Chemical optogenetic modulation of inflammation and immunity
The immune system is an essential component of host defense against pathogens and is largely mediated by inflammatory molecules produced by immune cells, such as macrophages. These inflammatory mediators are regulated at the transcriptional level by chromatin-modifying enzymes including histone deacetylases (HDACs). Here we describe a strategy to regulate inflammation and immunity with photocontrolled HDAC inhibitors, which can be selectively delivered to target cells by UV irradiation to minimize off-target effects. We strategically photocaged the active moiety of an HDAC inhibitor and showed that mild UV irradiation leads to the selective release of the inhibitor in a spatiotemporal manner. This methodology was used to decrease the amount of pro-inflammatory mediators produced by a subpopulation of macrophages. Our approach could ultimately be used to control inflammation in vivo as a therapeutic for inflammatory diseases, while minimizing off-target effects to healthy tissues.