ABSTRACT: Optogenetics enables manipulation of biological processes with light at high spatio-temporal resolution to control the behavior of cells, networks, or even whole animals. In contrast to the performance of excitatory rhodopsins, the effectiveness of inhibitory optogenetic tools is still insufficient. Here we report a two-component optical silencer system comprising photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) and the small cyclic nucleotide-gated potassium channel SthK. Activation of this 'PAC-K' silencer by brief pulses of low-intensity blue light causes robust and reversible silencing of cardiomyocyte excitation and neuronal firing. In vivo expression of PAC-K in mouse and zebrafish neurons is well tolerated, where blue light inhibits neuronal activity and blocks motor responses. In combination with red-light absorbing channelrhodopsins, the distinct action spectra of PACs allow independent bimodal control of neuronal activity. PAC-K represents a reliable optogenetic silencer with intrinsic amplification for sustained potassium-mediated hyperpolarization, conferring high operational light sensitivity to the cells of interest.
Project description:Chloride conducting channelrhodopsins (ChloCs) are new members of the optogenetic toolbox that enable neuronal inhibition in target cells. Originally, ChloCs have been engineered from cation conducting channelrhodopsins (ChRs), and later identified in a cryptophyte alga genome. We noticed that the sequence of a previously described Proteomonas sulcata ChR (PsChR1) was highly homologous to the naturally occurring and previously reported ChloCs GtACR1/2, but was not recognized as an anion conducting channel. Based on electrophysiological measurements obtained under various ionic conditions, we concluded that the PsChR1 photocurrent at physiological conditions is strongly inward rectifying and predominantly carried by chloride. The maximum activation was noted at excitation with light of 540 nm. An initial spectroscopic characterization of purified protein revealed that the photocycle and the transport mechanism of PsChR1 differ significantly from cation conducting ChRs. Hence, we concluded that PsChR1 is an anion conducting ChR, now renamed PsACR1, with a red-shifted absorption suited for multicolor optogenetic experiments in combination with blue light absorbing cation conducting ChRs.
Project description:Cyclic nucleotide signaling pathway plays a significant role in various biological processes such as cell growth, transcription, inflammation, in microbial pathogenesis, etc. Modulation of cyclic nucleotide levels by optogenetic tools has overcome certain limitations of studying transduction cascade by pharmacological agents and has allowed several ways to modulate biological processes in a spatiotemporal manner. Here, we have shown the optogenetic modulation of the cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox-2) gene expression and their downstream effector molecule (PGE<sub>2</sub>) in HEK-293T cells and the development process of Dictyostelium discoideum via modulating the cyclic nucleotide (cAMP) signaling pathway utilizing photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) as an optogenetic tool. Light-induced activation of PACs in HEK-293T cells increases the cAMP level that leads to activation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) transcription factor and further upregulates downstream Cox-2 gene expression and their downstream effector molecule prostaglandin E2. In D. discoideum, the light-regulated increase in cAMP level affects the starvation-induced developmental process. These PACs could modulate the cAMP levels in a light-dependent manner and have a potential to control gene expression and their downstream effector molecules with varying magnitude. It would enable one to utilize PAC as a tool to decipher cyclic nucleotide mediated signaling pathway regulations and their mechanism.
Project description:Channelrhodopsins are light-activated ion channels that mediate cation permeation across cell membranes upon light absorption. Red-light-activated channelrhodopsins are of particular interest, because red light penetrates deeper into biological tissues and also enables dual-color experiments in combination with blue-light-activated optogenetic tools. Here we report the crystal structure of the most red-shifted channelrhodopsin from the algae Chlamydomonas noctigama, Chrimson, at 2.6?Å resolution. Chrimson resembles prokaryotic proton pumps in the retinal binding pocket, while sharing similarity with other channelrhodopsins in the ion-conducting pore. Concomitant mutation analysis identified the structural features that are responsible for Chrimson's red light sensitivity; namely, the protonation of the counterion for the retinal Schiff base, and the polar residue distribution and rigidity of the retinal binding pocket. Based on these mechanistic insights, we engineered ChrimsonSA, a mutant with a maximum activation wavelength red-shifted beyond 605?nm and accelerated closing kinetics.
Project description:Channelrhodopsins guide algal phototaxis and are widely used as optogenetic probes for control of membrane potential with light. "Bacteriorhodopsin-like" cation channelrhodopsins (BCCRs) from cryptophytes differ in primary structure from other CCRs, lacking usual residues important for their cation conductance. Instead, the sequences of BCCR match more closely those of rhodopsin proton pumps, containing residues responsible for critical proton transfer reactions. We report 19 new BCCRs which, together with the earlier 6 known members of this family, form three branches (subfamilies) of a phylogenetic tree. Here, we show that the conductance mechanisms in two subfamilies differ with respect to involvement of the homolog of the proton donor in rhodopsin pumps. Two BCCRs from the genus Rhodomonas generate photocurrents that rapidly desensitize under continuous illumination. Using a combination of patch clamp electrophysiology, absorption, Raman spectroscopy, and flash photolysis, we found that the desensitization is due to rapid accumulation of a long-lived nonconducting intermediate of the photocycle with unusually blue-shifted absorption with a maximum at 330?nm. These observations reveal diversity within the BCCR family and contribute to deeper understanding of their independently evolved cation channel function.IMPORTANCE Cation channelrhodopsins, light-gated channels from flagellate green algae, are extensively used as optogenetic photoactivators of neurons in research and recently have progressed to clinical trials for vision restoration. However, the molecular mechanisms of their photoactivation remain poorly understood. We recently identified cryptophyte cation channelrhodopsins, structurally different from those of green algae, which have separately evolved to converge on light-gated cation conductance. This study reveals diversity within this new protein family and describes a subclade with unusually rapid desensitization that results in short transient photocurrents in continuous light. Such transient currents have not been observed in the green algae channelrhodopsins and are potentially useful in optogenetic protocols. Kinetic UV-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy and photoelectrophysiology reveal that the desensitization is caused by rapid accumulation of a nonconductive photointermediate in the photochemical reaction cycle. The absorption maximum of the intermediate is 330?nm, the shortest wavelength reported in any rhodopsin, indicating a novel chromophore structure.
Project description:Genetic engineering of natural light-gated ion channels has proven a powerful way to generate optogenetic tools for a wide variety of applications. In recent years, blue-light activated engineered anion-conducting channelrhodopsins (eACRs) have been developed, improved, and were successfully applied in vivo. We asked whether the approaches used to create eACRs can be transferred to other well-characterized cation-conducting channelrhodopsins (CCRs) to obtain eACRs with a broad spectrum of biophysical properties. We generated 22 variants using two conversion strategies applied to 11 CCRs and screened them for membrane expression, photocurrents and anion selectivity. We obtained two novel eACRs, Phobos and Aurora, with blue- and red-shifted action spectra and photocurrents similar to existing eACRs. Furthermore, step-function mutations greatly enhanced the cellular operational light sensitivity due to a slowed-down photocycle. These bi-stable eACRs can be reversibly toggled between open and closed states with brief light pulses of different wavelengths. All new eACRs reliably inhibited action potential firing in pyramidal CA1 neurons. In Drosophila larvae, eACRs conveyed robust and specific light-dependent inhibition of locomotion and nociception.
Project description:To compare changes in anterior segment parameters under light and dark (light-to-dark) conditions among eyes with chronic primary angle-closure glaucoma (CPACG), fellow eyes with confirmed or suspect primary angle-closure (PAC or PACS), and age-matched healthy eyes.Consecutive patients with CPACG in one eye and PAC/PACS in the fellow eye, as well as age-matched healthy subjects were recruited. Anterior segment optical coherence tomography measurements were conducted under light and dark conditions, and anterior chamber, lens, and iris parameters compared. Demographic and biometric factors associated with light-to-dark change in iris area were analyzed by linear regression.Fifty-seven patients (mean age 59.6±8.9 years) and 30 normal subjects matched for age (60.6±9.3 years) and sex ratio were recruited. In regards to differences under light-to-dark conditions, angle opening distance at 500 ?m (AOD500?m) and iris area during light-to-dark transition were smaller in CPACG eyes than fellow PACS/PAC eyes and normal eyes (P<0.017). Pupil diameter change was largest in normal eyes, and larger in PACS/PAC eyes than CPACG eyes (P<0.017). There was an average reduction of 0.145 mm2 in iris area for each millimeter of pupil diameter increase in CPACG eyes, 0.161 mm2 in fellow PAC/PACS eyes, and 0.165 mm2 in normal eyes. Larger iris curvature in the dark and diagnosis of PACG were significantly associated with less light-to-dark iris area changes.Dynamic changes in iris parameters with light-to-dark transition differed significantly among CPACG eyes, fellow PAC/PACS eyes, and normal eyes. Greater iris curvature under dark conditions was correlated with reduced light-to-dark change in iris area and pupil diameter, which may contribute to disease progression.
Project description:Previous work has demonstrated that fusion of a luciferase to an opsin, to create a luminescent opsin or luminopsin, provides a genetically encoded means of manipulating neuronal activity via both chemogenetic and optogenetic approaches. Here we have expanded and refined the versatility of luminopsin tools by fusing an alternative luciferase variant with high light emission, Gaussia luciferase mutant GLucM23, to depolarizing and hyperpolarizing channelrhodopsins with increased light sensitivity. The combination of GLucM23 with Volvox channelrhodopsin-1 produced LMO4, while combining GLucM23 with the anion channelrhodopsin iChloC yielded iLMO4. We found efficient activation of these channelrhodopsins in the presence of the luciferase substrate, as indicated by responses measured in both single neurons and in neuronal populations of mice and rats, as well as by changes in male rat behavior during amphetamine-induced rotations. We conclude that these new luminopsins will be useful for bimodal opto- and chemogenetic analyses of brain function.
Project description:Optogenetic silencing allows time-resolved functional interrogation of defined neuronal populations. However, the limitations of inhibitory optogenetic tools impose stringent constraints on experimental paradigms. The high light power requirement of light-driven ion pumps and their effects on intracellular ion homeostasis pose unique challenges, particularly in experiments that demand inhibition of a widespread neuronal population in vivo. Guillardia theta anion-conducting channelrhodopsins (GtACRs) are promising in this regard, due to their high single-channel conductance and favorable photon-ion stoichiometry. However, GtACRs show poor membrane targeting in mammalian cells, and the activity of such channels can cause transient excitation in the axon due to an excitatory chloride reversal potential in this compartment. Here, we address these problems by enhancing membrane targeting and subcellular compartmentalization of GtACRs. The resulting soma-targeted GtACRs show improved photocurrents, reduced axonal excitation and high light sensitivity, allowing highly efficient inhibition of neuronal activity in the mammalian brain.
Project description:By enabling a tight control of cell excitation, optogenetics is a powerful approach to study the function of neurons and neural circuits. With its transparent body, a fully mapped nervous system, easily quantifiable behaviors and many available genetic tools, Caenorhabditis elegans is an extremely well-suited model to decipher the functioning logic of the nervous system with optogenetics. Our goal was to establish an efficient dual color optogenetic system for the independent excitation of different neurons in C. elegans. We combined two recently discovered channelrhodopsins: the red-light sensitive Chrimson from Chlamydomonas noctigama and the blue-light sensitive CoChR from Chloromonas oogama. Codon-optimized versions of Chrimson and CoChR were designed for C. elegans and expressed in different mechanosensory neurons. Freely moving animals produced robust behavioral responses to light stimuli of specific wavelengths. Since CoChR was five times more sensitive to blue light than the commonly used ChR2, we were able to use low blue light intensities producing no cross-activation of Chrimson. Thanks to these optogenetics tools, we revealed asymmetric cross-habituation effects between the gentle and harsh touch sensory motor pathways. Collectively, our results establish the Chrimson/CoChR pair as a potent tool for bimodal neural excitation in C. elegans and equip this genetic model organism for the next generation of in vivo optogenetic analyses.
Project description:We investigated the efficacy of optogenetic inhibition at presynaptic terminals using halorhodopsin, archaerhodopsin and chloride-conducting channelrhodopsins. Precisely timed activation of both archaerhodopsin and halorhodpsin at presynaptic terminals attenuated evoked release. However, sustained archaerhodopsin activation was paradoxically associated with increased spontaneous release. Activation of chloride-conducting channelrhodopsins triggered neurotransmitter release upon light onset. Thus, the biophysical properties of presynaptic terminals dictate unique boundary conditions for optogenetic manipulation.