Optical Control of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels

Stephanie Szobota, Catherine McKenzie, Harald Janovjak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the vibrant field of optogenetics, optics and genetic targeting are combined to commandeer cellular functions, such as the neuronal action potential, by optically stimulating light-sensitive ion channels expressed in the cell membrane. One broadly applicable manifestation of this approach are covalently attached photochromic tethered ligands (PTLs) that allow activating ligand-gated ion channels with outstanding spatial and temporal resolution. Here, we describe all steps towards the successful development and application of PTL-gated ion channels in cell lines and primary cells. The basis for these experiments forms a combination of molecular modeling, genetic engineering, cell culture, and electrophysiology. The light-gated glutamate receptor (LiGluR), which consists of the PTL-functionalized GluK2 receptor, serves as a model.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIon Channels
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
EditorsNikita Gamper
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62703-351-0
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Azobenzene
  • Glutamate receptor
  • LiGluR
  • Optical switch
  • Optochemical genetics
  • Optogenetics
  • Photochromic tethered ligand


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