Optogenetics: Light switch generates cellular second messenger
Light-sensitive protein from a fungus expands the optogenetic toolkit; publication in Nature Communications
(Press-News.org) This news release is available in German.
FRANKFURT. Optogenetics is a quickly expanding field of research which has revolutionized neurobiological and cellbiological research around the world. It uses natural or tailored light-sensitive proteins in order to switch nerve cells on and off without electrodes with unprecedented accuracy in respect to time and location. The discovery of the light-gated ion channel channelrhodopsin in algae in 2002 was a key finding for this field. In 2005, Frankfurt scientists working with Prof. Alexander Gottschalk succeeded in transferring the protein to the translucent nematode C. elegans in order to control its movements with light. Together with the lab of Georg Nagel at the University of Würzburg, Gottschalk has now added another tool to the optogenetics toolbox: The protein 'CyclOp' from the aquatic fungus Blastocladiella emersonii.
As the research group under Prof. Alexander Gottschalk reports in the current edition of the journal "Nature Communications", the CyclOp produces the second messenger cGMP when exposed to light. This important cellular signal is involved in vision, regulating blood pressure, induced cell death and also male erection. The compound Viagra, for example, leads to an increase in the cGMP level in the cells. If CyclOp is introduced to an organism like the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, then one can specifically study cGMP-dependent signal pathways within the cell. This allows optogenetics to go a step beyond previous research.
"The light-activated enzyme CyclOp has outstanding molecular properties which qualify it as a valuable addition to the optogenetics toolbox for cell biologists and neurobiologists", explains Prof. Gottschalk from the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS) at Goethe University. His research group has introduced the protein into oxygen sensing cells in order to find out what role the second messenger cGMP plays in these cells. To do so, the translucent nematode is exposed to light leading to intracellular generation of cGMP. The cells respond by acting as if they had detected an increase in the oxygen level. In this way the researchers can use CyclOp to get a better understanding of how the natural signal for these cells is turned into a cellular response.
S. Gao, J. Nagpal, M. Schneider, V. Kozjak-Pavlovic, G. Nagel, A. Gottschalk. (2015) Optogenetic manipulation of cGMP in cells and animals by the tightly light-regulated guanylyl-cyclase opsin CyclOp. Nature Communications (8. September 2015), DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS9046
You can request an image from: firstname.lastname@example.org
The optogenetically modified nematode C. elegans expresses the protein CyclOp (red) in its muscles, together with a cGMP activated ion channel (green).
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
COLUMBUS, Ohio--The next time someone accuses you of making an irrational decision, just explain that you're obeying the laws of quantum physics.
A new trend taking shape in psychological science not only uses quantum physics to explain humans' (sometimes) paradoxical thinking, but may also help researchers resolve certain contradictions among the results of previous psychological studies.
According to Zheng Joyce Wang and others who try to model our decision-making processes mathematically, the equations and axioms that most closely match human behavior may be ones ...
An international study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed more than half the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish.
The study, led by Dr Qamar Schuyler from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, found the east coasts of Australia and North America, Southeast Asia, southern Africa, and Hawaii were particularly dangerous for turtles due to a combination of debris loads and high species diversity.
"The results indicate that approximately 52 per cent of turtles world-wide have eaten debris," Dr Schuyler said.
The study ...
Melbourne summer temperatures have been steadily climbing over the past 25 years, but even more so during the two weeks of the Australian Open in late January, new data analysis reveals.
The average afternoon temperature in January has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius per decade since 1987. But in the two weeks of the Australian Open - usually held in mid-late January - temperatures have increased by 1.25 degrees per decade.
Ben Hague, a third-year Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences student at the University of Melbourne, said extreme summer temperatures have also become more ...
MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Sept. 14, 2015)--A new study finds that the characteristics of one's community may be as important as individual factors on the decision to become an organ donor. The study, published in The Milbank Quarterly, shows an association between sociodemographic/social capital measures and organ donor registrations across 4,466 Massachusetts neighborhoods. In order to increase organ donation registrations, the research suggests that future health policies adopt a community-level focus.
The shortage of organs for transplantation has reached unprecedented ...
The globe's forests have shrunk by three per cent since 1990 - an area equivalent to the size of South Africa - despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade.
The UN's Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA) 2015 was released this week, revealing that while the pace of forest loss has slowed, the damage over the past 25 years has been considerable.
Total forest area has declined by three per cent between 1990 and 2015 from 4,128 million hectares to 3,999 million hectares - a loss of 129 million hectares.
Significantly, loss of natural forested ...
Alzheimer's-disease-related proteases, BACE1 and APH1B-y-secretase, control axonal guidance by regulating growth cone dynamics
BACE1 is the major drug target for Alzheimer's disease, but we know surprisingly little about its normal function in the CNS. Soraia Barão and Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven) now show that this protease is critically involved in axonal guidance processes in thalamic and hippocampal neurons. An active membrane bound proteolytic CHL1 fragment is generated by BACE1 upon Sema3A binding. This fragment relays the Sema3A signal to the neuronal ...
Persons sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours suffer from low-grade inflammation more often than persons sleeping 7-8 hours per night. This was observed in a University of Eastern Finland study focusing on the health and lifestyle habits among middle-aged men.
"Earlier studies have found a relation between reduced sleep and low-grade inflammation," says Maria Luojus, MHSc, one of the study researchers.
Furthermore, low-grade inflammation occurs in overweight, depression and diabetes.
The study is the first to analyse the association between sleep duration ...
Results of a 20-year follow-up of the academic EORTC 22881-10882 boost no-boost trial presented as a "Best Abstract" at the European Cancer Congress 2015 in Vienna show that young age, high-grade invasive tumor, and the presence of associated ductal carcinoma in situ were all factors increasing the local recurrence rate. An earlier analysis had already shown that young age and high-grade invasive carcinoma were the most important risk factors for local relapse in this trial conducted from 1989 to 1996.
Dr. Conny Vrieling of the Clinique des Grangettes in Geneva, Switzerland, ...
A new study has confirmed that regular smokers have a significantly increased risk of tooth loss.
Male smokers are up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers, whereas female smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely.
The research, published in the Journal of Dental Research, is the output of a long-term longitudinal study of the EPIC Potsdam cohort in Germany carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham and the German Institute of Human Nutrition.
Tooth loss remains a major public health problem worldwide. In the UK, 15% of ...
Malnutrition is a known complication of weight loss surgery, but findings from a small study by researchers at Johns Hopkins show many obese people may be malnourished before they undergo the procedure.
"Our results highlight the often-overlooked paradox that abundance of food and good nutrition are not one and the same," says senior investigator Kimberley Steele, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Overweight and obese people can suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and those who care for them should be aware ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES: