Optogenetic Reporters for Cell Biology and Neuroscience
The discipline of optogenetics encompasses a range of optical methods to control and visualize genetically targeted biological events in a relatively non-invasive and spatiotemporally precise manner. Optogenetics requires advanced optical instruments, but the most important requirement is genetically encodable molecular tools to serve as the interface between light and biology. Optogenetic reporters are a growing toolset of genetically encoded proteins that enable subcellular fluorescence imaging of various biophysical processes in living tissues. This chapter provides an overview of the strategies that have been exploited to develop optogenetic reporters using engineered fluorescent proteins. Examples are provided of reporters of cell cycle, programmed cell death, analyte fluctuations, enzyme activities and membrane potential. A particular emphasis is placed on those reporters that have been used most extensively in neuroscience applications.