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Pflugers Arch. 2013 Mar;465(3):397-408. doi: 10.1007/s00424-013-1244-x. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

Guiding lights: recent developments in optogenetic control of biochemical signals.

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1
Robert D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis & Modeling, Department of Genetics & Developmental Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.

Abstract

Optogenetics arises from the innovative application of microbial opsins in mammalian neurons and has since been a powerful technology that fuels the advance of our knowledge in neuroscience. In recent years, there has been growing interest in designing optogenetic tools extendable to broader cell types and biochemical signals. To date, a variety of photoactivatable proteins (refers to induction of protein activity in contrast to fluorescence) have been developed based on the understanding of plant and microbial photoreceptors including phototropins, blue light sensors using flavin adenine dinucleotide proteins, cryptochromes, and phytochromes. Such tools offered researchers reversible, quantitative, and precise spatiotemporal control of enzymatic activity, protein-protein interaction, protein translocation, as well as gene transcription in cells and in whole animals. In this review, we will briefly introduce these photosensory proteins, describe recent developments in optogenetics, and compare and contrast different methods based on their advantages and limitations.

PMID:
23417571
DOI:
10.1007/s00424-013-1244-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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