Lamprey Parapinopsin ("UVLamP"): a Bistable UV-Sensitive Optogenetic Switch for Ultrafast Control of GPCR Pathways.
ABSTRACT: Optogenetics uses light-sensitive proteins, so-called optogenetic tools, for highly precise spatiotemporal control of cellular states and signals. The major limitations of such tools include the overlap of excitation spectra, phototoxicity, and lack of sensitivity. The protein characterized in this study, the Japanese lamprey parapinopsin, which we named UVLamP, is a promising optogenetic tool to overcome these limitations. Using a hybrid strategy combining molecular, cellular, electrophysiological, and computational methods we elucidated a structural model of the dark state and probed the optogenetic potential of UVLamP. Interestingly, it is the first described bistable vertebrate opsin that has a charged amino acid interacting with the Schiff base in the dark state, that has no relevance for its photoreaction. UVLamP is a bistable UV-sensitive opsin that allows for precise and sustained optogenetic control of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pathways and can be switched on, but more importantly also off within milliseconds via lowintensity short light pulses. UVLamP exhibits an extremely narrow excitation spectrum in the UV range allowing for sustained activation of the Gi/o pathway with a millisecond UV light pulse. Its sustained pathway activation can be switched off, surprisingly also with a millisecond blue light pulse, minimizing phototoxicity. Thus, UVLamP serves as a minimally invasive, narrow-bandwidth probe for controlling the Gi/o pathway, allowing for combinatorial use with multiple optogenetic tools or sensors. Because UVLamP activated Gi/o signals are generally inhibitory and decrease cellular activity, it has tremendous potential for health-related applications such as relieving pain, blocking seizures, and delaying neurodegeneration.
Project description:Lower vertebrate pineal organs discriminate UV and visible light. Such color discrimination is typically considered to arise from antagonism between two or more spectrally distinct opsins, as, e.g., human cone-based color vision relies on antagonistic relationships between signals produced by red-, green-, and blue-cone opsins. Photosensitive pineal organs contain a bistable opsin (parapinopsin) that forms a signaling-active photoproduct upon UV exposure that may itself be returned to the signaling-inactive "dark" state by longer-wavelength light. Here we show the spectrally distinct parapinopsin states (with antagonistic impacts on signaling) allow this opsin alone to provide the color sensitivity of this organ. By using calcium imaging, we show that single zebrafish pineal photoreceptors held under a background light show responses of opposite signs to UV and visible light. Both such responses are deficient in zebrafish lacking parapinopsin. Expressing a UV-sensitive cone opsin in place of parapinopsin recovers UV responses but not color opponency. Changes in the spectral composition of white light toward enhanced UV or visible wavelengths respectively increased vs. decreased calcium signal in parapinopsin-sufficient but not parapinopsin-deficient photoreceptors. These data reveal color opponency from a single kind of bistable opsin establishing an equilibrium-like mixture of the two states with different signaling abilities whose fractional concentrations are defined by the spectral composition of incident light. As vertebrate visual color opsins evolved from a bistable opsin, these findings suggest that color opponency involving a single kind of bistable opsin might have been a prototype of vertebrate color opponency.
Project description:Opn5 (neuropsin) belongs to an independent group separated from the other six groups in the phylogenetic tree of opsins, for which little information of absorption characteristics and molecular properties of the members is available. Here we show that the chicken Opn5 (cOpn5m) is a UV-sensitive bistable pigment that couples with Gi subtype of G protein. The recombinant expression of cOpn5m in HEK 293s cells followed by the addition of 11-cis- and all-trans-retinal produced UV light-absorbing and visible light-absorbing forms, respectively. These forms were interconvertible by UV and visible light irradiations, respectively, indicating that cOpn5m is a bistable pigment. The absorption maxima of these forms were estimated to be 360 and 474 nm, respectively. The GTPγS binding assay clearly showed that the visible light-absorbing form having all-trans-retinal activates Gi type of G protein, whereas no Gt or Gq activation ability was observed. Immunohistochemical studies using an antibody against cOpn5m clearly showed that this pigment is localized within some types of amacrine cells and some cells in the ganglion cell layer of the retinas, the vast majority of cells in the pineal gland and serotonin-positive cells in the paraventricular organ. Because cOpn5m is the only UV-sensitive opsin among the opsins found so far in chicken, this study provides the molecular basis for UV reception in chicken.
Project description:A mammalian type opsin 5 (neuropsin) is a recently identified ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive pigment of the retina and other photosensitive organs in birds. Two other opsin 5-related molecules have been found in the genomes of non-mammalian vertebrates. However, their functions have not been examined as yet. Here, we identify the molecular properties of a second avian opsin 5, cOpn5L2 (chicken opsin 5-like 2), and its localization in the post-hatch chicken. Spectrophotometric analysis and radionucleotide-binding assay have revealed that cOpn5L2 is a UV-sensitive bistable pigment that couples with the Gi subtype of guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein). As a bistable pigment, it also shows the direct binding ability to agonist all-trans-retinal to activate G protein. The absorption maxima of UV-light-absorbing and visible light-absorbing forms were 350 and 521 nm, respectively. Expression analysis showed relatively high expression of cOpn5L2 mRNA in the adrenal gland, which is not photoreceptive but an endocrine organ, while lower expression was found in the brain and retina. At the protein level, cOpn5L2 immunoreactive cells were present in the chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland. In the brain, cOpn5L2 immunoreactive cells were found in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus, known for photoreceptive deep brain areas. In the retina, cOpn5L2 protein was localized to subsets of cells in the ganglion cell layer and the inner nuclear layer. These results suggest that the non-mammalian type opsin 5 (Opn5L2) functions as a second UV sensor in the photoreceptive organs, while it might function as chemosensor using its direct binding ability to agonist all-trans-retinal in non-photoreceptive organs such as the adrenal gland of birds.
Project description:A variety of animal species utilize the ultraviolet (UV) component of sunlight as their environmental cues, whereas physiological roles of UV photoreception in mammals, especially in human beings, remain open questions. Here we report that mouse neuropsin (OPN5) encoded by the Opn5 gene exhibited an absorption maximum (?max) at 380 nm when reconstituted with 11-cis-retinal. Upon UV-light illumination, OPN5 was converted to a blue-absorbing photoproduct (?max 470 nm), which was stable in the dark and reverted to the UV-absorbing state by the subsequent orange light illumination, indicating its bistable nature. Human OPN5 also had an absorption maximum at 380 nm with spectral properties similar to mouse OPN5, revealing that OPN5 is the first and hitherto unknown human opsin with peak sensitivity in the UV region. OPN5 was capable of activating heterotrimeric G protein Gi in a UV-dependent manner. Immuno-blotting analyses of mouse tissue extracts identified the retina, the brain and, unexpectedly, the outer ears as the major sites of OPN5 expression. In the tissue sections of mice, OPN5 immuno-reactivities were detected in a subset of non-rod/non-cone retinal neurons as well as in the epidermal and muscle cells of the outer ears. Most of these OPN5-immuno-reactivities in mice were co-localized with positive signals for the alpha-subunit of Gi. These results demonstrate the first example of UV photoreceptor in human beings and strongly suggest that OPN5 triggers a UV-sensitive Gi-mediated signaling pathway in the mammalian tissues.
Project description:Most opsins selectively bind 11-cis retinal as a chromophore to form a photosensitive pigment, which underlies various physiological functions, such as vision and circadian photoentrainment. Recently, opsin 3 (Opn3), originally called encephalopsin or panopsin, and its homologs were identified in various tissues including brain, eye, and liver in both vertebrates and invertebrates, including human. Because Opn3s are mainly expressed in tissues that are not considered to contain sufficient amounts of 11-cis retinal to form pigments, the photopigment formation ability of Opn3 has been of interest. Here, we report the successful expression of Opn3 homologs, pufferfish teleost multiple tissue opsin (PufTMT) and mosquito Opn3 (MosOpn3) and show that these proteins formed functional photopigments with 11-cis and 9-cis retinals. The PufTMT- and MosOpn3-based pigments have absorption maxima in the blue-to-green region and exhibit a bistable nature. These Opn3 homolog-based pigments activate Gi-type and Go-type G proteins light dependently, indicating that they potentially serve as light-sensitive Gi/Go-coupled receptors. We also demonstrated that mammalian cultured cells transfected with the MosOpn3 or PufTMT became light sensitive without the addition of 11-cis retinal and the photosensitivity retained after the continuous light exposure, showing a reusable pigment formation with retinal endogenously contained in culture medium. Interestingly, we found that the MosOpn3 also acts as a light sensor when constituted with 13-cis retinal, a ubiquitously present retinal isomer. Our findings suggest that homologs of vertebrate Opn3 might function as photoreceptors in various tissues; furthermore, these Opn3s, particularly the mosquito homolog, could provide a promising optogenetic tool for regulating cAMP-related G protein-coupled receptor signalings.
Project description:Pineal organs of lower vertebrates contain several kinds of photosensitive molecules, opsins that are suggested to be involved in different light-regulated physiological functions. We previously reported that parapinopsin is an ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive opsin that underlies hyperpolarization of the pineal photoreceptor cells of lower vertebrates to achieve pineal wavelength discrimination. Although, parapinopsin is phylogenetically close to vertebrate visual opsins, it exhibits a property similar to invertebrate visual opsins and melanopsin: the photoproduct of parapinopsin is stable and reverts to the original dark states, demonstrating the nature of bistable pigments. Therefore, it is of evolutionary interest to identify a phototransduction cascade driven by parapinopsin and to compare it with that in vertebrate visual cells. Here, we showed that parapinopsin is coupled to vertebrate visual G protein transducin in the pufferfish, zebrafish, and lamprey pineal organs. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that parapinopsins activated transducin in vitro in a light-dependent manner, similar to vertebrate visual opsins. Interestingly, transducin activation by parapinopsin was provoked and terminated by UV- and subsequent orange-lights irradiations, respectively, due to the bistable nature of parapinopsin, which could contribute to a wavelength-dependent control of a second messenger level in the cell as a unique optogenetic tool. Immunohistochemical examination revealed that parapinopsin was colocalized with Gt2 in the teleost, which possesses rod and cone types of transducin, Gt1, and Gt2. On the other hand, in the lamprey, which does not possess the Gt2 gene, in situ hybridization suggested that parapinopsin-expressing photoreceptor cells contained Gt1 type transducin GtS, indicating that lamprey parapinopsin may use GtS in place of Gt2. Because it is widely accepted that vertebrate visual opsins having a bleaching nature have evolved from non-bleaching opsins similar to parapinopsin, these results implied that ancestral bistable opsins might acquire coupling to the transducin-mediated cascade and achieve light-dependent hyperpolarizing response of the photoreceptor cells.
Project description:Originally developed to regulate neuronal excitability, optogenetics is increasingly also used to control other cellular processes with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. Optogenetic modulation of all major G-protein signalling pathways (Gq, Gi and Gs) has been achieved using variants of mammalian rod opsin. We show here that the light response driven by such rod opsin-based tools dissipates under repeated exposure, consistent with the known bleaching characteristics of this photopigment. We continue to show that replacing rod opsin with a bleach resistant opsin from Carybdea rastonii, the box jellyfish, (JellyOp) overcomes this limitation. Visible light induced high amplitude, reversible, and reproducible increases in cAMP in mammalian cells expressing JellyOp. While single flashes produced a brief cAMP spike, repeated stimulation could sustain elevated levels for 10s of minutes. JellyOp was more photosensitive than currently available optogenetic tools, responding to white light at irradiances ?1 µW/cm(2). We conclude that JellyOp is a promising new tool for mimicking the activity of Gs-coupled G protein coupled receptors with fine spatiotemporal resolution.
Project description:Optogenetic actuators with diverse spectral tuning, ion selectivity and kinetics are constantly being engineered providing powerful tools for controlling neural activity with subcellular resolution and millisecond precision. Achieving reliable and interpretable in vivo optogenetic manipulations requires reproducible actuator expression and calibration of photocurrents in target neurons. Here, we developed nine transgenic zebrafish lines for stable opsin expression and calibrated their efficacy in vivo. We first used high-throughput behavioural assays to compare opsin ability to elicit or silence neural activity. Next, we performed in vivo whole-cell electrophysiological recordings to quantify the amplitude and kinetics of photocurrents and test opsin ability to precisely control spiking. We observed substantial variation in efficacy, associated with differences in both opsin expression level and photocurrent characteristics, and identified conditions for optimal use of the most efficient opsins. Overall, our calibrated optogenetic toolkit will facilitate the design of controlled optogenetic circuit manipulations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Animal opsins are light-sensitive G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that enable optogenetic control over the major heterotrimeric G-protein signaling pathways in animal cells. As such, opsins have potential applications in both biomedical research and therapy. Selecting the opsin with the best balance of activity and selectivity for a given application requires knowing their ability to couple to a full range of relevant G? subunits. We present the GsX assay, a set of tools based on chimeric Gs subunits that transduce coupling of opsins to diverse G proteins into increases in cAMP levels, measured with a real-time reporter in living cells. We use this assay to compare coupling to Gi/o/t across a panel of natural and chimeric opsins selected for potential application in gene therapy for retinal degeneration. RESULTS:Of the opsins tested, wild-type human rod opsin had the highest activity for chimeric Gs proxies for Gi and Gt (Gsi and Gst) and was matched in Go proxy (Gso) activity only by a human rod opsin/scallop opsin chimera. Rod opsin drove roughly equivalent responses via Gsi, Gso, and Gst, while cone opsins showed much lower activities with Gso than Gsi or Gst, and a human rod opsin/amphioxus opsin chimera demonstrated higher activity with Gso than with Gsi or Gst. We failed to detect activity for opsin chimeras bearing three intracellular fragments of mGluR6, and observed unexpectedly complex response profiles for scallop and amphioxus opsins thought to be specialized for Go. CONCLUSIONS:These results identify rod opsin as the most potent non-selective Gi/o/t-coupled opsin, long-wave sensitive cone opsin as the best for selectively activating Gi/t over Go, and a rod opsin/amphioxus opsin chimera as the best choice for selectively activating Go over Gi/t.
Project description:The Cre-loxP recombination system is a powerful tool for genetic manipulation. However, there are widely recognized limitations with chemically inducible Cre-loxP systems, and the UV and blue-light induced systems have phototoxicity and minimal capacity for deep tissue penetration. Here, we develop a far-red light-induced split Cre-loxP system (FISC system) based on a bacteriophytochrome optogenetic system and split-Cre recombinase, enabling optogenetical regulation of genome engineering in vivo solely by utilizing a far-red light (FRL). The FISC system exhibits low background and no detectable photocytotoxicity, while offering efficient FRL-induced DNA recombination. Our in vivo studies showcase the strong organ-penetration capacity of FISC system, markedly outperforming two blue-light-based Cre systems for recombination induction in the liver. Demonstrating its strong clinical relevance, we successfully deploy a FISC system using adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery. Thus, the FISC system expands the optogenetic toolbox for DNA recombination to achieve spatiotemporally controlled, non-invasive genome engineering in living systems.