Molecular optogenetics: tool development and applications to cell biology and neuroscience research
Won Do Heo, Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST), 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34141, Korea
My group has been developing various bio-imaging and optogenetic tools for the study of cell signaling in live cells as well as neuronal functions in vivo. Novel optogenetic toolkit developed by my group is highly advantageous compared with conventional approaches in that it allows finely manipulated signaling pathways in a spatial and temporal resolution, thereby making it possible to dissect and analyze the transient dynamics of signaling processes within a defined period. These tools are very useful not only for imaging based researches in cell biology, but also for the studies in neuroscience. Recently developed optogenetic strategies have brought significant changes the way in which signaling in living cells is studied in neurobiology and other disciplines. Novel optogenetic toolkit my group has been developing are capable of providing what channelrhodopsins could not offer previously, contributing in a disparate perspective of neuroscience. We are applying the new technologies to the study of spatiotemporal roles of signaling proteins and second messengers in learning and memory in normal and disease mouse models.