Runtime: 60 minutes
A Pioneer, Lee Che Ma - Channelrhodopsin - Netflix
Channelrhodopsins are a subfamily of retinylidene proteins (rhodopsins) that function as light-gated ion channels. They serve as sensory photoreceptors in unicellular green algae, controlling phototaxis: movement in response to light. Expressed in cells of other organisms, they enable light to control electrical excitability, intracellular acidity, calcium influx, and other cellular processes. Channelrhodopsin-1 (ChR1) and Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) from the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are the first discovered channelrhodopsins. Variants have been cloned from other algal species, and more are expected.
A Pioneer, Lee Che Ma - Function - Netflix
The natural (“wild-type”) ChR2 absorbs blue light with an absorption and action spectrum maximum at 480 nm. When the all-trans-retinal complex absorbs a photon, it induces a conformational change from all-trans to 13-cis-retinal. This change introduces a further one in the transmembrane protein, opening the pore to at least 6 Å. Within milliseconds, the retinal relaxes back to the all-trans form, closing the pore and stopping the flow of ions. Most natural channelrhodopsins are nonspecific cation channels, conducting H+, Na+, K+, and Ca2+ ions. Recently, anion-conducting channelrhodopsins have been discovered.
A Pioneer, Lee Che Ma - References - Netflix