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Ultra light-sensitive and fast neuronal activation with the Ca2+-permeable channelrhodopsin CatCh

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Kleinlogel,  Sonja
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Feldbauer,  Katrin
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Dempski,  Robert E.
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Fotis,  Heike
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Wood,  Phillip G.
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Bamann,  Christian
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Bamberg,  Ernst
Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kleinlogel, S., Feldbauer, K., Dempski, R. E., Fotis, H., Wood, P. G., Bamann, C., et al. (2011). Ultra light-sensitive and fast neuronal activation with the Ca2+-permeable channelrhodopsin CatCh. Nature Neuroscience, 14(4), 513-518.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-D5F4-2
Abstract
The light-gated cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) has rapidly become an important tool in neuroscience, and its use is being considered in therapeutic interventions. Although wild-type and known variant ChR2s are able to drive light-activated spike trains, their use in potential clinical applications is limited by either low light sensitivity or slow channel kinetics. We present a new variant, calcium translocating channelrhodopsin (CatCh), which mediates an accelerated response time and a voltage response that is ~70-fold more light sensitive than that of wild-type ChR2. CatCh’s superior properties stem from its enhanced Ca2+ permeability. An increase in [Ca2+]i elevates the internal surface potential, facilitating activation of voltage-gated Na+ channels and indirectly increasing light sensitivity. Repolarization following light-stimulation is markedly accelerated by Ca2+-dependent BK channel activation. Our results demonstrate a previously unknown principle: shifting permeability from monovalent to divalent cations to increase sensitivity without compromising fast kinetics of neuronal activation. This paves the way for clinical use of light-gated channels.