Photoactive channels obey stoplights

Tuesday, 20. January 2009

Bi-stable neural state switches

Karl Deisseroth and his colleagues at Stanford University in collaboration with Peter Hegemann’s group at Humboldt University report new variants of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated cation channel from green algae, that enable precise switching between stable active and inactive states.

Kinetically bi-stable channelrhodopsin-2variants enable sensitive, step-like and reversible photoexcitability in neurons. Light-based tools have changed the landscape in neuroscience research by enabling simultaneous noninvasive and finely localized control of neuronal stimulation. Light-responsive ion channels called opsins are fundamental to this experimental revolution; neurons that express opsins can be selectively activated, which allows scientists to study how neurons communicate with each other and to map neuronal networks.

You can see the full article of "Bi-stable neural state switches" at: Research\Research Highlights.