Peter Hegemann part of project team awarded 2020 ERC Synergy GrantNov 5, 2020 | ERC Press release
A new generation of optogenetic tools for research and medicine
“I congratulate the researchers and especially Mr. Hegemann very warmly on this great success. Synergy Grants are awarded for projects that substantially expand the frontiers of existing knowledge. This applies to Hegemann’s research without a doubt. The development of light-controlled G-protein coupled receptors can revolutionize our understanding of the interaction of complex cellular processes,” says Prof. Peter A. Frensch, Vice President for Research at Humboldt University of Berlin.
The project funded by the ERC Synergy Grant “Switchable rhodOpsins in Life Sciences” – SOL is based on so-called bistable rhodopsins. Rhodopsins belong to the class of so-called G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). There are hundreds of different GPCRs activating a variety of different G proteins and they play an important role in cell signaling in almost any cell type. Not surprisingly, they are the targets of a large variety of pharmaceuticals. Rhodopsins are light activated GPCRs, best known for their role as light receptors in the retina of the human eye. The vision receptors in our eyes lose their light-sensor, the vitamin A derivate retinal, upon activation and must be “re-assembled” in order to accept photons (light) again. Bistable rhodopsins however, keep their retinal and can in principle be activated and de-activated by multiple flashes of light without requiring any assembly, acting as true biological “switches”.
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Source: News from 05.11.20 posted by Abteilung Kommunikation, Marketing und Veranstaltungsmanagement