Special Reviews

Optical Switches for Remote and Noninvasive Control of Cell Signaling

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Science  17 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5900, pp. 395-399
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166022

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  1. Fig. 1.

    Strategies for the manipulation of cell signaling with light. (A) Uncaging of ligands and ions (9, 37). (B) Protein uncaging. (C) Free photoisomerizable ligands (10, 11). (D) Light-gated cation channel Channelrhodopsin 2 (38). (E) Light-gated chloride pump NpHR (16). (F) PAC (20). ATP, adenosine triphosphate; cAMP, adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate. (G) Light-gated mechano-sensitive channel McsL (22). The asterisk indicates delivery of chemical. (H) Light-gated nAChR (10) and LiGluR (33). (I) Light-gated voltage-gated potassium channel (31).

  2. Fig. 2.

    Azobenzene photoisomerizes between an extended or trans configuration under visible light (left) and a bent or cis configuration under UV light (right), which is shorter by ∼0.7 nm. Δ indicates thermal energy.

  3. Fig. 3.

    Spatio-temporal control of cell signaling with light. (A) The use of spatially confined illumination on a group of cells expressing a photoswitchable protein allows selection of the particular cell (or cell region) to be manipulated. (B) LiGluR allows control of single action potential firing in neurons by millisecond light pulses. [Reproduced with permission from (35)]. (C) Region-selective conjugation of synthetic photoswitches using affinity labeling (34).