Navigation Links
Algal protein in worm neurons allows remote control of behavior by light

By introducing expression of a special green-algae gene into neurons of the tiny, transparent nematode C. elegans, researchers have been able to elicit specific behavioral responses by simply illuminating animals with blue light. The work paves the way for better understanding of how neurons communicate with each other, and with muscles, to regulate behavior in intact, living organisms. Generally speaking, detailed information about the activity and function of specific neurons during particular behaviors has been difficult to achieve in undissected animals.

The new findings are reported by Alexander Gottschalk and colleagues at Goethe-University Frankfurt and at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, also in Frankfurt.

In their new study, the researchers employed a light-sensitive protein from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This protein, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), sits in cell membranes, where it gates the flow of certain ions from one side of the membrane to the other. Such so-called channel proteins play central roles in the activities of neurons and muscle cells, and while some channel proteins are sensitive to chemicals or electrical signals, ChR2 and its relatives are controlled directly by certain wavelengths of light, making them ideal for remote control in the laboratory.

In their experiments, the researchers took advantage of the light sensitivity of the algal channel protein by introducing expression of a modified form of ChR2 in specific C. elegans neurons and muscle cells. The researchers found that when this form of ChR2 was expressed in muscle cells, blue-light activation of the protein was sufficient to cause strong contraction of the muscle. They found that muscle contraction was simultaneous with light exposure.

The researchers went on to show that expression of the engineered ChR2 in mechanosensory neurons, which respond to touch by activating a reflex that causes worms to back up, was suffic ient to prompt the backing behavior in response to blue-light exposure. In fact, the ChR2 expression in mechanosensory neurons allowed the backing behavior to occur (in response to light) even in mutant worms that lacked the C. elegans ion channel that normally mediates backing behavior in response to touch.

The researchers performed electrophysiological experiments to show that the effects they observed were indeed due to the inward flow of ions caused by activation of the ChR2 protein by light; this inward ion flow persisted for the duration of blue-light exposure.

Future work may include studies using forms of ChR2 or related proteins that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light; by allowing remote-control activation of different neurons and muscle cells within an individual animal, such approaches could aid in understanding the circuitry and control of complex behaviors.


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Harmful Algal Blooms monitored from space in Chile
2. New, automated tool successfully classifies and relates proteins in unprecedented way
3. New binding target for oncogenic viral protein
4. Controversial drug shown to act on brain protein to cut alcohol use
5. Timing is everything: First step in protein building revealed
6. UWs Rosetta software to unlock secrets of many human proteins
7. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
8. Signaling protein builds bigger, better bones in mice
9. Ancient olfaction protein is shared by many bugs, offering new pest control target
10. Automatic extraction of gene/protein biological functions from biomedical text
11. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces the launch of ... Fatone . Las Vegas , where Joey appeared ... Las Vegas , where Joey appeared at the Wocket ... video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) in ... to meet and greet fans. --> ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... SEATTLE , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, ... biotech, pharma and publication industries, will provide the data ... Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis ... even whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. , Feb. 3, 2016 ... 30 grants totaling more than $1 million for ... who are working on health-related research that demonstrates ... , this round of funding for the New ... available for faculty members at these educational institutions— ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... and Unix visualization solutions today announced the addition of a powerful “Session Preview” ... to see the current state of the remote Linux desktop or other applications ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016  Today, Symphony Technology Group (STG) announced the ... leading provider of primary research and analytics-based insight for ... , a global information and technology services company serving ... will be integrated into IMS Health to form a ... capabilities. ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... LATHAM, NEW YORK. (PRWEB) , ... February 03, ... ... and manufacturer of silicon (Si) and InGaAs chips and wafers, and InP epi ... detectors ranging from silicon detectors–including photodiodes, photo transistors, and Avalanche photodiodes–to Si ...
Breaking Biology Technology: