Navigation Links
Optogenetic tool elucidated
Date:2/28/2012

Controlling nerve cells with the aid of light: this is made possible by optogenetics. It enables, for example, the investigation of neurobiological processes with unprecedented spatial and temporal precision. The key tool of optogenetics is the light-activated protein channelrhodopsin. Biophysicists from Bochum and Berlin have now succeeded in explaining the switching mechanism through an interdisciplinary approach. The researchers report on their findings in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Redistribution of water molecules

Until now, little has been known about the mechanism of the protein - especially about how the channel opens. However, deeper understanding is a prerequisite in order to be able to use the light-controlled protein specifically for neurobiological applications. In a new, multi-disciplinary approach, the Bochum scientists led by Prof. Dr. Klaus Gerwert (Department of Biophysics at the RUB) and their cooperation partners in Berlin have been able to shed light on the switching mechanism. The result: the light-induced change in the charge state of amino acid glutamate 90 (E90) triggers an increased penetration of water molecules, so that the protein can now purposefully conduct ions through the cell membrane.

Three methods combined

Using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy, the RUB biophysicists Jens Kuhne and Dr. Erik Freier have been able to show for the first time that the channel is opened through the deprotonation of the amino acid glutamate 90 (E90). In addition, the electrophysiological experiments of the researchers in Berlin confirm that a mutation of the amino acid leads to a change in the ion permeability of the protein. Instead of using safety goggles and lab coats, the two biophysicists Kirstin Eisenhauer and Dr. Steffen Wolf at the Department of Biophysics used supercomputers to simulate how the protonation change of the glutamate opens the channel and allows water molecules to penetrate.

Internationally preeminent

The work has attained particular distinction right now, because shortly after the Bochum pre-publication on the Internet, Japanese researchers published the three-dimensional structure of a channelrhodopsin online in "Nature". "The structure work impressively confirms our biomolecular simulations and the key role played by the amino acid E90 in the switching of the channel", says Prof. Klaus Gerwert. "We are therefore particularly proud to have been preeminent in this internationally competitive field." In 2010, optogenetics was distinguished by "Nature Methods" as the "Method of the Year". Using this method, researchers have succeeded, for example, in restoring the eyesight of blind mice.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Klaus Gerwert
gerwert@bph.rub.de
49-234-322-4461
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Light workout: Stanford scientists use optogenetics to effectively stimulate muscle movement in mice
2. The leading edge of stress: New genomic, optogenetic and epigenetic findings
3. Connection elucidated between obesity, salt sensitivity and high blood pressure
4. A new signaling pathway of the immune system is elucidated
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator ... of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified ... architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises ... over 15 million users across the financial services industry, ... product suites and physical access represent a growing portion ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 The research team of ... three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae ... realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, ... cost. ... A research ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze ... pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LINDA, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... to upregulate any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding ... (CRISPRa) system with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... -- VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has ... (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs ... professionals to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer ... care professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: