Scientific Publications

Photochemical activation of TRPA1 channels in neurons and animals.

Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKokel, D., Cheung CY, Mills R., Coutinho-Budd J., Huang L., Setola V., Sprague J., Jin S., Jin YN, Huang XP, Bruni G., Woolf CJ, Roth BL, Hamblin MR, Zylka MJ, Milan DJ, and Peterson RT
AbstractOptogenetics is a powerful research tool because it enables high-resolution optical control of neuronal activity. However, current optogenetic approaches are limited to transgenic systems expressing microbial opsins and other exogenous photoreceptors. Here, we identify optovin, a small molecule that enables repeated photoactivation of motor behaviors in wild-type zebrafish and mice. To our surprise, optovin's behavioral effects are not visually mediated. Rather, photodetection is performed by sensory neurons expressing the cation channel TRPA1. TRPA1 is both necessary and sufficient for the optovin response. Optovin activates human TRPA1 via structure-dependent photochemical reactions with redox-sensitive cysteine residues. In animals with severed spinal cords, optovin treatment enables control of motor activity in the paralyzed extremities by localized illumination. These studies identify a light-based strategy for controlling endogenous TRPA1 receptors in vivo, with potential clinical and research applications in nontransgenic animals, including humans.
Year of Publication2013
JournalNature chemical biology
Date Published (YYYY/MM/DD)2013/02/10
ISSN Number1552-4450
DOI10.1038/nchembio.1183
PubMedhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23396078?dopt=Abstract