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Publication Detail
Channelrhodopsins: visual regeneration and neural activation by a light switch.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    G N, Tan A, Farhatnia Y, Rajadas J, Hamblin MR, Khaw PT, Seifalian AM
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    461, 474
  • Journal:
    N Biotechnol
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Animals, Channelrhodopsins, Humans, Light, Membrane Potentials, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Myocardial Contraction, Myocardium, Regeneration, Retinal Degeneration, Retinal Ganglion Cells, Spinal Cord Injuries, Synaptic Transmission, Vision, Ocular
The advent of optogenetics provides a new direction for the field of neuroscience and biotechnology, serving both as a refined investigative tool and as potential cure for many medical conditions via genetic manipulation. Although still in its infancy, recent advances in optogenetics has made it possible to remotely manipulate in vivo cellular functions using light. Coined Nature Methods' 'Method of the Year' in 2010, the optogenetic toolbox has the potential to control cell, tissue and even animal behaviour. This optogenetic toolbox consists of light-sensitive proteins that are able to modulate membrane potential in response to light. Channelrhodopsins (ChR) are light-gated microbial ion channels, which were first described in green algae. ChR2 (a subset of ChR) is a seven transmembrane α helix protein, which evokes membrane depolarization and mediates an action potential upon photostimulation with blue (470 nm) light. By contrast to other seven-transmembrane proteins that require second messengers to open ion channels, ChR2 form ion channels themselves, allowing ultrafast depolarization (within 50 milliseconds of illumination). It has been shown that integration of ChR2 into various tissues of mice can activate neural circuits, control heart muscle contractions, and even restore breathing after spinal cord injury. More compellingly, a plethora of evidence has indicated that artificial expression of ChR2 in retinal ganglion cells can reinstate visual perception in mice with retinal degeneration.
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