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 39 results
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Light-Regulated Pro-Angiogenic Engineered Living Materials.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
Adv Funct Mater, 5 May 2023 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202212695 Link to full text
Abstract: Regenerative medicine aims to restore damaged cells, tissues, and organs, for which growth factors are vital to stimulate regenerative cellular transformations. Major advances have been made in growth factor engineering and delivery like the development of robust peptidomimetics and controlled release matrices. However, their clinical applicability remains limited due to their poor stability in the body and need for careful regulation of their local concentration to avoid unwanted side-effects. In this study, a strategy to overcome these limitations is explored using engineered living materials (ELMs), which contain live microorganisms that can be programmed with stimuli-responsive functionalities. Specifically, the development of an ELM that releases a pro-angiogenic protein in a light-regulated manner is described. This is achieved by optogenetically engineering bacteria to synthesize and secrete a vascular endothelial growth factor peptidomimetic (QK) linked to a collagen-binding domain. The bacteria are securely encapsulated in bilayer hydrogel constructs that support bacterial functionality but prevent their escape from the ELM. In situ control over the release profiles of the pro-angiogenic protein using light is demonstrated. Finally, it is shown that the released protein is able to bind collagen and promote angiogenic network formation among vascular endothelial cells, indicating the regenerative potential of these ELMs.

A micro-nano optogenetic system based on probiotics for in situ host metabolism regulation.

blue YtvA L. lactis Transgene expression
Nano Res, 7 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1007/s12274-022-4963-5 Link to full text
Abstract: Genetically engineered bacteria have aroused attention as micro-nano drug delivery systems in situ. However, conventional designs of engineered bacteria usually function constantly or autonomously, which might be non-specific or imprecise. Therefore, designing and optimizing in situ control strategy are important methodological progress for therapeutic researches of intestinal engineered bacteria. Here, a micro-nano optogenetic system based on probiotic was developed combining microelectronics, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology to achieve in situ controllable drug delivery. Firstly, optogenetic engineered Lactococcus lactis was orally administrated in the intestinal tract. A wearable optical device was designed to control optical signals remotely. Then, L. lactis could be customized to secrete peptides according to optical signals. As an example, optogenetic L. lactis system can be constructed to secrete glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) under the control of the wearable optical device to regulate metabolism. To improve the half-life of GLP-1 in vivo, Fc-domain fused GLP-1 was optimally used. Using this strategy, blood glucose, weight, and other features were well controlled in rats and mice models. Furthermore, upconversion microcapsules were introduced to increase the excitation wavelength of the optogenetic system for better penetrability. This strategy has biomedical potential to expand the toolbox for intestinal engineered bacteria.


blue green red CcaS/CcaR Cph1 YtvA E. coli Multichromatic
J Cell Biochem, Nov 2022 DOI: Link to full text
Abstract: Retraction: "Long noncoding RNA ZFPM2-AS1 is involved in lung adenocarcinoma via miR-511-3p/AFF4 pathway," by Juan Li, Jun Ge, Ye Yang, Bin Liu, Min Zheng, and Rui Shi, J Cell Biochem. 2020; 2534-2542: The above article, published online on November 6, 2019, in Wiley Online Library ( has been retracted by agreement between the journal's Editor in Chief, Prof. Dr. Christian Behl, and Wiley Periodicals LLC. The retraction has been agreed after the authors stated that unintentional errors occurred during the research process, and the experimental results cannot be verified. Thus, the conclusions are considered to be invalid. The authors were not available for a final confirmation of the retraction.

Light-regulated pro-angiogenic engineered living materials.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 28 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.10.28.514190 Link to full text
Abstract: Despite their promise, the application of growth factors in regenerative medicine is limited by their poor stability in the body, high costs of production/storage and need for localized and tightly controlled delivery to minimize adverse side effects. In this study, a unique strategy to overcome these limitations is explored based on engineered living materials (ELMs). These are an emerging class of composite materials, which contain live microorganisms that can be engineered to produce and secrete proteins in response to external stimuli. Herein, the development of an ELM that light-responsively releases a pro-angiogenic protein is described. This is achieved by optogenetically engineering bacteria to synthesize and secrete a fusion protein containing a vascular endothelial growth factor peptidomimetic linked to a collagen- binding domain. The bacteria are securely encapsulated in bilayer hydrogel constructs that support bacterial functionality but prevent their escape from the ELM. The possibility to switch protein release ON and OFF with light and to tune the amount released with different light intensities is demonstrated. Finally, it is shown that the released protein is active through its ability to bind to collagen and promote angiogenic network formation in human vascular endothelial cell cultures, indicating the regenerative potential of these ELMs.

Upconversion Optogenetic Engineered Bacteria System for Time-Resolved Imaging Diagnosis and Light-Controlled Cancer Therapy.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression Cell death
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 6 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c14633 Link to full text
Abstract: Engineering bacteria can achieve targeted and controllable cancer therapy using synthetic biology technology and the characteristics of tumor microenvironment. Besides, the accurate tumor diagnosis and visualization of the treatment process are also vital for bacterial therapy. In this paper, a light control engineered bacteria system based on upconversion nanoparticles (UCNP)-mediated time-resolved imaging (TRI) was constructed for colorectal cancer theranostic and therapy. UCNP with different luminous lifetimes were separately modified with the tumor targeting molecule (folic acid) or anaerobic bacteria (Nissle 1917, EcN) to realize the co-localization of tumor tissues, thus improving the diagnostic accuracy based on TRI. In addition, blue light was used to induce engineered bacteria (EcN-pDawn-φx174E/TRAIL) lysis and the release of tumor apoptosis-related inducing ligand (TRAIL), thus triggering tumor cell death. In vitro and in vivo results indicated that this system could achieve accurate tumor diagnosis and light-controlled cancer therapy. EcN-pDawn-φx174E/TRAIL with blue light irradiation could inhibit 53% of tumor growth in comparison to that without blue light irradiation (11.8%). We expect that this engineered bacteria system provides a new technology for intelligent bacterial therapy and the construction of cancer theranostics.

Light-Dependent Control of Bacterial Expression at the mRNA Level.

blue PAL YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 21 Sep 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.2c00365 Link to full text
Abstract: Sensory photoreceptors mediate numerous light-dependent adaptations across organisms. In optogenetics, photoreceptors achieve the reversible, non-invasive, and spatiotemporally precise control by light of gene expression and other cellular processes. The light-oxygen-voltage receptor PAL binds to small RNA aptamers with sequence specificity upon blue-light illumination. By embedding the responsive aptamer in the ribosome-binding sequence of genes of interest, their expression can be downregulated by light. We developed the pCrepusculo and pAurora optogenetic systems that are based on PAL and allow to down- and upregulate, respectively, bacterial gene expression using blue light. Both systems are realized as compact, single plasmids that exhibit stringent blue-light responses with low basal activity and up to several 10-fold dynamic range. As PAL exerts light-dependent control at the RNA level, it can be combined with other optogenetic circuits that control transcription initiation. By integrating regulatory mechanisms operating at the DNA and mRNA levels, optogenetic circuits with emergent properties can thus be devised. As a case in point, the pEnumbra setup permits to upregulate gene expression under moderate blue light whereas strong blue light shuts off expression again. Beyond providing novel signal-responsive expression systems for diverse applications in biotechnology and synthetic biology, our work also illustrates how the light-dependent PAL-aptamer interaction can be harnessed for the control and interrogation of RNA-based processes.

An adaptive tracking illumination system for optogenetic control of single bacterial cells.

blue red BphS YtvA P. aeruginosa Transgene expression Immediate control of second messengers
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, 21 Sep 2022 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-022-12177-6 Link to full text
Abstract: Single-cell behaviors are essential during early-stage biofilm formation. In this study, we aimed to evaluate whether single-cell behaviors could be precisely and continuously manipulated by optogenetics. We thus established adaptive tracking illumination (ATI), a novel illumination method to precisely manipulate the gene expression and bacterial behavior of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the surface at the single-cell level by using the combination of a high-throughput bacterial tracking algorithm, optogenetic manipulation, and adaptive microscopy. ATI enables precise gene expression control by manipulating the optogenetic module gene expression and type IV pili (TFP)-mediated motility and microcolony formation during biofilm formation through bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) level modifications in single cells. Moreover, we showed that the spatial organization of single cells in mature biofilms could be controlled using ATI. Therefore, this novel method we established might markedly answer various questions or resolve problems in microbiology. KEY POINTS: • High-resolution spatial and continuous optogenetic control of individual bacteria. • Phenotype-specific optogenetic control of individual bacteria. • Capacity to control biologically relevant processes in engineered single cells.

High-throughput feedback-enabled optogenetic stimulation and spectroscopy in microwell plates.

blue YtvA E. coli
bioRxiv, 13 Jul 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.13.499906 Link to full text
Abstract: The ability to perform sophisticated, high-throughput optogenetic experiments has been greatly enhanced by recent open-source illumination devices that allow independent programming of light patterns in single wells of microwell plates. However, there is currently a lack of instrumentation to monitor such experiments in real time, necessitating repeated transfers of the samples to stand-alone instruments and limiting the types of experiments that could be performed. Here we address this gap with the development of the optoPlateReader (oPR), an open-source, solid-state, compact device that allows automated optogenetic stimulation and spectroscopy in each well of a 96-well plate. The oPR integrates an optoPlate optical stimulation module with a module called the optoReader, an array of 96 photodiodes and LEDs that allows 96 parallel light measurements. The oPR was optimized for stimulation with blue light and for measurements of optical density and fluorescence. After calibration of all device components, we used the oPR to measure growth and to induce and measure fluorescent protein expression in E. coli. We further demonstrated how the optical read/write capabilities of the oPR permit computer-in-the-loop feedback control, where the current state of the sample can be used to adjust the optical stimulation parameters of the sample according to pre-defined feedback algorithms. The oPR will thus help realize an untapped potential for optogenetic experiments by enabling automated reading, writing, and feedback in microwell plates through open-source hardware that is accessible, customizable, and inexpensive.

Light-Sensitive Lactococcus lactis for Microbe-Gut-Brain Axis Regulating via Upconversion Optogenetic Micro-Nano System.

blue YtvA L. lactis Transgene expression
ACS Nano, 1 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c11536 Link to full text
Abstract: The discovery of the gut-brain axis has proven that brain functions can be affected by the gut microbiota's metabolites, so there are significant opportunities to explore new tools to regulate gut microbiota and thus work on the brain functions. Meanwhile, engineered bacteria as oral live biotherapeutic agents to regulate the host's healthy homeostasis have attracted much attention in microbial therapy. However, whether this strategy is able to remotely regulate the host's brain function in vivo has not been investigated. Here, we engineered three blue-light-responsive probiotics as oral live biotherapeutic agents. They are spatiotemporally delivered and controlled by the upconversion optogenetic micro-nano system. This micro-nano system promotes the small intestine targeting and production of the exogenous L. lactis in the intestines, which realizes precise manipulation of brain functions including anxiety behavior, Parkinson's disease, and vagal afferent. The noninvasive and real-time probiotic intervention strategy makes the communiation from the gut to the host more controllable, which will enable the potential for engineered microbes accurately and effectively regulating a host's health.

NIR-Responsive Photodynamic Nanosystem Combined with Antitumor Immune Optogenetics Bacteria for Precise Synergetic Therapy.

blue YtvA L. lactis Transgene expression
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 9 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c01138 Link to full text
Abstract: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and immunotherapy are considered promising methods for the treatment of tumors. However, these treatment systems are still suffering from shortcomings such as hypoxia, easy metastasis, and delayed immune response during PDT. Therefore, it is still challenging to establish a programmed and rapid response immune combination therapy platform. Here, we construct a two-step synergetic therapy platform for the treatment of primary tumors and distant tumors using upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) and engineered bacteria as therapeutic media. In the first step, erbium ion (Er3+)-doped UCNPs act as a photoswitcher to activate the photosensitizer ZnPc to produce 1O2 for primary tumor therapy. In the second step, thulium ion (Tm3+)-doped UCNPs can emit blue-violet light under the excitation of near-infrared (NIR) light to activate the engineered bacteria to produce interferon (INF-γ) and release them in the intestine, which can not only treat tumors directly but also act with PDT to regulate immune pathways to activate the immune system, resulting in a joint immunotherapy effect to inhibit the growth of distant tumors. As a new type of programmatic combination therapy, we have proved that this platform can jointly activate the body's immune system during PDT and immunization treatment and can effectively inhibit tumor metastasis.

Development of Optogenetic Dual-Switch System for Rewiring Metabolic Flux for Polyhydroxybutyrate Production.

blue green CcaS/CcaR EL222 RsLOV YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
Molecules, 18 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3390/molecules27030617 Link to full text
Abstract: Several strategies, including inducer addition and biosensor use, have been developed for dynamical regulation. However, the toxicity, cost, and inflexibility of existing strategies have created a demand for superior technology. In this study, we designed an optogenetic dual-switch system and applied it to increase polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production. First, an optimized chromatic acclimation sensor/regulator (RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR) system (comprising an optimized ribosomal binding site (RBS), light sensory protein CcaS, and response regulator CcaR) was selected for a wide sensing range of approximately 10-fold between green-light activation and red-light repression. The RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR system was combined with a blue light-activated YF1-FixJ-PhlF system (containing histidine kinase YF1, response regulator FixJ, and repressor PhlF) engineered with reduced crosstalk. Finally, the optogenetic dual-switch system was used to rewire the metabolic flux for PHB production by regulating the sequences and intervals of the citrate synthase gene (gltA) and PHB synthesis gene (phbCAB) expression. Consequently, the strain RBS34, which has high gltA expression and a time lag of 3 h, achieved the highest PHB content of 16.6 wt%, which was approximately 3-fold that of F34 (expressed at 0 h). The results indicate that the optogenetic dual-switch system was verified as a practical and convenient tool for increasing PHB production.

Regulating bacterial behavior within hydrogels of tunable viscoelasticity.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 6 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.01.06.475183 Link to full text
Abstract: Engineered living materials (ELMs) are a new class of materials in which living organism incorporated into diffusive matrices uptake a fundamental role in material’s composition and function. Understanding how the spatial confinement in 3D affects the behavior of the embedded cells is crucial to design and predict ELM’s function, regulate and minimize their environmental impact and facilitate their translation into applied materials. This study investigates the growth and metabolic activity of bacteria within an associative hydrogel network (Pluronic-based) with mechanical properties that can be tuned by introducing a variable degree of acrylate crosslinks. Individual bacteria distributed in the hydrogel matrix at low density form functional colonies whose size is controlled by the extent of permanent crosslinks. With increasing stiffness and decreasing plasticity of the matrix, a decrease in colony volumes and an increase in their sphericity is observed. Protein production surprisingly follows a different pattern with higher production yields occurring in networks with intermediate permanent crosslinking degrees. These results demonstrate that, bacterial mechanosensitivity can be used to control and regulate the composition and function of ELMs by thoughtful design of the encapsulating matrix, and by following design criteria with interesting similarities to those developed for 3D culture of mammalian cells.

Light-induced Patterning of Electroactive Bacterial Biofilms.

blue YtvA
bioRxiv, 21 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.12.20.473588 Link to full text
Abstract: Electroactive bacterial biofilms can function as living biomaterials that merge the functionality of living cells with electronic components. However, the development of such advanced living electronics has been challenged by the inability to control the geometry of electroactive biofilms relative to solid-state electrodes. Here, we developed a lithographic strategy to pattern conductive biofilms of Shewanella oneidensis by controlling aggregation protein CdrAB expression with a blue light-induced genetic circuit. This controlled deposition enabled S. oneidensis biofilm patterning on transparent electrode surfaces and measurements demonstrated tunable biofilm conduction dependent on pattern size. Controlling biofilm geometry also enabled us, for the first time, to quantify the intrinsic conductivity of living S. oneidensis biofilms and experimentally confirm predictions based on simulations of a recently proposed collision-exchange electron transport mechanism. Overall, we developed a facile technique for controlling electroactive biofilm formation on electrodes, with implications for both studying and harnessing bioelectronics.

Optogenetic operated probiotics to regulate host metabolism by mimicking enteroendocrine.

blue YtvA L. lactis Transgene expression
bioRxiv, 1 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.30.470589 Link to full text
Abstract: The enteroendocrine system plays an important role in metabolism. The gut microbiome regulates enteroendocrine in an extensive way, arousing attention in biomedicine. However, conventional strategies of enteroendocrine regulation via gut microbiome are usually non-specific or imprecise. Here, an optogenetic operated probiotics system was developed combining synthetic biology and flexible electronics to achieve in situ controllable secretion to mimic enteroendocrine. Firstly, optogenetic engineered Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis) were administrated in the intestinal tract. A wearable optogenetic device was designed to control optical signals remotely. Then, L. lactis could secrete enteroendocrine hormone according to optical signals. As an example, optogenetic L. lactis could secrete glucagon-like peptide-1(GLP-1) under the control of the wearable optogenetic device. To improve the half-life of GLP-1 in vivo, the Fc domain from immunoglobulin was fused. Treated with this strategy, blood glucose, weight and other features were relatively well controlled in rats and mice models. Furthermore, up-conversion microcapsules were introduced to increase the excitation wavelength of the optogenetic system for better penetrability. This strategy has biomedical potential in metabolic diseases therapy by mimicking enteroendocrine.

NIR light-responsive bacteria with live bio-glue coatings for precise colonization in the gut.

blue YtvA E. coli Signaling cascade control Transgene expression
Cell Rep, 14 Sep 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109690 Link to full text
Abstract: Recombinant bacterial colonization plays an indispensable role in disease prevention, alleviation, and treatment. Successful application mainly depends on whether bacteria can efficiently spatiotemporally colonize the host gut. However, a primary limitation of existing methods is the lack of precise spatiotemporal regulation, resulting in uncontrolled methods that are less effective. Herein, we design upconversion microgels (UCMs) to convert near-infrared light (NIR) into blue light to activate recombinant light-responsive bacteria (Lresb) in vivo, where autocrine "functional cellular glues" made of adhesive proteins assist Lresb inefficiently colonizing the gut. The programmable engineering platform is further developed for the controlled and effective colonization of Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) in the gut. The colonizing bacteria effectively alleviate DSS-induced colitis in mice. We anticipate that this approach could facilitate the clinical application of engineered microbial therapeutics to accurately and effectively regulate host health.

Optogenetic Control of Microbial Consortia Populations for Chemical Production.

blue YtvA E. coli S. cerevisiae Transgene expression
ACS Synth Biol, 5 Aug 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.1c00182 Link to full text
Abstract: Microbial co-culture fermentations can improve chemical production from complex biosynthetic pathways over monocultures by distributing enzymes across multiple strains, thereby reducing metabolic burden, overcoming endogenous regulatory mechanisms, or exploiting natural traits of different microbial species. However, stabilizing and optimizing microbial subpopulations for maximal chemical production remains a major obstacle in the field. In this study, we demonstrate that optogenetics is an effective strategy to dynamically control populations in microbial co-cultures. Using a new optogenetic circuit we call OptoTA, we regulate an endogenous toxin-antitoxin system, enabling tunability of Escherichia coli growth using only blue light. With this system we can control the population composition of co-cultures of E. coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When introducing in each strain different metabolic modules of biosynthetic pathways for isobutyl acetate or naringenin, we found that the productivity of co-cultures increases by adjusting the population ratios with specific light duty cycles. This study shows the feasibility of using optogenetics to control microbial consortia populations and the advantages of using light to control their chemical production.

Engineering Gac/Rsm Signaling Cascade for Optogenetic Induction of the Pathogenicity Switch in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

blue YtvA P. aeruginosa P. aeruginosa Signaling cascade control
ACS Synth Biol, 2 Jun 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.1c00075 Link to full text
Abstract: Bacterial pathogens operate by tightly controlling the pathogenicity to facilitate invasion and survival in host. While small molecule inducers can be designed to modulate pathogenicity to perform studies of pathogen-host interaction, these approaches, due to the diffusion property of chemicals, may have unintended, or pleiotropic effects that can impose limitations on their use. By contrast, light provides superior spatial and temporal resolution. Here, using optogenetics we reengineered GacS of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, signal transduction protein of the global regulatory Gac/Rsm cascade which is of central importance for the regulation of infection factors. The resultant protein (termed YGS24) displayed significant light-dependent activity of GacS kinases in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When introduced in the Caenorhabditis elegans host systems, YGS24 stimulated the pathogenicity of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 in a brain-heart infusion and of another strain, PA14, in slow killing media progressively upon blue-light exposure. This optogenetic system provides an accessible way to spatiotemporally control bacterial pathogenicity in defined hosts, even specific tissues, to develop new pathogenesis systems, which may in turn expedite development of innovative therapeutics.

Optotheranostic Nanosystem with Phone Visual Diagnosis and Optogenetic Microbial Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis At-Home Care.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
ACS Nano, 5 Apr 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c00135 Link to full text
Abstract: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a relapsing disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. However, the home care of UC based on remote monitoring, due to the operational complexity and time-consuming procedure, restrain its widespread applications. Here we constructed an optotheranostic nanosystem for self-diagnosis and long-acting mitigations of UC at home. The system included two major modules: (i) A disease prescreening module mediated by smartphone optical sensing. (ii) Disease real-time intervention module mediated by an optogenetic engineered bacteria system. Recombinant Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) secreted interleukin-10 (IL-10) could downregulate inflammatory cascades and matrix metalloproteinases; it is a candidate for use in the therapeutic intervention of UC. The results showed that the Detector was able to analyze, report, and share the detection results in less than 1 min, and the limit of detection was 15 ng·mL-1. Besides, the IL-10-secreting EcN treatment suppressed the intestinal inflammatory response in UC mice and protected the intestinal mucosa against injury. The optotheranostic nanosystems enabled solutions to diagnose and treat disease at home, which promotes a mobile health service development.

Living materials fabricated via gradient mineralization of light-inducible biofilms.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
Nat Chem Biol, 21 Dec 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-020-00697-z Link to full text
Abstract: Living organisms have evolved sophisticated cell-mediated biomineralization mechanisms to build structurally ordered, environmentally adaptive composite materials. Despite advances in biomimetic mineralization research, it remains difficult to produce mineralized composites that integrate the structural features and 'living' attributes of their natural counterparts. Here, inspired by natural graded materials, we developed living patterned and gradient composites by coupling light-inducible bacterial biofilm formation with biomimetic hydroxyapatite (HA) mineralization. We showed that both the location and the degree of mineralization could be regulated by tailoring functional biofilm growth with spatial and biomass density control. The cells in the composites remained viable and could sense and respond to environmental signals. Additionally, the composites exhibited a maximum 15-fold increase in Young's modulus after mineralization and could be applied to repair damage in a spatially controlled manner. Beyond insights into the mechanism of formation of natural graded composites, our study provides a viable means of fabricating living composites with dynamic responsiveness and environmental adaptability.

Optogenetical control of infection signaling cascade of bacteria by an engineered light-responsive protein.

blue YtvA P. aeruginosa P. aeruginosa
bioRxiv, 29 Oct 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.28.358515 Link to full text
Abstract: Bacterial pathogens operate by tightly controlling the virulence to facilitate invasion and survival in host. Although pathways regulating virulence have been defined in detail and signals modulating these processes are gradually understood, a lack of controlling infection signaling cascades of pathogens when and whereabouts specificity limits deeper investigating of host-pathogen interactions. Here, we employed optogenetics to reengineer the GacS of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, sensor kinase of GacS/GacA TCS regulates the expression of virulence factors by directly mediating several sRNAs. The resultant protein YGS24 displayed significant light-dependent activity of GacS kinases in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When introduced in Caenorhabditis elegans host systems, YGS24 stimulated the pathogenicity of PAO1 in BHI and of PA14 in SK medium progressively upon blue-light exposure. This optogenetic system provides an accessible way to spatiotemporally control bacterial pathogenicity in defined host even specific tissues to develop new pathogenesis systems, which may in turn expedite development of innovative therapeutics.

Upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem optically controls the secretion of light-responsive bacteria for systemic immunity regulation.

blue YtvA E. coli L. lactis Transgene expression
Commun Biol, 9 Oct 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-01287-4 Link to full text
Abstract: Chemical molecules specifically secreted into the blood and targeted tissues by intestinal microbiota can effectively affect the associated functions of the intestine especially immunity, representing a new strategy for immune-related diseases. However, proper ways of regulating the secretion metabolism of specific strains still remain to be established. In this article, an upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem was constructed to effectively regulate the specific secretion of engineered bacteria. The system included two major modules: (i) Modification of secretory light-responsive engineered bacteria. (ii) Optical sensing mediated by upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem. This system could regulate the efficient secretion of immune factors by engineered bacteria through optical manipulation. Inflammatory bowel disease and subcutaneously transplanted tumors were selected to verify the effectiveness of the system. Our results showed that the endogenous factor TGF-β1 could be controllably secreted to suppress the intestinal inflammatory response. Additionally, regulatory secretion of IFN-γ was promoted to slow the progression of B16F10 tumor.

Optogenetic control of the lac operon for bacterial chemical and protein production.

blue YtvA E. coli Transgene expression Endogenous gene expression
Nat Chem Biol, 7 Sep 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-020-0639-1 Link to full text
Abstract: Control of the lac operon with isopropyl β-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) has been used to regulate gene expression in Escherichia coli for countless applications, including metabolic engineering and recombinant protein production. However, optogenetics offers unique capabilities, such as easy tunability, reversibility, dynamic induction strength and spatial control, that are difficult to obtain with chemical inducers. We have developed a series of circuits for optogenetic regulation of the lac operon, which we call OptoLAC, to control gene expression from various IPTG-inducible promoters using only blue light. Applying them to metabolic engineering improves mevalonate and isobutanol production by 24% and 27% respectively, compared to IPTG induction, in light-controlled fermentations scalable to at least two-litre bioreactors. Furthermore, OptoLAC circuits enable control of recombinant protein production, reaching yields comparable to IPTG induction but with easier tunability of expression. OptoLAC circuits are potentially useful to confer light control over other cell functions originally designed to be IPTG-inducible.

Printed Degradable Optical Waveguides for Guiding Light into Tissue.

blue YtvA E. coli
Adv Funct Mater, 2 Sep 2020 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202004327 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics and photonic technologies are changing the future of medicine. To implement light‐based therapies in the clinic, patient‐friendly devices that can deliver light inside the body while offering tunable properties and compatibility with soft tissues are needed. Here extrusion printing of degradable, hydrogel‐based optical waveguides with optical losses as low as 0.1 dB cm−1 at visible wavelengths is described. Core‐only and core‐cladding fibers are printed at room temperature from polyethylene glycol (PEG)‐based and PEG/Pluronic precursors, and cured by in situ photopolymerization. The obtained waveguides are flexible, with mechanical properties tunable within a tissue‐compatible range. Degradation times are also tunable by adjusting the molar mass of the diacrylate gel precursors, which are synthesized by linking PEG diacrylate (PEGDA) with varying proportions of DL‐dithiothreitol (DTT). The printed waveguides are used to activate photochemical and optogenetic processes in close‐to‐physiological environments. Light‐triggered migration of cells in a photoresponsive 3D hydrogel and drug release from an optogenetically‐engineered living material by delivering light across >5 cm of muscle tissue are demonstrated. These results quantify the in vitro performance, and reflect the potential of the printed degradable fibers for in vivo and clinical applications.

Bringing Light into Cell-Free Expression.

blue YtvA in vitro Extracellular optogenetics
ACS Synth Biol, 15 Jul 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.0c00211 Link to full text
Abstract: Cell-free systems, as part of the synthetic biology field, have become a critical platform in biological studies. However, there is a lack of research into developing a switch for a dynamical control of the transcriptional and translational process. The optogenetic tool has been widely proven as an ideal control switch for protein synthesis due to its nontoxicity and excellent time-space conversion. Hence, in this study, a blue light-regulated two-component system named YF1/FixJ was incorporated into an Escherichia coli-based cell-free system to control protein synthesis. The corresponding cell-free system successfully achieved a 5-fold dynamic protein expression by blue light repression and 3-fold dynamic expression by blue light activation. With the aim of expanding the applications of cell-free synthetic biology, the cell-free blue light-sensing system was used to perform imaging, light-controlled antibody synthesis, and light-triggered artificial cell assembly. This study can provide a guide for further research into the field of cell-free optical sensing. Moreover, it will also promote the development of cell-free synthetic biology and optogenetics through applying the cell-free optical sensing system to synthetic biology education, biopharmaceutical research, and artificial cell construction.

A single-component light sensor system allows highly tunable and direct activation of gene expression in bacterial cells.

blue RsLOV YtvA E. coli Transgene expression
Nucleic Acids Res, 28 Jan 2020 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkaa044 Link to full text
Abstract: Light-regulated modules offer unprecedented new ways to control cellular behaviour with precise spatial and temporal resolution. Among a variety of bacterial light-switchable gene expression systems, single-component systems consisting of single transcription factors would be more useful due to the advantages of speed, simplicity, and versatility. In the present study, we developed a single-component light-activated bacterial gene expression system (eLightOn) based on a novel LOV domain from Rhodobacter sphaeroides (RsLOV). The eLightOn system showed significant improvements over the existing single-component bacterial light-activated expression systems, with benefits including a high ON/OFF ratio of >500-fold, a high activation level, fast activation kinetics, and/or good adaptability. Additionally, the induction characteristics, including regulatory windows, activation kinetics and light sensitivities, were highly tunable by altering the expression level of LexRO. We demonstrated the usefulness of the eLightOn system in regulating cell division and swimming by controlling the expression of the FtsZ and CheZ genes, respectively, as well as constructing synthetic Boolean logic gates using light and arabinose as the two inputs. Taken together, our data indicate that the eLightOn system is a robust and highly tunable tool for quantitative and spatiotemporal control of bacterial gene expression.
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