Article | Published:

Optogenetic oligomerization of Rab GTPases regulates intracellular membrane trafficking

Nature Chemical Biology volume 12, pages 431436 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Intracellular membrane trafficking, which is involved in diverse cellular processes, is dynamic and difficult to study in a spatiotemporal manner. Here we report an optogenetic strategy, termed light-activated reversible inhibition by assembled trap of intracellular membranes (IM-LARIAT), that uses various Rab GTPases combined with blue-light-induced hetero-interaction between cryptochrome 2 and CIB1. In this system, illumination induces a rapid and reversible intracellular membrane aggregation that disrupts the dynamics and functions of the targeted membrane. We applied IM-LARIAT to specifically perturb several Rab-mediated trafficking processes, including receptor transport, protein sorting and secretion, and signaling initiated from endosomes. We finally used this tool to reveal different functions of local Rab5-mediated and Rab11-mediated membrane trafficking in growth cones and soma of young hippocampal neurons. Our results show that IM-LARIAT is a versatile tool that can be used to dissect spatiotemporal functions of intracellular membranes in diverse systems.

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Acknowledgements

We thank N. Kim, H. Lee and M. Lee for helpful discussions, and D. Woo, H. Jung and S. Kim for technical assistance in neuron culture. This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science (no. IBS-R001-G1); KAIST Institute for the BioCentury, Republic of Korea; and the Intelligent Synthetic Biology Center of the Global Frontier Project (2011-0031955) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

    • Mai Khanh Nguyen
    • , Hyerim Park
    •  & Won Do Heo
  2. Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology, KAIST, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

    • Cha Yeon Kim
  3. Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

    • Jin Man Kim
  4. Center for Cognition and Sociality, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

    • Byung Ouk Park
    • , Sangkyu Lee
    •  & Won Do Heo
  5. KAIST Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

    • Won Do Heo

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Contributions

M.K.N. and W.D.H. conceived the idea. M.K.N. and C.Y.K. designed and performed the experiments. M.K.N., C.Y.K. and J.M.K. analyzed the data. M.K.N., C.Y.K., J.M.K., B.O.P., S.L., H.P. and W.D.H. discussed the data. M.K.N. and W.D.H. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Won Do Heo.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.2064

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