Robert Campbell (University of Alberta, Canada)
New optogenetic tools to visualize and control neural activity
Molecular engineering of improved uorescent proteins (FPs) and innovative FP-based indicators has been a major driving force behind advances in cell biology and neuroscience for the past two decades. Among these tools, FP-based indicators (i.e., FP-containing proteins that change their uorescence intensity or color in response to a biochemical change) have uniquely revolutionized the ability of biologists to visualize the otherwise invisible world of intracellular biochemistry. Similarly, light-activated protein-based actuators now enable researchers to control cellular activities with precise spatial and temporal resolution. In this seminar I will describe our most recent e orts to use protein engineering to make a new generation of versatile FP-based tools optimized for in vivo imaging and manipulation of cellular activity. Speci cally, I will present our e orts to convert red and near-infrared FPs into indicators for calcium ion, membrane potential, and neurotransmitters, and describe our recent e orts to exploit FPs for optical control of protein activity and gene expression.
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