Using Light To Control Parts Of Our Cells

Using Light To Control Parts Of Our Cells

There are a lot of molecules, proteins, etc which are present throughout the body, and targeting them with drugs is not easy. To target, these types of proteins at a particular part of our body, there are a few special ways.

Out of these ways, one is Photopharmacology which investigates the use of light to switch the effect of drugs on and off.

Research teams from Jena, Munich, and New York got succeeded in controlling a component of the cell using light that was considered inaccessible previously.

Up to now, there are no drugs available that target actin, because the protein is found everywhere in the body, for example in large quantities in the muscles,” explains Prof. Hans-Dieter Arndt of Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. “Such a substance would, therefore, have little to no targeted effect. However, our new compounds only exert activity on actin in areas where cells are exposed to the appropriate light,” said Arndt.

The research group synthesized a variant of a natural substance that in its natural form stiffens the very dynamic actin cytoskeleton in the organism.

In the laboratory, the molecule was developed further so that its structure changes when violet light falls on it. This increases the stabilizing effect of this molecule.

After some time, or when a green light is turned on, the structure reverts to its inactive basic form and the natural dynamics is restored.

Now that the method has been shown to work, the research team are working to optimize these molecules further and study them in more depth

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