home   genetic news   bioinformatics   biotechnology   literature   journals   ethics   positions   events   sitemap
  HUM-MOLGEN -> Genetic News | search  

A Light-Switch For Brain Cells

  April, 5 2007 8:13
your information resource in human molecular genetics
An elegant technique using light to control the activity of brain cells is described in the 05 April 2007 issue of Nature (Vol. 446, No. 7136, pp. 633-639). By expressing a light-responsive membrane protein in neurons, researchers can inhibit neural activity on a millisecond timescale.

Karl Deisseroth and colleagues introduced NpHR - a light-driven chloride pump that occurs naturally in microorganisms known as archaea - into cultured mammalian neurons and brain tissue in the laboratory. Training light pulses of a particular wavelength onto these cells effectively inhibited neural activity. This builds on the authors' previous work using the protein ChR2 – a light-responsive channel found in algae - to optically excite nerve cells with light of a different wavelength. By simultaneously expressing both membrane proteins in the muscle cells or motor neurons of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the authors were able to control its locomotive behaviour - the worms stopped and started muscle contractions when yellow and blue lights were shone on them.

These findings demonstrate that light-responsive proteins can be used simultaneously to permit fast, bidirectional and reversible control over living neural circuits. They can also be used in conjunction with calcium imaging techniques and, together, provide a powerful tool for studying and manipulating brain activity with high precision.


Karl Deisseroth (Stanford University, CA, USA)
E-mail: deissero@gmail.com

Michael Hausser (University College London, UK) N&V author
E-mail: m.hausser@ucl.ac.uk

(C) Nature press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

print this article mail this article
Latest News
Variants Associated with Pediatric Allergic Disorder

Mutations in PHF6 Found in T-Cell Leukemia

Genetic Risk Variant for Urinary Bladder Cancer

Antibody Has Therapeutic Effect on Mice with ALS

Regulating P53 Activity in Cancer Cells

Anti-RNA Therapy Counters Breast Cancer Spread

Mitochondrial DNA Diversity

The Power of RNA Sequencing

‘Pro-Ageing' Therapy for Cancer?

Niche Genetics Influence Leukaemia

Molecular Biology: Clinical Promise for RNA Interference

Chemoprevention Cocktail for Colon Cancer

more news ...

Generated by News Editor 2.0 by Kai Garlipp
WWW: Kai Garlipp, Frank S. Zollmann.
7.0 © 1995-2023 HUM-MOLGEN. All rights reserved. Liability, Copyright and Imprint.