Calcium-permeable channelrhodopsins for the photocontrol of calcium signalling

Rodrigo G. Fernandez Lahore, Niccolò P. Pampaloni, Enrico Peter, M.-Marcel Heim, Linda Tillert, Johannes Vierock, Johannes Oppermann, Jakob Walther, Dietmar Schmitz, David Owald, Andrew J. R. Plested, Benjamin R. Rost, Peter Hegemann

Channelrhodopsins are light-gated ion channels used to control excitability of designated cells in large networks with high spatiotemporal resolution. While ChRs selective for H+, Na+, K+ and anions have been discovered or engineered, Ca2+-selective ChRs have not been reported to date. Here, we analyse ChRs and mutant derivatives with regard to their Ca2+ permeability and improve their Ca2+ affinity by targeted mutagenesis at the central selectivity filter. The engineered channels, termed CapChR1 and CapChR2 for calcium-permeable channelrhodopsins, exhibit reduced sodium and proton conductance in connection with strongly improved Ca2+ permeation at negative voltage and low extracellular Ca2+ concentrations. In cultured cells and neurons, CapChR2 reliably increases intracellular Ca2+ concentrations. Moreover, CapChR2 can robustly trigger Ca2+ signalling in hippocampal neurons. When expressed together with genetically encoded Ca2+ indicators in Drosophila melanogaster mushroom body output neurons, CapChRs mediate light-evoked Ca2+ entry in brain explants.

Nat Commun. 13(7844) (2022)


cellular neuroscienceoptogeneticspermeation and transport
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