Light-controlled Biology Methods in Nature Communications

Light-controlled technologies to probe and manipulate cellular activity have revolutionized basic life science research fields ranging from cell biology to neuroscience. These technologies are also being investigated as potential therapeutic approaches for illnesses like stroke and cancer. This cross-disciplinary collection brings together Nature Communications articles from biotechnology, optics, neuroscience, cell biology, and medicine that develop or apply light-controlled technologies.

In the Cell Biology section, we highlight articles that use engineered light-sensitive proteins or new inorganic and organic optical sensors  to gain insight into cellular processes such as intracellular signaling. Neuroscience is another discipline that has been revolutionized by light-controlled technologies, with optogenetics allowing neuroscientists to control genetically defined sets of neurons, and optical imaging of neuronal structure and activity during behavior becoming possible on larger scales. We highlight research and methods with especial relevance to the brain in the Neuroscience section. Although many light-controlled techniques now exist, methods developers continue to optimize and extend these non-invasive technologies (moving beyond light-control into thermo-, magneto- and sono- control), as we showcase in the Tool Development section. Finally, the Therapies section highlights Nature Communications papers that leverage light-controlled methods for disease applications.

This collection will be updated regularly with studies published in Nature Communications ​that feature new development and uses of light-controlled biology methods.

Cell Biology


Tool Development