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Science. 2008 Oct 17;322(5900):395-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1166022.

Optical switches for remote and noninvasive control of cell signaling.

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Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Edifici Hèlix. C/Baldiri Reixac 15, Barcelona 08028, Spain.


Although the identity and interactions of signaling proteins have been studied in great detail, the complexity of signaling networks cannot be fully understood without elucidating the timing and location of activity of individual proteins. To do this, one needs a means for detecting and controlling specific signaling events. An attractive approach is to use light, both to report on and control signaling proteins in cells, because light can probe cells in real time with minimal damage. Although optical detection of signaling events has been successful for some time, the development of the means for optical control has accelerated only recently. Of particular interest is the development of chemically engineered proteins that are directly sensitive to light.

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