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 118 results

Optogenetics in pancreatic islets: Actuators and effects.

blue green near-infrared red BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Diabetes, 8 Jul 2024 DOI: 10.2337/db23-1022 Link to full text
Abstract: The Islets of Langerhans reside within the endocrine pancreas as highly vascularised micro-organs that are responsible for the secretion of key hormones, such as insulin and glucagon. Islet function relies on a range of dynamic molecular processes that include calcium (Ca2+) waves, hormone pulses, and complex interactions between islet cell types. Dysfunction of these processes results in poor maintenance of blood glucose homeostasis and is a hallmark of diabetes. Very recently, the development of optogenetic methods that rely on light-sensitive molecular actuators has allowed perturbing islet function with near physiological spatio-temporal acuity. These actuators harness natural photoreceptor proteins and their engineered variants to manipulate mouse and human cells that are not normally light-responsive. Until recently, optogenetics in islet biology has primarily focused on hormone production and secretion; however, studies on further aspects of islet function, including paracrine regulation between islet cell types and dynamics within intracellular signaling pathways are emerging. Here, we discuss the applicability of optogenetics to islets cells and comprehensively review seminal as well as recent work on optogenetic actuators and their effects in islet function and diabetes mellitus (DM).

The caloric value of food intake structurally adjusts a neuronal mushroom body circuit mediating olfactory learning in Drosophila.

blue bPAC (BlaC) D. melanogaster in vivo Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
Learn Mem, 11 Jun 2024 DOI: 10.1101/lm.053997.124 Link to full text
Abstract: Associative learning enables the adaptive adjustment of behavioral decisions based on acquired, predicted outcomes. The valence of what is learned is influenced not only by the learned stimuli and their temporal relations, but also by prior experiences and internal states. In this study, we used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to demonstrate that neuronal circuits involved in associative olfactory learning undergo restructuring during extended periods of low-caloric food intake. Specifically, we observed a decrease in the connections between specific dopaminergic neurons (DANs) and Kenyon cells at distinct compartments of the mushroom body. This structural synaptic plasticity was contingent upon the presence of allatostatin A receptors in specific DANs and could be mimicked optogenetically by expressing a light-activated adenylate cyclase in exactly these DANs. Importantly, we found that this rearrangement in synaptic connections influenced aversive, punishment-induced olfactory learning but did not impact appetitive, reward-based learning. Whether induced by prolonged low-caloric conditions or optogenetic manipulation of cAMP levels, this synaptic rearrangement resulted in a reduction of aversive associative learning. Consequently, the balance between positive and negative reinforcing signals shifted, diminishing the ability to learn to avoid odor cues signaling negative outcomes. These results exemplify how a neuronal circuit required for learning and memory undergoes structural plasticity dependent on prior experiences of the nutritional value of food.

Optogenetic therapeutic strategies for diabetes mellitus.

blue cyan green red BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
J Diabetes, Jun 2024 DOI: 10.1111/1753-0407.13557 Link to full text
Abstract: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common chronic disease affecting humans globally. It is characterized by abnormally elevated blood glucose levels due to the failure of insulin production or reduction of insulin sensitivity and functionality. Insulin and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 replenishment or improvement of insulin resistance are the two major strategies to treat diabetes. Recently, optogenetics that uses genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins to precisely control cell functions has been regarded as a novel therapeutic strategy for diabetes. Here, we summarize the latest development of optogenetics and its integration with synthetic biology approaches to produce light-responsive cells for insulin/GLP-1 production, amelioration of insulin resistance and neuromodulation of insulin secretion. In addition, we introduce the development of cell encapsulation and delivery methods and smart bioelectronic devices for the in vivo application of optogenetics-based cell therapy in diabetes. The remaining challenges for optogenetics-based cell therapy in the clinical translational study are also discussed.

Optogenetic induction of chronic glucocorticoid exposure in early-life leads to blunted stress-response in larval zebrafish.

blue bPAC (BlaC) zebrafish in vivo Immediate control of second messengers
Eur J Neurosci, 11 Apr 2024 DOI: 10.1111/ejn.16301 Link to full text
Abstract: Early life stress (ELS) exposure alters stress susceptibility in later life and affects vulnerability to stress-related disorders, but how ELS changes the long-lasting responsiveness of the stress system is not well understood. Zebrafish provides an opportunity to study conserved mechanisms underlying the development and function of the stress response that is regulated largely by the neuroendocrine hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal/interrenal (HPA/I) axis, with glucocorticoids (GC) as the final effector. In this study, we established a method to chronically elevate endogenous GC levels during early life in larval zebrafish. To this end, we employed an optogenetic actuator, beggiatoa photoactivated adenylyl cyclase, specifically expressed in the interrenal cells of zebrafish and demonstrate that its chronic activation leads to hypercortisolaemia and dampens the acute-stress evoked cortisol levels, across a variety of stressor modalities during early life. This blunting of stress-response was conserved in ontogeny at a later developmental stage. Furthermore, we observe a strong reduction of proopiomelanocortin (pomc)-expression in the pituitary as well as upregulation of fkbp5 gene expression. Going forward, we propose that this model can be leveraged to tease apart the mechanisms underlying developmental programming of the HPA/I axis by early-life GC exposure and its implications for vulnerability and resilience to stress in adulthood.

Live-cell fluorescence imaging and optogenetic control of PKA kinase activity in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

blue bPAC (BlaC) S. cerevisiae Immediate control of second messengers
Yeast, 7 Apr 2024 DOI: 10.1002/yea.3937 Link to full text
Abstract: The cAMP-PKA signaling pathway plays a crucial role in sensing and responding to nutrient availability in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This pathway monitors external glucose levels to control cell growth and sexual differentiation. However, the temporal dynamics of the cAMP-PKA pathway in response to external stimuli remains unclear mainly due to the lack of tools to quantitatively visualize the activity of the pathway. Here, we report the development of the kinase translocation reporter (KTR)-based biosensor spPKA-KTR1.0, which allows us to measure the dynamics of PKA activity in fission yeast cells. The spPKA-KTR1.0 is derived from the transcription factor Rst2, which translocates from the nucleus to the cytoplasm upon PKA activation. We found that spPKA-KTR1.0 translocates between the nucleus and cytoplasm in a cAMP-PKA pathway-dependent manner, indicating that the spPKA-KTR1.0 is a reliable indicator of the PKA activity in fission yeast cells. In addition, we implemented a system that simultaneously visualizes and manipulates the cAMP-PKA signaling dynamics by introducing bPAC, a photoactivatable adenylate cyclase, in combination with spPKA-KTR1.0. This system offers an opportunity for investigating the role of the signaling dynamics of the cAMP-PKA pathway in fission yeast cells with higher temporal resolution.

Light-Mediated Enhancement of Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Release of Optogenetically Engineered Human Pancreatic Beta-Cells.

blue bPAC (BlaC) Immediate control of second messengers
ACS Synth Biol, 20 Feb 2024 DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.3c00653 Link to full text
Abstract: Enhancement of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in exogenously delivered pancreatic β-cells is desirable, for example, to overcome the insulin resistance manifested in type 2 diabetes or to reduce the number of β-cells for supporting homeostasis of blood sugar in type 1 diabetes. Optogenetically engineered cells can potentiate their function with exposure to light. Given that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) mediates GSIS, we surmised that optoamplification of GSIS is feasible in human β-cells carrying a photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase (PAC). To this end, human EndoC-βH3 cells were engineered to express a blue-light-activated PAC, and a workflow was established combining the scalable manufacturing of pseudoislets (PIs) with efficient adenoviral transduction, resulting in over 80% of cells carrying PAC. Changes in intracellular cAMP and GSIS were determined with the photoactivation of PAC in vitro as well as after encapsulation and implantation in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. cAMP rapidly rose in β-cells expressing PAC with illumination and quickly declined upon its termination. Light-induced amplification in cAMP was concomitant with a greater than 2-fold GSIS vs β-cells without PAC in elevated glucose. The enhanced GSIS retained its biphasic pattern, and the rate of oxygen consumption remained unchanged. Diabetic mice receiving the engineered β-cell PIs exhibited improved glucose tolerance upon illumination compared to those kept in the dark or not receiving cells. The findings support the use of optogenetics for molecular customization of the β-cells toward better treatments for diabetes without the adverse effects of pharmacological approaches.

Mapping the Cellular Distribution of an Optogenetic Protein Using a Light-Stimulation Grid Mapping the Cellular Distribution of an Optogenetic Protein Using a Light-Stimulation Grid.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HC-1
J Vis Exp, 26 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.3791/65471 Link to full text
Abstract: Our goal was to accurately track the cellular distribution of an optogenetic protein and evaluate its functionality within a specific cytoplasmic location. To achieve this, we co-transfected cells with nuclear-targeted cAMP sensors and our laboratory-developed optogenetic protein, bacterial photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase-nanoluciferase (bPAC-nLuc). bPAC-nLuc, when stimulated with 445 nm light or luciferase substrates, generates adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP). We employed a solid-state laser illuminator connected to a point scanning system that allowed us to create a grid/matrix pattern of small illuminated spots (~1 µm2) throughout the cytoplasm of HC-1 cells. By doing so, we were able to effectively track the distribution of nuclear-targeted bPAC-nLuc and generate a comprehensive cAMP response map. This map accurately represented the cellular distribution of bPAC-nLuc, and its response to light stimulation varied according to the amount of protein in the illuminated spot. This innovative approach contributes to the expanding toolkit of techniques available for investigating cellular optogenetic proteins. The ability to map its distribution and response with high precision has far-reaching potential and could advance various fields of research.

Live-cell fluorescence imaging and optogenetic control of PKA kinase activity in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

blue bPAC (BlaC) S. pombe Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 15 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.14.575615 Link to full text
Abstract: The cAMP-PKA signaling pathway plays a crucial role in sensing and responding to nutrient availability in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This pathway monitors external glucose levels to control cell growth and sexual differentiation. However, the temporal dynamics of the cAMP-PKA pathway in response to external stimuli remains unclear mainly due to the lack of tools to quantitatively visualize the activity of the pathway. Here, we report the development of the kinase translocation reporter (KTR)-based biosensor spPKA-KTR1.0, which allows us to measure the dynamics of PKA activity in fission yeast cells. The spPKA-KTR1.0 is derived from the transcription factor Rst2, which translocates from the nucleus to the cytoplasm upon PKA activation. We found that spPKA-KTR1.0 translocates between the nucleus and cytoplasm in a cAMP-PKA pathway-dependent manner, indicating that the spPKA-KTR1.0 is a reliable indicator of the PKA activity in fission yeast cells. In addition, we implemented a system that simultaneously visualizes and manipulates the cAMP-PKA signaling dynamics by introducing bPAC, a photoactivatable adenylate cyclase, in combination with spPKA-KTR1.0. This system offers an opportunity for investigating the role of the signaling dynamics of the cAMP-PKA pathway in fission yeast cells with higher temporal resolution.

Neuropeptidergic regulation of neuromuscular signaling in larval zebrafish alters swimming behavior and synaptic transmission.

blue bPAC (BlaC) zebrafish in vivo Immediate control of second messengers Neuronal activity control
bioRxiv, 12 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.12.575339 Link to full text
Abstract: The regulation of synaptic transmission is crucial for plasticity, homeostasis and learning. Chemical synaptic transmission is thus modulated to accommodate different activity levels, which also enables homeostatic scaling in pre- and postsynaptic compartments. In nematodes, cAMP signaling enhances cholinergic neuron output, and these neurons use neuropeptide signaling to modulate synaptic vesicle content. To explore if this mechanism is conserved in vertebrates, we studied the involvement of neuropeptides in cholinergic transmission at the neuromuscular junction of larval zebrafish. Optogenetic stimulation by photoactivated adenylyl cyclase (bPAC) resulted in elevated locomotion as measured in behavioural assays. Furthermore, post-synaptic patch-clamp recordings revealed that in bPAC transgenics, the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) was increased after photostimulation. These results suggested that cAMP-mediated activation of ZF motor neurons leads to increased fusion of SVs, consequently resulting in enhanced neuromuscular activity. We generated mutants lacking the neuropeptide processing enzyme carboxypeptidase E (cpe), and the most abundant neuropeptide precursor in motor neurons, tachykinin (tac1). Both mutants showed exaggerated locomotion after photostimulation. cpe mutants exhibit lower mEPSC frequency during photostimulation and less large-amplitude mEPSCs. In tac1 mutants mEPSC frequency was not affected but amplitudes were significantly smaller. Exaggerated locomotion in the mutants thus reflected upscaling of postsynaptic excitability. cpe and tac1 mutant muscles expressed more nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) on their surface. Thus, neuropeptide signaling regulates synaptic transmitter output in zebrafish motor neurons, and muscle cells homeostatically regulate nAChR surface expression, compensating reduced presynaptic input. This mechanism may be widely conserved in the animal kingdom.

Lifelong molecular consequences of high Glucocorticoids exposure during development

blue bPAC (BlaC) zebrafish in vivo Developmental processes Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 9 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2023.02.13.528363 Link to full text
Abstract: Early life stress (ELS) is one of the strongest risk factors for developing psychiatric disorders in humans. As conserved key stress hormones of vertebrates, glucocorticoids (GCs) are thought to play an important role in mediating the effects of ELS exposure in shaping adult phenotypes. In this process, early exposure to high level of GCs may induce molecular changes that alter developmental trajectory of an animal and primes differential adult responses. However, comprehensive characterization of identities of molecules that are targeted by developmental GC exposure is currently lacking. In our study, we describe lifelong molecular consequences of high level of developmental GC exposure using an optogenetic zebrafish model. First, we developed a new double-hit stress model using zebrafish by combining exposure to a high endogenous GC level during development and acute adulthood stress exposure. Our results establish that similar to ELS-exposed humans and rodents, developmental GC exposed zebrafish model shows altered behavior and stress hypersensitivity in adulthood. Second, we generated time-series gene expression profiles of the brains in larvae, in adult, and upon stress exposure to identify molecular alterations induced by high developmental GC exposure at different developmental stages. Third, we identify a set of GC-primed genes that show altered expression upon acute stress exposure only in animals exposed to a high developmental GC. Interestingly, our datasets of GC primed genes are enriched in risk factors identified for human psychiatric disorders. Lastly, we identify potential epigenetic regulatory elements and associated post-transcriptional modifications following high developmental GC exposure. Thus, we present a translationally relevant zebrafish model for studying stress hypersensitivity and alteration of behavior induced by exposure to elevated GC levels during development. Our study provides comprehensive datasets delineating potential molecular targets underlying the impact of developmental high GC exposure on adult responses.

Pathogen infection induces sickness behaviors by recruiting neuromodulatory systems linked to stress and satiety in C. elegans.

blue bPAC (BlaC) C. elegans in vivo Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 5 Jan 2024 DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.05.574345 Link to full text
Abstract: When animals are infected by a pathogen, peripheral sensors of infection signal to the brain to coordinate a set of adaptive behavioral changes known as sickness behaviors. While the pathways that signal from the periphery to the brain have been intensively studied in recent years, how central circuits are reconfigured to elicit sickness behaviors is not well understood. Here we find that neuromodulatory systems linked to stress and satiety are recruited upon infection to drive sickness behaviors in C. elegans. Upon chronic infection by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14, C. elegans decrease their feeding behavior, then display reversible bouts of quiescence, and eventually die. The ALA neuron and its neuropeptides FLP-7, FLP-24, and NLP-8, which control stress-induced sleep in uninfected animals, promote the PA14-induced feeding reduction. However, the ALA neuropeptide FLP-13 instead acts to delay quiescence and death in infected animals. Cell-specific genetic perturbations show that the neurons that release FLP-13 to delay quiescence in infected animals are distinct from ALA. A brain-wide imaging screen reveals that infection-induced quiescence involves ASI and DAF-7/TGF-beta, which control satiety-induced quiescence in uninfected animals. Our results suggest that a common set of neuromodulators are recruited across different physiological states, acting from distinct neural sources and in distinct combinations to drive state-dependent behaviors.

Optogenetic demonstration of the involvement of SMA-negative mural cells in the regulation of cerebral blood flow.

blue bPAC (BlaC) mouse in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape
Front Physiol, 22 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1322250 Link to full text
Abstract: Mural cells are critical components of the cerebral vasculature. They are categorized into three primary subsets: arteriole smooth muscle cells (aSMCs), pericytes (PCs) and venule smooth muscle cells (vSMCs). It is well known that aSMCs can directly regulate cerebral blood flow (CBF) with their own contraction and dilation mechanisms. On the other hand, the direct involvement of PCs or vSMCs in CBF regulation is controversial. This ambiguity is largely due to the lack of specifically manipulable tools to isolate their function. To address this issue, we employed a set-subtraction approach by using a combination of tTA-mediated gene induction and Cre-mediated gene excision. We developed transgenic mice expressing optical actuators, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and photoactivated adenylyl cyclase (PAC) in smooth muscle actin (SMA)-negative mural cells that lack the machinery for SMA-mediated vasoregulation. Using these mouse models, we assessed CBF alterations in response to optical stimulation using laser Doppler techniques. Our results showed that optical stimulation induced notable CBF changes in both models. This study provides evidence for the potential regulatory role of PCs and vSMCs in cerebral hemodynamics and introduces powerful tools to specifically manipulate these cell types in vascular neurobiology.

Rab3 mediates cyclic AMP-dependent presynaptic plasticity and olfactory learning.

blue bPAC (BlaC) D. melanogaster in vivo Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 22 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.12.21.572589 Link to full text
Abstract: Presynaptic forms of plasticity occur throughout the nervous system and play an important role in learning and memory but the underlying molecular mechanisms are insufficiently understood. Here we show that the small GTPase Rab3 is a key mediator of cyclic AMP (cAMP)-induced presynaptic plasticity in Drosophila. Pharmacological and optogenetic cAMP production triggered concentration-dependent alterations of synaptic transmission, including potentiation and depression of evoked neurotransmitter release, as well as strongly facilitated spontaneous release. These changes correlated with a nanoscopic rearrangement of the active zone protein Unc13A and required Rab3. To link these results to animal behaviour, we turned to the established role of cAMP signalling in memory formation and demonstrate that Rab3 is necessary for olfactory learning. As Rab3 is dispensable for basal synaptic transmission, these findings highlight a molecular pathway specifically dedicated to tuning neuronal communication and adaptive behaviour.

An Integrated Optogenetic and Bioelectronic Platform for Regulating Cardiomyocyte Function.

blue bPAC (BlaC) rat cardiomyocytes Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 15 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.12.15.571704 Link to full text
Abstract: We report an integrated optogenetic and bioelectronic platform for stable and long-term modulation and monitoring of cardiomyocyte function in vitro. Optogenetic inputs were achieved through expression of a photoactivatable adenylyl cyclase (bPAC), that when activated by blue light caused a dose-dependent and time-limited increase in autonomous cardiomyocyte beat rate. Bioelectronic readouts were achieved through an integrated planar multi-electrode array (MEA) that provided real-time readouts of electrophysiological activity from 32 spatially-distinct locations. Irradiation at 27 μW/mm2 resulted in a ca. 14% increase in beat rate within 20-25 minutes, which remained stable for at least 2 hours. The beating rate could be cycled through repeated “on” and “off” states, and its magnitude was a monotonic function of irradiation intensity. Our integrated platform opens new avenues in bioelectronic medicine, including closedloop feedback systems, with potential applications for cardiac regulation including arrhythmia diagnosis and intervention.

Cardiac optogenetics: shining light on signaling pathways.

blue BLUF domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Review
Pflugers Arch, 14 Dec 2023 DOI: 10.1007/s00424-023-02892-y Link to full text
Abstract: In the early 2000s, the field of neuroscience experienced a groundbreaking transformation with the advent of optogenetics. This innovative technique harnesses the properties of naturally occurring and genetically engineered rhodopsins to confer light sensitivity upon target cells. The remarkable spatiotemporal precision offered by optogenetics has provided researchers with unprecedented opportunities to dissect cellular physiology, leading to an entirely new level of investigation. Initially revolutionizing neuroscience, optogenetics quickly piqued the interest of the wider scientific community, and optogenetic applications were expanded to cardiovascular research. Over the past decade, researchers have employed various optical tools to observe, regulate, and steer the membrane potential of excitable cells in the heart. Despite these advancements, achieving control over specific signaling pathways within the heart has remained an elusive goal. Here, we review the optogenetic tools suitable to control cardiac signaling pathways with a focus on GPCR signaling, and delineate potential applications for studying these pathways, both in healthy and diseased hearts. By shedding light on these exciting developments, we hope to contribute to the ongoing progress in basic cardiac research to facilitate the discovery of novel therapeutic possibilities for treating cardiovascular pathologies.

Optogenetic manipulation of neuronal and cardiomyocyte functions in zebrafish using microbial rhodopsins and adenylyl cyclases.

blue bPAC (BlaC) OaPAC zebrafish in vivo Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Immediate control of second messengers
Elife, 17 Aug 2023 DOI: 10.7554/elife.83975 Link to full text
Abstract: Even though microbial photosensitive proteins have been used for optogenetics, their use should be optimized to precisely control cell and tissue functions in vivo. We exploited GtCCR4 and KnChR, cation channelrhodopsins from algae, BeGC1, a guanylyl cyclase rhodopsin from a fungus, and photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) from cyanobacteria (OaPAC) or bacteria (bPAC), to control cell functions in zebrafish. Optical activation of GtCCR4 and KnChR in the hindbrain reticulospinal V2a neurons, which are involved in locomotion, induced swimming behavior at relatively short latencies, whereas activation of BeGC1 or PACs achieved it at long latencies. Activation of GtCCR4 and KnChR in cardiomyocytes induced cardiac arrest, whereas activation of bPAC gradually induced bradycardia. KnChR activation led to an increase in intracellular Ca2+ in the heart, suggesting that depolarization caused cardiac arrest. These data suggest that these optogenetic tools can be used to reveal the function and regulation of zebrafish neurons and cardiomyocytes.

Selective induction of programmed cell death using synthetic biology tools.

blue green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes 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.

All-optical mapping of cAMP transport reveals rules of sub-cellular localization.

blue bPAC (BlaC) HEK293T MDCK rat hippocampal neurons Immediate control of second messengers
bioRxiv, 29 Jun 2023 DOI: 10.1101/2023.06.27.546633 Link to full text
Abstract: Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is a second messenger that mediates diverse intracellular signals. Studies of cAMP transport in cells have produced wildly different results, from reports of nearly free diffusion to reports that cAMP remains localized in nanometer-scale domains. We developed an all-optical toolkit, termed cAMP-SITES, to locally perturb and map cAMP transport. In MDCK cells and in cultured neurons, cAMP had a diffusion coefficient of ~120 μm2/s, similar to the diffusion coefficients of other small molecules in cytoplasm. In neuronal dendrites, a balance between diffusion and degradation led to cAMP domains with a length scale of ~30 μm. Geometrical confinement by membranes led to subcellular variations in cAMP concentration, but we found no evidence of nanoscale domains or of distinct membrane-local and cytoplasmic pools. We introduce theoretical relations between cell geometry and small-molecule reaction-diffusion dynamics and transport to explain our observations.

Optogenetic Methods in Plant Biology.

blue red UV BLUF domains CarH Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Annu Rev Plant Biol, 22 May 2023 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-071122-094840 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is a technique employing natural or genetically engineered photoreceptors in transgene organisms to manipulate biological activities with light. Light can be turned on or off, and adjusting its intensity and duration allows optogenetic fine-tuning of cellular processes in a noninvasive and spatiotemporally resolved manner. Since the introduction of Channelrhodopsin-2 and phytochrome-based switches nearly 20 years ago, optogenetic tools have been applied in a variety of model organisms with enormous success, but rarely in plants. For a long time, the dependence of plant growth on light and the absence of retinal, the rhodopsin chromophore, prevented the establishment of plant optogenetics until recent progress overcame these difficulties. We summarize the recent results of work in the field to control plant growth and cellular motion via green light-gated ion channels and present successful applications to light-control gene expression with single or combined photoswitches in plants. Furthermore, we highlight the technical requirements and options for future plant optogenetic research.

Soluble cyclase-mediated nuclear cAMP synthesis is sufficient for cell proliferation.

blue bPAC (BlaC) PCCL3 Signaling cascade control Immediate control of second messengers
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 19 Jan 2023 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2208749120 Link to full text
Abstract: cAMP, a key player in many physiological processes, was classically considered to originate solely from the plasma membrane (PM). This view was recently challenged by observations showing that upon internalization GsPCRs can sustain signaling from endosomes and/or the trans-Golgi network (TGN). In this new view, after the first PM-generated cAMP wave, the internalization of GsPCRs and ACs generates a second wave that was strictly associated with nuclear transcriptional events responsible for triggering specific biological responses. Here, we report that the endogenously expressed TSHR, a canonical GsPCR, triggers an internalization-dependent, calcium-mediated nuclear sAC activation that drives PKA activation and CREB phosphorylation. Both pharmacological and genetic sAC inhibition, which did not affect the cytosolic cAMP levels, blunted nuclear cAMP accumulation, PKA activation, and cell proliferation, while an increase in nuclear sAC expression significantly enhanced cell proliferation. Furthermore, using novel nuclear-targeted optogenetic actuators, we show that light-stimulated nuclear cAMP synthesis can mimic the proliferative action of TSH by activating PKA and CREB. Therefore, based on our results, we propose a novel three-wave model in which the "third" wave of cAMP is generated by nuclear sAC. Despite being downstream of events occurring at the PM (first wave) and endosomes/TGN (second wave), the nuclear sAC-generated cAMP (third wave) is sufficient and rate-limiting for thyroid cell proliferation.

Optogenetics Sheds Light on Brown and Beige Adipocytes.

blue BLUF domains Review
J Cell Signal, 2023 DOI: 10.33696/signaling.4.105 Link to full text
Abstract: Excessive food intake leads to lipid accumulation in white adipose tissue, triggering inflammation, cellular stress, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. In contrast, the dynamic energy expenditure and heat generation of brown and beige adipose tissue, driven by specialized mitochondria, render it an appealing candidate for therapeutic strategies aimed at addressing metabolic disorders. This review examines the therapeutic potential of brown and beige adipocytes for obesity and metabolic disorders, focusing on recent studies that employ optogenetics for thermogenesis control in these cells. The findings delve into the mechanisms underlying UCP1-dependent and UCP1-independent thermogenesis and how optogenetic approaches can be used to precisely modulate energy expenditure and induce thermogenesis. The convergence of adipocyte biology and optogenetics presents an exciting frontier in combating metabolic disorders and advancing our understanding of cellular regulation and energy balance.

Optogenetic Stimulation Array for Confocal Microscopy Fast Transient Monitoring.

blue bPAC (BlaC) rat cortical neurons Immediate control of second messengers
TBioCAS, 6 Dec 2022 DOI: 10.1109/tbcas.2022.3226558 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is an emerging discipline with multiple applications in neuroscience, allowing to study neuronal pathways or serving for therapeutic applications such as in the treatment of anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), or Parkinson's disease. More recently optogenetics is opening its way also to stem cell-based therapeutic applications for neuronal regeneration after stroke or spinal cord injury. The results of optogenetic stimulation are usually evaluated by immunofluorescence or flow cytometry, and the observation of transient responses after stimulation, as in cardiac electrophysiology studies, by optical microscopy. However, certain phenomena, such as the ultra-fast calcium waves acquisition upon simultaneous optogenetics, are beyond the scope of current instrumentation, since they require higher image resolution in real-time, employing for instance time-lapse confocal microscopy. Therefore, in this work, an optogenetic stimulation matrix controllable from a graphical user interface has been developed for its use with a standard 24-well plate for an inverted confocal microscope use and validated by using a photoactivable adenyl cyclase (bPAC) overexpressed in rat fetal cortical neurons and the consequent calcium waves propagation upon 100 ms pulsed blue light stimulation.

Photoactivated adenylyl cyclases attenuate sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy by suppressing macrophage-mediated inflammation.

blue bPAC (BlaC) RAW264.7 Immediate control of second messengers
Front Immunol, 18 Oct 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.1008702 Link to full text
Abstract: Sepsis-induced myocardiopathy, characterized by innate immune cells infiltration and proinflammatory cytokines release, may lead to perfusion failure or even life-threatening cardiogenic shock. Macrophages-mediated inflammation has been shown to contribute to sepsis-induced myocardiopathy. In the current study, we introduced two photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs), Beggiatoa sp. PAC (bPAC) and Beggiatoa sp. IS2 PAC (biPAC) into macrophages by transfection to detect the effects of light-induced regulation of macrophage pro-inflammatory response and LPS-induced sepsis-induced myocardiopathy. By this method, we uncovered that blue light-induced bPAC or biPAC activation considerably inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and TNF-α, both at mRNA and protein levels. Further, we assembled a GelMA-Macrophages-LED system, which consists of GelMA-a type of light crosslink hydrogel, gene modulated macrophages and wireless LED device, to allow light to regulate cardiac inflammation in situ with murine models of LPS-induced sepsis. Our results showed significant inhibition of leukocytes infiltration, especially macrophages and neutrophils, suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines release, and alleviation of sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction. Thus, our study may represent an emerging means to treat sepsis-induced myocardiopathy and other cardiovascular diseases by photo-activated regulating macrophage function.

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

blue green near-infrared red violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes 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.

Illuminating bacterial behaviors with optogenetics.

blue green red violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Curr Opin Solid State Mater Sci, 9 Aug 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.cossms.2022.101023 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetic approaches enable light-mediated control of cellular activities using genetically encoded photoreceptors. While optogenetic technology is already well established in neuroscience and fundamental research, the implementation of optogenetic tools in bacteriology is still emerging. Engineered bacteria with the specific optogenetic system that function at the transcriptional or post-translational level can sense and respond to light, allowing optogenetic control of bacterial behaviors. In this review, we give a brief overview of available optogenetic systems, including their mode of action, classification, and engineering strategies, and focus on optogenetic control of bacterial behaviors with the highlight of strategies for use of optogenetic systems.
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