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Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 81, Issue 9, pp 928–940 | Cite as

The road to optogenetics: Microbial rhodopsins

  • E. G. Govorunova
  • L. A. KoppelEmail author
Review

Abstract

Optogenetics technology (using light-sensitive microbial proteins to control animal cell physiology) is becoming increasingly popular in laboratories around the world. Among these proteins, particularly important are rhodopsins that transport ions across the membrane and are used in optogenetics to regulate membrane potential by light, mostly in neurons. Although rhodopsin ion pumps transport only one charge per captured photon, channelrhodopsins are capable of more efficient passive transport. In this review, we follow the history of channelrhodopsin discovery in flagellate algae and discuss the latest addition to the channelrhodopsin family, channels with anion, rather than cation, selectivity.

Keywords

rhodopsins ion channels neurons membrane potential light 

Abbreviations

ACR

anion channelrhodopsins

CCR

cation channelrhodopsins

ChR

channelrhodopsins

CrChR

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii ChR

GtACR

Guillardia theta ACR

PD

Parkinson’s disease

PsuACR

Proteomonas sulcata ACR

VTA

ventral tegmental area (of the midbrain)

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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversitySchool of BiologyMoscowRussia
  2. 2.University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonMcGovern Medical SchoolHoustonUSA

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