such as knockout, knockdown, or mutation, cannot offer a sufficiently high spatiotemporal resolution. We discuss the modern repertoire of tools to regulate protein kinases as we enter a new era in deciphering cellular signaling and developing novel approaches to treat diseases associated with signal dysregulation.

Diya – a universal light illumination platform for multiwell plate cultures.

blue green CcaS/CcaR CRY2/CIB1 EL222 Magnets VVD E. coli HEK293T HeLa S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
iScience, 9 Sep 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107862 Link to full text
Abstract: Recent progress in protein engineering has established optogenetics as one of the leading external non-invasive stimulation strategies, with many optogenetic tools being designed for in vivo operation. Characterization and optimization of these tools require a high-throughput and versatile light delivery system targeting micro-titer culture volumes. Here, we present a universal light illumination platform – Diya, compatible with a wide range of cell culture plates and dishes. Diya hosts specially-designed features ensuring active thermal management, homogeneous illumination, and minimal light bleedthrough. It offers light induction programming via a user-friendly custom-designed GUI. Through extensive characterization experiments with multiple optogenetic tools in diverse model organisms (bacteria, yeast and human cell lines), we show that Diya maintains viable conditions for cell cultures undergoing light induction. Finally, we demonstrate an optogenetic strategy for in vivo biomolecular controller operation. With a custom-designed antithetic integral feedback circuit, we exhibit robust perfect adaptation and light-controlled set-point variation using Diya.

Selective induction of programmed cell death using synthetic biology tools.

blue green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Semin Cell Dev Biol, 17 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2023.07.012 Link to full text
Abstract: Regulated cell death (RCD) controls the removal of dispensable, infected or malignant cells, and is thus essential for development, homeostasis and immunity of multicellular organisms. Over the last years different forms of RCD have been described (among them apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis and ferroptosis), and the cellular signaling pathways that control their induction and execution have been characterized at the molecular level. It has also become apparent that different forms of RCD differ in their capacity to elicit inflammation or an immune response, and that RCD pathways show a remarkable plasticity. Biochemical and genetic studies revealed that inhibition of a given pathway often results in the activation of back-up cell death mechanisms, highlighting close interconnectivity based on shared signaling components and the assembly of multivalent signaling platforms that can initiate different forms of RCD. Due to this interconnectivity and the pleiotropic effects of 'classical' cell death inducers, it is challenging to study RCD pathways in isolation. This has led to the development of tools based on synthetic biology that allow the targeted induction of RCD using chemogenetic or optogenetic methods. Here we discuss recent advances in the development of such toolset, highlighting their advantages and limitations, and their application for the study of RCD in cells and animals.

Design principles for engineering light-controlled antibodies.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Trends Biotechnol, 26 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2023.06.006 Link to full text
Abstract: Engineered antibodies are essential tools for research and advanced pharmacy. In the development of therapeutics, antibodies are excellent candidates as they offer both target recognition and modulation. Thanks to the latest advances in biotechnology, light-activated antibody fragments can be constructed to control spontaneous antigen interaction with high spatiotemporal precision. To implement conditional antigen binding, several optogenetic and optochemical engineering concepts have recently been developed. Here, we highlight the various strategies and discuss the features of opto-conditional antibodies. Each concept offers intrinsic advantages beneficial to different applications. In summary, the novel design approaches constitute a complementary toolset to promote current and upcoming antibody technologies with ultimate precision.

A biological camera that captures and stores images directly into DNA.

blue red PhyB/PIF3 VVD E. coli Nucleic acid editing Multichromatic
Nat Commun, 3 Jul 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38876-w Link to full text
Abstract: The increasing integration between biological and digital interfaces has led to heightened interest in utilizing biological materials to store digital data, with the most promising one involving the storage of data within defined sequences of DNA that are created by de novo DNA synthesis. However, there is a lack of methods that can obviate the need for de novo DNA synthesis, which tends to be costly and inefficient. Here, in this work, we detail a method of capturing 2-dimensional light patterns into DNA, by utilizing optogenetic circuits to record light exposure into DNA, encoding spatial locations with barcoding, and retrieving stored images via high-throughput next-generation sequencing. We demonstrate the encoding of multiple images into DNA, totaling 1152 bits, selective image retrieval, as well as robustness to drying, heat and UV. We also demonstrate successful multiplexing using multiple wavelengths of light, capturing 2 different images simultaneously using red and blue light. This work thus establishes a 'living digital camera', paving the way towards integrating biological systems with digital devices.

OPTO-BLUE: An Integrated Bidirectional Optogenetic Lentiviral Platform for Controlled Light-Induced Gene Expression.

blue VVD HEK293T Transgene expression
Int J Mol Sci, 31 May 2023 DOI: 10.3390/ijms24119537 Link to full text
Abstract: Regulated systems for transgene expression are useful tools in basic research and a promising platform in biomedicine due to their regulated transgene expression by an inducer. The emergence of optogenetics expression systems enabled the construction of light-switchable systems, enhancing the spatial and temporal resolution of a transgene. The LightOn system is an optogenetic tool that regulates the expression of a gene of interest using blue light as an inducer. This system is based on a photosensitive protein (GAVPO), which dimerizes and binds to the UASG sequence in response to blue light, triggering the expression of a downstream transgene. Previously, we adapted the LightOn system to a dual lentiviral vector system for neurons. Here, we continue the optimization and assemble all components of the LightOn system into a single lentiviral plasmid, the OPTO-BLUE system. For functional validation, we used enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) as an expression reporter (OPTO-BLUE-EGFP) and evaluated the efficiency of EGFP expression by transfection and transduction in HEK293-T cells exposed to continuous blue-light illumination. Altogether, these results prove that the optimized OPTO-BLUE system allows the light-controlled expression of a reporter protein according to a specific time and light intensity. Likewise, this system should provide an important molecular tool to modulate gene expression of any protein by blue light.

The clinical potential of optogenetic interrogation of pathogenesis.

blue cyan green red UV Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Clin Transl Med, May 2023 DOI: 10.1002/ctm2.1243 Link to full text
Abstract: Opsin-based optogenetics has emerged as a powerful biomedical tool using light to control protein conformation. Such capacity has been initially demonstrated to control ion flow across the cell membrane, enabling precise control of action potential in excitable cells such as neurons or muscle cells. Further advancement in optogenetics incorporates a greater variety of photoactivatable proteins and results in flexible control of biological processes, such as gene expression and signal transduction, with commonly employed light sources such as LEDs or lasers in optical microscopy. Blessed by the precise genetic targeting specificity and superior spatiotemporal resolution, optogenetics offers new biological insights into physiological and pathological mechanisms underlying health and diseases. Recently, its clinical potential has started to be capitalized, particularly for blindness treatment, due to the convenient light delivery into the eye.

Controlling protein stability with SULI, a highly sensitive tag for stabilization upon light induction.

blue PtAU1-LOV VVD S. cerevisiae zebrafish in vivo Cell cycle control Developmental processes
Nat Commun, 15 Apr 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-37830-0 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics tools for precise temporal and spatial control of protein abundance are valuable in studying diverse complex biological processes. In the present study, we engineer a monomeric tag of stabilization upon light induction (SULI) for yeast and zebrafish based on a single light-oxygen-voltage domain from Neurospora crassa. Proteins of interest fused with SULI are stable upon light illumination but are readily degraded after transfer to dark conditions. SULI shows a high dynamic range and a high tolerance to fusion at different positions of the target protein. Further studies reveal that SULI-mediated degradation occurs through a lysine ubiquitination-independent proteasome pathway. We demonstrate the usefulness of SULI in controlling the cell cycle in yeast and regulating protein stability in zebrafish, respectively. Overall, our data indicate that SULI is a simple and robust tool to quantitatively and spatiotemporally modulate protein levels for biotechnological or biomedical applications.

Bioelectricity in Developmental Patterning and Size Control: Evidence and Genetically Encoded Tools in the Zebrafish Model.

blue AsLOV BLUF domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Review
Cells, 13 Apr 2023 DOI: 10.3390/cells12081148 Link to full text
Abstract: Developmental patterning is essential for regulating cellular events such as axial patterning, segmentation, tissue formation, and organ size determination during embryogenesis. Understanding the patterning mechanisms remains a central challenge and fundamental interest in developmental biology. Ion-channel-regulated bioelectric signals have emerged as a player of the patterning mechanism, which may interact with morphogens. Evidence from multiple model organisms reveals the roles of bioelectricity in embryonic development, regeneration, and cancers. The Zebrafish model is the second most used vertebrate model, next to the mouse model. The zebrafish model has great potential for elucidating the functions of bioelectricity due to many advantages such as external development, transparent early embryogenesis, and tractable genetics. Here, we review genetic evidence from zebrafish mutants with fin-size and pigment changes related to ion channels and bioelectricity. In addition, we review the cell membrane voltage reporting and chemogenetic tools that have already been used or have great potential to be implemented in zebrafish models. Finally, new perspectives and opportunities for bioelectricity research with zebrafish are discussed.

Genetically encoded imaging tools for investigating cell dynamics at a glance.

blue red UV Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
J Cell Sci, 11 Apr 2023 DOI: 10.1242/jcs.260783 Link to full text
Abstract: The biology of a cell is the sum of many highly dynamic processes, each orchestrated by a plethora of proteins and other molecules. Microscopy is an invaluable approach to spatially and temporally dissect the molecular details of these processes. Hundreds of genetically encoded imaging tools have been developed that allow cell scientists to determine the function of a protein of interest in the context of these dynamic processes. Broadly, these tools fall into three strategies: observation, inhibition and activation. Using examples for each strategy, in this Cell Science at a Glance and the accompanying poster, we provide a guide to using these tools to dissect protein function in a given cellular process. Our focus here is on tools that allow rapid modification of proteins of interest and how observing the resulting changes in cell states is key to unlocking dynamic cell processes. The aim is to inspire the reader's next set of imaging experiments.

A Single-Component Optogenetic Gal4-UAS System Allows Stringent Control of Gene Expression in Zebrafish and Drosophila.

blue VVD D. melanogaster in vivo HEK293 Schneider 2 zebrafish in vivo Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 9 Mar 2023 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.2c00410 Link to full text
Abstract: The light-regulated Gal4-UAS system has offered new ways to control cellular activities with precise spatial and temporal resolution in zebrafish and Drosophila. However, the existing optogenetic Gal4-UAS systems suffer from having multiple protein components and a dependence on extraneous light-sensitive cofactors, which increase the technical complexity and limit the portability of these systems. To overcome these limitations, we herein describe the development of a novel optogenetic Gal4-UAS system (ltLightOn) for both zebrafish and Drosophila based on a single light-switchable transactivator, termed GAVPOLT, which dimerizes and binds to gene promoters to activate transgene expression upon blue light illumination. The ltLightOn system is independent of exogenous cofactors and exhibits a more than 2400-fold ON/OFF gene expression ratio, allowing quantitative, spatial, and temporal control of gene expression. We further demonstrate the usefulness of the ltLightOn system in regulating zebrafish embryonic development by controlling the expression of lefty1 by light. We believe that this single-component optogenetic system will be immensely useful in understanding the gene function and behavioral circuits in zebrafish and Drosophila.

An optogenetic toolkit for light-inducible antibiotic resistance.

blue VVD E. coli Transgene expression Nucleic acid editing
Nat Commun, 23 Feb 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-36670-2 Link to full text
Abstract: Antibiotics are a key control mechanism for synthetic biology and microbiology. Resistance genes are used to select desired cells and regulate bacterial populations, however their use to-date has been largely static. Precise spatiotemporal control of antibiotic resistance could enable a wide variety of applications that require dynamic control of susceptibility and survival. Here, we use light-inducible Cre recombinase to activate expression of drug resistance genes in Escherichia coli. We demonstrate light-activated resistance to four antibiotics: carbenicillin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Cells exposed to blue light survive in the presence of lethal antibiotic concentrations, while those kept in the dark do not. To optimize resistance induction, we vary promoter, ribosome binding site, and enzyme variant strength using chromosome and plasmid-based constructs. We then link inducible resistance to expression of a heterologous fatty acid enzyme to increase production of octanoic acid. These optogenetic resistance tools pave the way for spatiotemporal control of cell survival.

Spatiotemporally controllable diphtherin transgene system and neoantigen immunotherapy.

blue VVD B16-F10 mouse in vivo Transgene expression
J Control Release, 14 Feb 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.08.059 Link to full text
Abstract: Individualized immunotherapy has attracted great attention due to its high specificity, effectiveness, and safety. We used an exogenous antigen to label tumor cells with MHC I molecules, which allowed neoantigen-specific T cells to recognize and kill tumor cells. A neoantigen vaccine alone cannot achieve complete tumor clearance due to a tumor immunosuppressive microenvironment. The LightOn system was developed to effectively eliminate tumor cells through the spatiotemporally controllable expression of diphtheria toxin A fragment, leading to antigen release in the tumor region. These antigens stimulated and enhanced immunological function and thus, recruited neoantigen-specific T cells to infiltrate tumor tissue. Using the nanoparticle delivery system, neoantigens produced higher delivery efficiency to lymph nodes and improved tumor targeting ability for tumor cell labelling. Good tumor inhibition and prolonged survival were achieved, while eliciting a strong immune response. The combination of a spatiotemporally controllable transgene system with tumor neoantigen labeling has great potential for tumor immunotherapy.

Using optogenetics to investigate the shared mechanisms of apical-basal polarity and mitosis.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Cells Tissues Organs, 4 Jan 2023 DOI: 10.1159/000528796 Link to full text
Abstract: The initiation of apical-basal (AB) polarity and the process of mitotic cell division are both characterised by the generation of specialised plasma membrane and cortical domains. These are generated using shared mechanisms, such as asymmetric protein accumulation, Rho GTPase signalling, cytoskeletal reorganisation, vesicle trafficking and asymmetric phosphoinositide distribution. In epithelial tissue, the coordination of AB polarity and mitosis in space and time is important both during initial epithelial development and to maintain tissue integrity and ensure appropriate cell differentiation at later stages. Whilst significant progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms underlying cell division and AB polarity, it has so far been challenging to fully unpick the complex interrelationship between polarity, signalling, morphogenesis, and cell division. However, the recent emergence of optogenetic protein localisation techniques is now allowing researchers to reversibly control protein activation, localisation and signalling with high spatiotemporal resolution. This has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of how subcellular processes such as apical-basal polarity are integrated with cell behaviours such as mitosis and how these processes impact whole tissue morphogenesis. So far, these techniques have been used to investigate processes such as cleavage furrow ingression, mitotic spindle positioning, and in vivo epithelial morphogenesis. This review describes some of the key shared mechanisms of cell division and apical-basal polarity establishment, how they are coordinated during development and how the advance of optogenetic techniques is furthering this research field.

Coupling Cell Communication and Optogenetics: Implementation of a Light-Inducible Intercellular System in Yeast.

blue VVD S. cerevisiae Signaling cascade control Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 19 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.2c00338 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell communication is a widespread mechanism in biology, allowing the transmission of information about environmental conditions. In order to understand how cell communication modulates relevant biological processes such as survival, division, differentiation, and apoptosis, different synthetic systems based on chemical induction have been successfully developed. In this work, we coupled cell communication and optogenetics in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our approach is based on two strains connected by the light-dependent production of α-factor pheromone in one cell type, which induces gene expression in the other type. After the individual characterization of the different variants of both strains, the optogenetic intercellular system was evaluated by combining the cells under contrasting illumination conditions. Using luciferase as a reporter gene, specific co-cultures at a 1:1 ratio displayed activation of the response upon constant blue light, which was not observed for the same cell mixtures grown in darkness. Then, the system was assessed at several dark/blue-light transitions, where the response level varies depending on the moment in which illumination was delivered. Furthermore, we observed that the amplitude of response can be tuned by modifying the initial ratio between both strains. Finally, the two-population system showed higher fold inductions in comparison with autonomous strains. Altogether, these results demonstrated that external light information is propagated through a diffusible signaling molecule to modulate gene expression in a synthetic system involving microbial cells, which will pave the road for studies allowing optogenetic control of population-level dynamics.

Enhancement of Vivid-based Photo-Activatable Gal4 Transcription Factor in Mammalian Cells.

blue VVD chicken in vivo EpH4 HEK293T mouse in vivo NIH/3T3 Transgene expression
Cell Struct Funct, 16 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1247/csf.22074 Link to full text
Abstract: The Gal4/UAS system is a versatile tool to manipulate exogenous gene expression of cells spatially and temporally in many model organisms. Many variations of light-controllable Gal4/UAS system are now available, following the development of photo-activatable (PA) molecular switches and integration of these tools. However, many PA-Gal4 transcription factors have undesired background transcription activities even in dark conditions, and this severely attenuates reliable light-controlled gene expression. Therefore, it is important to develop reliable PA-Gal4 transcription factors with robust light-induced gene expression and limited background activity. By optimization of synthetic PA-Gal4 transcription factors, we have validated configurations of Gal4 DNA biding domain, transcription activation domain and blue light-dependent dimer formation molecule Vivid (VVD), and applied types of transcription activation domains to develop a new PA-Gal4 transcription factor we have named eGAV (enhanced Gal4-VVD transcription factor). Background activity of eGAV in dark conditions was significantly lower than that of hGAVPO, a commonly used PA-Gal4 transcription factor, and maximum light-induced gene expression levels were also improved. Light-controlled gene expression was verified in cultured HEK293T cells with plasmid-transient transfections, and in mouse EpH4 cells with lentivirus vector-mediated transduction. Furthermore, light-controlled eGAV-mediated transcription was confirmed in transfected neural stem cells and progenitors in developing and adult mouse brain and chick spinal cord, and in adult mouse hepatocytes, demonstrating that eGAV can be applied to a wide range of experimental systems and model organisms.Key words: optogenetics, Gal4/UAS system, transcription, gene expression, Vivid.

Network analysis of chromophore binding site in LOV domain.

blue LOV domains Background
bioRxiv, 11 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.12.10.519884 Link to full text
Abstract: Photoreceptor proteins are versatile toolbox for developing biosensors for optogenetic applications. These molecular tools get activated upon illumination of blue light, which in turn offers a non-invasive method for gaining high spatiotemporal resolution and precise control of cellular signal transduction. The Light-Oxygen-Voltage (LOV) domain family of proteins is a well-recognized system for constructing optogenetic devices. Translation of these proteins into efficient cellular sensors is possible by tuning their photochemistry lifetime. However, the bottleneck is the need for more understanding of the relationship between the protein environment and photocycle kinetics. Significantly, the effect of the local environment also modulates the electronic structure of chromophore, which perturbs the electrostatic and hydrophobic interaction within the binding site. This work highlights the critical factors hidden in the protein network linking with their experimental photocycle kinetics. It also presents an opportunity to quantitatively examine the alternation in chromophore equilibrium geometry and identify details which have substantial implications in designing synthetic constructs with desirable photocycle efficiency.

Precise modulation of embryonic development through optogenetics.

blue cyan violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Review
Genesis, 7 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1002/dvg.23505 Link to full text
Abstract: The past decade has witnessed enormous progress in optogenetics, which uses photo-sensitive proteins to control signal transduction in live cells and animals. The ever-increasing amount of optogenetic tools, however, could overwhelm the selection of appropriate optogenetic strategies. In this work, we summarize recent progress in this emerging field and highlight the application of opsin-free optogenetics in studying embryonic development, focusing on new insights gained into optical induction of morphogenesis, cell polarity, cell fate determination, tissue differentiation, neuronal regeneration, synaptic plasticity, and removal of cells during development.

Expanding the molecular versatility of an optogenetic switch in yeast.

blue NcWC1-LOV VVD S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 15 Nov 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.1029217 Link to full text
Abstract: In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the FUN-LOV (FUNgal Light Oxygen and Voltage) optogenetic switch enables high levels of light-activated gene expression in a reversible and tunable fashion. The FUN-LOV components, under identical promoter and terminator sequences, are encoded in two different plasmids, which limits its future applications in wild and industrial yeast strains. In this work, we aim to expand the molecular versatility of the FUN-LOV switch to increase its biotechnological applications. Initially, we generated new variants of this system by replacing the promoter and terminator sequences and by cloning the system in a single plasmid (FUN-LOVSP). In a second step, we included the nourseothricin (Nat) or hygromycin (Hph) antibiotic resistances genes in the new FUN-LOVSP plasmid, generating two new variants (FUN-LOVSP-Nat and FUN-LOVSP-Hph), to allow selection after genome integration. Then, we compared the levels of light-activated expression for each FUN-LOV variants using the luciferase reporter gene in the BY4741 yeast strain. The results indicate that FUN-LOVSP-Nat and FUN-LOVSP-Hph, either episomally or genome integrated, reached higher levels of luciferase expression upon blue-light stimulation compared the original FUN-LOV system. Finally, we demonstrated the functionality of FUN-LOVSP-Hph in the 59A-EC1118 wine yeast strain, showing similar levels of reporter gene induction under blue-light respect to the laboratory strain, and with lower luciferase expression background in darkness condition. Altogether, the new FUN-LOV variants described here are functional in different yeast strains, expanding the biotechnological applications of this optogenetic tool.

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.

Recent Synthetic Biology Approaches for Temperature- and Light-Controlled Gene Expression in Bacterial Hosts.

blue UV LOV domains UV receptors Review
Molecules, 11 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.3390/molecules27206798 Link to full text
Abstract: The expression of genes of interest (GOI) can be initiated by providing external stimuli such as temperature shifts and light irradiation. The application of thermal or light stimuli triggers structural changes in stimuli-sensitive biomolecules within the cell, thereby inducing or repressing gene expression. Over the past two decades, several groups have reported genetic circuits that use natural or engineered stimuli-sensitive modules to manipulate gene expression. Here, we summarize versatile strategies of thermosensors and light-driven systems for the conditional expression of GOI in bacterial hosts.
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