Cell Migration pp 313-324 | Cite as

Optogenetic Control of Cell Migration

  • Xenia Meshik
  • Patrick R. O’Neill
  • N. GautamEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1749)


Subcellular optogenetics allows specific proteins to be optically activated or inhibited at a restricted subcellular location in intact living cells. It provides unprecedented control of dynamic cell behaviors. Optically modulating the activity of signaling molecules on one side of a cell helps optically control cell polarization and directional cell migration. Combining subcellular optogenetics with live cell imaging of the induced molecular and cellular responses in real time helps decipher the spatially and temporally dynamic molecular mechanisms that control a stereotypical complex cell behavior, cell migration. Here we describe methods for optogenetic control of cell migration by targeting three classes of key signaling switches that mediate directional cellular chemotaxis—G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), heterotrimeric G proteins, and Rho family monomeric G proteins.

Key words

Cell migration Optogenetics Subcellular Signaling Opsin GPCRs Light induced dimerization Fluorescence microscopy 



This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health through National Institute of General Medical Sciences Grants GM069027, GM107370, and GM122577.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xenia Meshik
    • 1
  • Patrick R. O’Neill
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Gautam
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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