At the University of Alberta in Canada, researchers have devised a way of activating proteins inside a living cell using a beam of light. This will allow scientists to study how the activation of certain proteins affects the functionality of a cell.
The technological breakthrough consists of attaching a photocleavable protein, one that can be broken into two pieces when light shines on it, between a target protein and that protein’s inhibitor.
While the three components remain together, the target protein cannot function, but when light is directed at the cell, the photocleavable protein comes apart releasing the inhibitor and freeing the target protein.
The video below shows the photocleavable proteins in action:
Study in Nature Methods: Optogenetic control with a photocleavable protein, PhoCl…