Editors' ChoiceDiabetes

Light Control

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Science Signaling  28 Jun 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 179, pp. ec183
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4179ec183

Melanopsin is a photopigment that triggers an intracellular calcium increase in response to blue light. Ye et al. (see the Perspective by Chow and Boyden) took advantage of calcium regulation of the transcription factor NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) to design a synthetic signaling cascade that achieved light-inducible expression of transgenes under control of the NFAT promoter. Cells designed to display light-induced expression of glucagon-like peptide 1, a hormone involved in glucose homeostasis, were implanted into mice. Blue-light illumination of the implants attenuated glycemic excursions in type II diabetic mice. This approach of using light induction to provide tight regulation has potential applications in therapeutics and protein-expression technology.

H. Ye, M. Daoud-El Baba, R.-W. Peng, M. Fussenegger, A synthetic optogenetic transcription device enhances blood-glucose homeostasis in mice. Science 332, 1565–1568 (2011).[Abstract] [Full Text]

B. Y. Chow, E. S. Boyden, Synthetic physiology. Science 332, 1508–1509 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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