This new tool is a true two-in-one solution. In future, it might help to study a number of diseases. Using a novel optogenetic tool, researchers have successfully controlled, reproduced and visualised serotonin receptor signals in neural cells. To this end, they modified a photosensitive membrane receptor in the eye, called melanopsin. The Press Department of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum reports on their news portal.
As a result, they were able to switch the receptor on and off using light; it also acted like a sensor indicating via fluorescence if specific signalling pathways in the cell had been activated. The sensor was, moreover, specifically designed to migrate to those domains in the neural cells that are sensitive to the neurotransmitter serotonin. The team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, headed by Dennis Eickelbeck and Stefan Herlitze, described its project in the journal Nature Communications Biology on 14 February 2019.