This new tool is a true two-in-one solution. In future, it might help to study a number of diseases.
Using a novel optogenetic tool, researchers have successfully controlled, reproduced and visualised serotonin receptor signals in neural cells. To this end, they modified a photosensitive membrane receptor in the eye, namely melanopsin. As a result, they were able to switch the receptor on and off using light; it also acted like a sensor indicating via fluorescence if specific signalling pathways in the cell had been activated. The sensor was, moreover, specifically designed to migrate to those domains in the neural cells that are sensitive to the neurotransmitter serotonin. The team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, headed by Dennis Eickelbeck and Professor Stefan Herlitze, described its project in the journal Nature Communications Biology on 14 February 2019.
Melanospin is a G-protein-coupled receptor capable of controlling specific signalling pathways in the cells. In earlier studies, the team at the Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology in Bochum had deployed the receptor as an optogenetic tool. Having modified the receptor, the biologists were able to switch it on with blue light and off with yellow light. Thus, they could activate various G-protein-coupled signalling pathways in neural cells using light.
In their current study, the researchers optimised the tool and turned it into a sensor that indicates if a G-protein-coupled signalling pathway has been switched on. The trick: once such a signalling pathway is activated, the concentration of calcium ions in the cell increases. The researchers melded melanopsin with a calcium indicator protein, whose fluorescence intensity increases following an increase in calcium concentration in the cell. Green light thus indicated that a G-protein-coupled signalling pathway had been activated. Subsequently, the biologists added two more functions to their sensor, i.e. the calcium-melanopsin-local-sensor, Camello for short. They integrated a second fluorescent protein that permanently emits red fluorescence. Monitoring the red light, they were able to pinpoint the sensor in the cells, regardless if a signalling pathway was switched on or not. A red light thus indicated that the Camello sensor was present, whereas an additional green light showed that it had activated signalling pathways.
Finally, the researchers added a fragment of a serotonin receptor to Camello. As a result, the sensor was trafficked to those domains of the cell where serotonin receptors occur naturally. "Since serotonin is involved in numerous processes in the central nervous system, it also plays an important role in many disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and migraine. We are hoping that, by facilitating detailed research into the transport, localisation and activity of relevant receptors, our tool will help us understand the mechanisms underlying these diseases," says Dennis Eickelbeck.
For the purpose of the study, the Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology collaborated with colleagues from the Developmental Neurobiology research group, the Neural Computation Institute, and the Department of Biophysics at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Wonderful 13 Best Images of Chromosomes And Genes WorksheetDNA and Replication Worksheet Answers, Gene
dna mutations practice worksheet answers - Learning regarding the actual value of money is among the primary lessons kids of today may learn. Most considerably you have to love them and you have to have `the present associated with teaching'. They are capable to draw an auto dvd unit of what they are reading through to assist them understand the problem.
You'll want to recognize, however, th...
Bacteria are often attached to surfaces in natural ecosystems. A surface-associated lifestyle can have advantages, but shifts in the physiochemical state of the environment may result in conditions in which attachment has a negative fitness impact. Therefore, bacter...
The potentially devastating long-term consequences on cognitive function in patients with brain cancer following cranial irradiation led Charles L. Limoli, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Irvine, to study neural stem cell transplantation and how the procedure may prevent cognitive decline in this setting. Although an effective treatment for brain cancers, radiation therapy can sometimes induce debilitating side effects, including disruptions in memory and concentr...