Olof Idevall-Hagren

Ongoing projects:

Organelle communication via membrane contacts sites (MCS)

Extended-Synaptotagmins generate ER-PM contacts

Optogenetic tool development and implementation

Plasma membrane PI(4,5)P2 regulate insulin secretion

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Optogenetic tool development and implementation

Optogenetics is the modification and use of light-regulated proteins, typically isolated from plants or bacteria, to enable control of cellular processes by illumination. Expression of optogenetic tools has for example enabled light-dependent control of neurotransmitter release, insulin release, cell migration and transcription. We have previously used light-dependent protein-protein interactions to recruit lipid synthesizing and degrading enzymes to the plasma membrane, leading to the discovery that rapid changes in lipid levels can polarize cells and is sufficient to induce e.g. directed cell migration. Current work aims at using these optogenetic tools to generate inducible contacts between various cellular organelles and determine how this affects cell function. Since optogenetics is a non-invasive technique, we also work on adapting it to in vivo settings.

Figure 3: A. Drawing showing the principle of light-induced heterodimerization. One part of the optogenetic module (CIBN) can be anchored to any cellular membrane (target membrane) whereas the other part (CRY2) can be fused to a protein of interest (here a Red Fluorescent Protein). Blue-light illumination promotes the interaction between CIBN and CRY2 and causes redistribution of the protein of interest to the target membrane. B. Focal blue-light illumination (blue square) allows recruitment of a lipid-degrading enzyme (green) to a restricted part of the plasma membrane, resulting in corresponding loss of a specific lipid (red).


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Olof Idevall-Hagren