Navigation Links
Controlling movements with light
Date:7/20/2011

Unlike conventional methods, with the so-called optogenetics, the researchers are able to target one cell type. "We are now going to use this method to find out exactly what goes wrong in the nerve cells in movement disorders such as ataxias", said Prof. Dr. Stefan Herlitze (RUB Department for Biology and Biotechnology). The researchers report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The Bochum team examined a specific signalling pathway that is controlled by a so-called G-protein-coupled receptor. This pathway is important for the modulation of activity in complex neuronal networks. Disturbances of the function can, for example, have an effect on emotional and motor behaviours. "We know that the activity pattern of the Purkinje cells in the cerebellum is crucial for the coordination of movements", Herlitze explained. "It is unclear, however, what contribution is made by the individual receptors." In conventional studies, researchers use drugs that inhibit or stimulate specific proteins in nerve cells to investigate the contribution of these proteins to the activity of the cells. However, Herlitze's team was interested in a protein (G-protein-coupled receptor) which occurs in various cell types. Had the researchers administered a drug, they would not only have deactivated the receptor in the Purkinje cells, but in all cell types in which it occurs. The drug method therefore makes it impossible to observe the contribution of the receptor in the Purkinje cells in isolation.

Optogenetics: replacing drugs with light

To avoid this problem, Herlitze's team replaced the drugs with proteins that are activated by light. Using genetic methods, the researchers integrated rhodopsin, the light-sensitive protein of the eye, into the Purkinje cells of mice. They also implanted a laser probe in the cerebellum, with which they illuminated the rhodopsin. The light-activated rhodopsin then activated the G-protein-coupled receptor in the Purkinje cells, while the same receptors in other cell types remained inactive. The RUB Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology has been instrumental in establishing this method worldwide.

Investigated receptor is crucial for movement control

The researchers found that activation of the G-protein-coupled receptor changed the activity pattern of the Purkinje cells. Herlitze's team had to expose the rhodopsin to light for several seconds to achieve these effects. A twenty to thirty percent reduction in cell activity was sufficient to induce visible motor deficits in the behaviour of the mice, such as impaired balance or coordination problems. "We were able to demonstrate for the first time that the modulation of a specific G-protein-coupled receptor in the Purkinje cells is of crucial importance for the control and coordination of movement", summed up Herlitze.


'/>"/>

Contact: Stefan Herlitze
stefan.herlitze@rub.de
49-234-322-4363
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Starch-controlling gene fuels more protein in soybean plants
2. Toward controlling fungus that caused Irish potato famine
3. Scripps Research scientist uncovers switch controlling protein production
4. Scientists discover new mechanism for controlling blood sugar level
5. Artificially controlling water condensation leads to room-temperature ice
6. Balanced ecosystems seen in organic ag better at controlling pests
7. Production of biofuels could benefit by controlling the types of cells that develop in plants
8. More than 1: Long-reigning microbe controlling ocean nitrogen shares the throne
9. UNC study pinpoints gene controlling number of brain cells
10. Key protein regulating inflammation may prove relevant to controlling sepsis
11. Photoselective film proves effective for controlling height in potted gardenia plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring ... involved, it has secured the final acceptance by ... for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus ... to be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Paris Police Prefecture ... to ensure the safety of people and operations in several ... tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised in ... that its video security solution will be utilised by ... safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM ... which consumers will be able to interact with IBM Watson ... or text and receive relevant information about the product or ... long sought an advertising solution that can create a one-to-one ... valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and touchpoints. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading ... was today awarded as one of the World ... world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering ... real world in the nutrition, health and consumer ... with customers including Fortune 500 companies to design ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is ... projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: