Thursday, December 27, 2012

All-in-one optogenetics

Scientists reverse engineer fluorescent proteins for light-mediated control.
Optogenetics is a young discipline that is coming on strong in fields such as neuroscience and protein signaling. It refers to the use of light-sensitive proteins to control cellular processes in living cells and organisms. Optogenetic tools can also be used to sense biological processes. Each of these applications has been performed with separate protein tools—until now.  Michael Lin, at Stanford University, and his colleagues have adapted a fluorescent protein (FP) to act as a light switch for controlling protein interactions, creating a protein tool that can both mediate biological function and report its own activity.
Xin Zhou et al.
Optical Control of Protein Activity by Fluorescent Protein Domains
Science 9 November 2012: Vol. 338 no. 6108 pp. 810-814 DOI: 10.1126/science.1226854

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