SNAPSHOT: Fungal Proteins and Optogenetics
With optogenetics, scientists genetically program cells to make proteins that respond to light. Researchers can then use light to control the proteins, which lets them manipulate and study the cell and cell networks. The research technique is opening new frontiers in neuroscience and cell biology.
The proteins are called RGS-LOVs. Under blue light, an RGS-LOV moves to the cell membrane and binds with it. Switch the light off and the protein retreats. This action could make the protein a useful optogenetic tool, the researchers say.
“Imagine you have a protein you want to send to the plasma membrane for a certain time,” said ASRC Ph.D. student Zaynab Jaber, a co-author on the paper. “You can fuse your protein to the RGS-LOV protein and then use blue light to control where it is.”
Study authors also included researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.