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J. Biol. Chem. 286 (2): 1181-1188

© 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Light Modulation of Cellular cAMP by a Small Bacterial Photoactivated Adenylyl Cyclase, bPAC, of the Soil Bacterium Beggiatoa*{diamondsuit}

Manuela Stierl{ddagger}, Patrick Stumpf§, Daniel Udwari, Ronnie Gueta§, Rolf Hagedorn{ddagger}, Aba Losi||, Wolfgang Gärtner**, Linda Petereit{ddagger}{ddagger}, Marina Efetova{ddagger}{ddagger}, Martin Schwarzel{ddagger}{ddagger}, Thomas G. Oertner, Georg Nagel§, , and Peter Hegemann{ddagger}1

From the {ddagger}Experimental Biophysics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 42, D-10115 Berlin, Germany,
the §Department of Botany I, the University of Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2, D-97082 Würzburg, Germany,
the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Maulbeerstrasse 66, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland,
the ||Department of Physics, University of Parma, 43121 Parma, Italy,
the **Max-Planck-Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry, Postfach 1013 56, D-45410 Mülheim, Germany, and
the {ddagger}{ddagger}Department of Biology, Free University Berlin, Takustrasse 6, D-14195 Berlin, Germany

ABSTRACT Back to Top

Abstract: The recent success of channelrhodopsin in optogenetics has also caused increasing interest in enzymes that are directly activated by light. We have identified in the genome of the bacterium Beggiatoa a DNA sequence encoding an adenylyl cyclase directly linked to a BLUF (blue light receptor using FAD) type light sensor domain. In Escherichia coli and Xenopus oocytes, this photoactivated adenylyl cyclase (bPAC) showed cyclase activity that is low in darkness but increased 300-fold in the light. This enzymatic activity decays thermally within 20 s in parallel with the red-shifted BLUF photointermediate. bPAC is well expressed in pyramidal neurons and, in combination with cyclic nucleotide gated channels, causes efficient light-induced depolarization. In the Drosophila central nervous system, bPAC mediates light-dependent cAMP increase and behavioral changes in freely moving animals. bPAC seems a perfect optogenetic tool for light modulation of cAMP in neuronal cells and tissues and for studying cAMP-dependent processes in live animals.

Key Words: Bacterial Metabolism • Biophysics • Cyclic AMP (cAMP) • Cyclic Nucleotides • Enzyme Catalysis • Enzyme Inactivation • Neurobiology • Photoreceptors • Optogenetics

Received for publication September 20, 2010. Revision received October 26, 2010.

1 To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: 49-30-2093-8681; Fax: 49-30-2093-8520; E-mail: Hegemann{at}

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