Optical control of GIRK channels using visible light†
G-protein coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels are an integral part of inhibitory signal transduction pathways, reducing the activity of excitable cells via hyperpolarization. They play crucial roles in processes such as cardiac output, cognition and the coordination of movement. Therefore, the precision control of GIRK channels is of critical importance. Here, we describe the development of the azobenzene containing molecule VLOGO (Visible Light Operated GIRK channel Opener), which activates GIRK channels in the dark and is promptly deactivated when illuminated with green light. VLOGO is a valuable addition to the existing tools for the optical control of GIRK channels as it circumvents the need to use potentially harmful UV irradiation. We therefore believe that VLOGO will be a useful research tool for studying GIRK channels in biological systems.