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Illuminating cell signalling with optogenetic tools

Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology volume 15, pages 551558 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

The light-based control of ion channels has been transformative for the neurosciences, but the optogenetic toolkit does not stop there. An expanding number of proteins and cellular functions have been shown to be controlled by light, and the practical considerations in deciding between reversible optogenetic systems (such as systems that use light-oxygen-voltage domains, phytochrome proteins, cryptochrome proteins and the fluorescent protein Dronpa) are well defined. The field is moving beyond proof of concept to answering real biological questions, such as how cell signalling is regulated in space and time, that were difficult or impossible to address with previous tools.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank members of the Weiner laboratory for helpful discussions. This work was supported by a Genentech Fellowship (D.T.) and US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants GM084040, GM096164 and GM109899 (O.D.W.).

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Affiliations

  1. Cardiovascular Research Institute and Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158–9001, USA.

    • Doug Tischer
    •  & Orion D. Weiner

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Orion D. Weiner.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm3837

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