Bearing Light On Gene Expression : Streamlining Light Controllable Escherichia Coli

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Bearing Light on Gene Expression: Streamlining Light Controllable Escherichia coli Two-Component Transduction Systems Antonio Torres November 16, 2014 Advanced Biochemistry and Molecular Biology CHEM 4360/5383 Abstract Optogenetics is a rapidly evolving technology that, using a combination of optical methods and genetics, is capable of producing high resolution information on specific events of interest within biological systems, whether they be freely moving organisms or not (Diesseroth, 2011). At the basal level, optogenetics incorporates tools that deliver an effector function when responding to light. This allows for its use in several scenarios such as control tools for cells of interest, analyzing specific biochemical mechanisms,…show more content…
Although essentially a broad term, the principal technology in optogenetics incorporates two key functions: light-responsive, control tools that can convey a function in the cell and customizable elements for delivering light to cells of interest; personalizing the control tools for use in the cell of interest; and acquiring analyzable data (Boyden, et. al., 2005). Optogenetically controlled systems had their beginnings in neuroscience, where the need to control a certain type of cell without altering others in the brain was the ultimate goal. This was the underlying concern with classic techniques used to obtain neuronal data; electrical stimulation could not be used for the targeting of individual cells, and the use of drugs to alter neuronal functioning is a slow, imprecise method that is potentially toxic to the cells. Fortunately, optical manipulation of neural activity was accomplished through a microbial opsin gene, a light-sensitive protein that allowed the neurons to react to specific wavelengths of light (Boyden, et. al., 2005). This “light-switching” was capable of being tested in freely motile organisms with no harm inflicted to the organism. Success with this particular group of proteins directed the research of optogenetics to the engineering of several variable
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