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Science 338 (6108): 810-814

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Optical Control of Protein Activity by Fluorescent Protein Domains

Xin X. Zhou,1 Hokyung K. Chung,1 Amy J. Lam,1 Michael Z. Lin1,2,*

Abstract: Fluorescent proteins (FPs) are widely used as optical sensors, whereas other light-absorbing domains have been used for optical control of protein localization or activity. Here, we describe light-dependent dissociation and association in a mutant of the photochromic FP Dronpa, and we used it to control protein activities with light. We created a fluorescent light-inducible protein design in which Dronpa domains are fused to both termini of an enzyme domain. In the dark, the Dronpa domains associate and cage the protein, but light induces Dronpa dissociation and activates the protein. This method enabled optical control over guanine nucleotide exchange factor and protease domains without extensive screening. Our findings extend the applications of FPs from exclusively sensing functions to also encompass optogenetic control.

1 Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2 Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mzlin{at}stanford.edu

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