Merck

Direct control of store-operated calcium channels by ultrafast laser.

Cell research (2021-01-21)
Pan Cheng, Xiaoying Tian, Wanyi Tang, Juan Cheng, Jin Bao, Haipeng Wang, Sisi Zheng, Youjun Wang, Xunbin Wei, Tunan Chen, Hua Feng, Tian Xue, Keisuke Goda, Hao He
RESUMO

Ca2+ channels are essential to cell birth, life, and death. They can be externally activated by optogenetic tools, but this requires robust introduction of exogenous optogenetic genes for expression of photosensitive proteins in biological systems. Here we present femtoSOC, a method for direct control of Ca2+ channels solely by ultrafast laser without the need for optogenetic tools or any other exogenous reagents. Specifically, by focusing and scanning wavelength-tuned low-power femtosecond laser pulses on the plasma membrane for multiphoton excitation, we directly induced Ca2+ influx in cultured cells. Mechanistic study reveals that photoexcited flavins covalently bind cysteine residues in Orai1 via thioether bonds, which facilitates Orai1 polymerization to form store-operated calcium channels (SOCs) independently of STIM1, a protein generally participating in SOC formation, enabling all-optical activation of Ca2+ influx and downstream signaling pathways. Moreover, we used femtoSOC to demonstrate direct neural activation both in brain slices in vitro and in intact brains of living mice in vivo in a spatiotemporal-specific manner, indicating potential utility of femtoSOC.

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