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The promise of optogenetics in cell biology: interrogating molecular circuits in space and time

Optogenetic modules offer cell biologists unprecedented new ways to poke and prod cells. The combination of these precision perturbative tools with observational tools, such as fluorescent proteins, may dramatically accelerate our ability to understand the inner workings of the cell.

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Figure 1: Modes of light-regulated biochemistry.
Figure 2: In vivo biochemistry: from component lists to signal processing.
Figure 3: Reversibility and spatial precision.


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This work was partially supported by the Cancer Research Institute postdoctoral fellowship (to J.E.T.); US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants EY016546 and AI067699, National Science Foundation (NSF) grants BES-0547637, EEC-0540879 and CBET-0943302, Office of Naval Research grant N00014-10-1-0245 and the NSF Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (to C.A.V.); NIH grant GM084040 (to O.D.W.); and NIH grants GM55040, GM62583, GM081879 and EY016546, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Packard Foundation and the NSF Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (to W.A.L.).

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Correspondence to Wendell A Lim.

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Toettcher, J., Voigt, C., Weiner, O. et al. The promise of optogenetics in cell biology: interrogating molecular circuits in space and time. Nat Methods 8, 35–38 (2011).

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