CellPhotoChem Lab

CellPhotoChem Lab

ABOUT

Ability to control cell signaling is a crucial aspect of pharmacology and disease management. Lack of approaches to do so precisely in space and time in single cells has been an impediment to exert control over cell behavior both experimentally and therapeutically. Interfacing research strategies in chemistry, biology and biophysics, we develop and employ subcellular optogenetic approaches to control, visualize and dissect signal transduction pathways pertaining to pathologically important cell behaviors such as cancer cell migration and neuronal damage repair.

Cell behaviors such as cell migration and neuron development requires asymmetric signaling activation and they play crucial roles in processes such as immune system function, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. In the body, localized activation of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) on the plasma membrane by confined chemical gradients and subsequent signaling network activation control these behaviors. We engineer opsin, phytochrome, cryptochrome and phototropin based optogenetic-signaling triggers and employ them to optically control (i) GPCR signaling networks in its entirety, (ii) specific G protein subunits and (iii) selected signaling proteins respectively. We do so by exposing subcellular regions single cells to light pulses of designated wavelengths with a precise spatial and temporal control. We simultaneously image cells for fluorescent protein (FP) based sensors to understand the dynamics of underlying intertwined interactions among molecules and modalities of contributing signaling networks.

We engineer opsin, phytochrome, cryptochrome and phototropin based optogenetic-signaling triggers and employ them to optically control (i) GPCR signaling networks in its entirety, (ii) specific G protein subunits and (iii) selected signaling proteins respectively. We do so by exposing subcellular regions single cells to light pulses of designated wavelengths with a precise spatial and temporal control. We simultaneously image cells for fluorescent protein (FP) based sensors to understand the dynamics of underlying intertwined interactions among molecules and modalities of contributing signaling networks.

Last Updated: 5/27/20