Optogenetics is a method that uses light to modulate molecular events in a targeted manner in living cells or organisms. It relies on the use of genetically-encoded proteins that change conformation in the presence of light to alter cell behaviour, for example, by changing the membrane voltage potential of excitable cells.


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  • News and Views |

    Using light-activated ion channels to stimulate sensory and motivational pathways, Vetere and colleagues constructed fully artificial memories in mice. Mice preferred or avoided an odor they had never smelled before, depending on the pattern of stimulation.

    • Mark G. Baxter
    •  & Nicholas A. Upright
    Nature Neuroscience 22, 845-846
  • Research Highlights |

    A novel bioelectronic system that combines automated arrhythmia detection with optogenetic engineering for arrhythmia termination is able to stop atrial fibrillation without the need of electrical shock in a closed-chest experimental model.

    • Irene Fernández-Ruiz
  • News and Views |

    The use of optogenetic strategies in biomedicine therapeutics has the potential to provide nonpharmacological modulation of nervous system function. The development of integrative, implantable, remote-powered devices is an advance towards translation of these strategies, with the potential for precision, revolutionary treatment of complex or refractory disease-related or trauma-related symptoms.

    • Warren M. Grill
    •  & Jennifer J. DeBerry