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Curr Biol. 2016 May 9;26(9):1206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Apr 7.

Melanopsin Variants as Intrinsic Optogenetic On and Off Switches for Transient versus Sustained Activation of G Protein Pathways.

Author information

1
Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology, ND 7/31, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany.
2
Optical Imaging Group, Institut für Neuroinformatik, NB 2/27, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany.
3
Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Albrechtstrasse 28, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany.
4
Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Albrechtstrasse 28, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany; Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.
5
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC University Paris 06, INSERM, CNRS, Institut de la Vision, 17 Rue Moreau, 75012 Paris, France.
6
Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology, ND 7/31, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany. Electronic address: sxh106@gmail.com.

Abstract

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the major protein family for cellular modulation in mammals. Therefore, various strategies have been developed to analyze the function of GPCRs involving pharmaco- and optogenetic approaches [1, 2]. However, a tool that combines precise control of the activation and deactivation of GPCR pathways and/or neuronal firing with limited phototoxicity is still missing. We compared the biophysical properties and optogenetic application of a human and a mouse melanopsin variant (hOpn4L and mOpn4L) on the control of Gi/o and Gq pathways in heterologous expression systems and mouse brain. We found that GPCR pathways can be switched on/off by blue/yellow light. The proteins differ in their kinetics and wavelength dependence to activate and deactivate G protein pathways. Whereas mOpn4L is maximally activated by very short light pulses, leading to sustained G protein activation, G protein responses of hOpn4L need longer light pulses to be activated and decline in amplitude. Based on the different biophysical properties, brief light activation of mOpn4L is sufficient to induce sustained neuronal firing in cerebellar Purkinje cells (PC), whereas brief light activation of hOpn4L induces AP firing, which declines in frequency over time. Most importantly, mOpn4L-induced sustained firing can be switched off by yellow light. Based on the biophysical properties, hOpn4L and mOpn4L represent the first GPCR optogenetic tools, which can be used to switch GPCR pathways/neuronal firing on an off with temporal precision and limited phototoxicity. We suggest to name these tools moMo and huMo for future optogenetic applications.

PMID:
27068418
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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