Optical control of calcium switches that orchestrate fast signaling in the brain. Cytoplasmic increases in calcium trigger enzymatic cascades responsible for synaptic plasticity in the brain. However, to date, genetically-encoded approaches to control calcium abundance, and the cognate enzymes calcium activates, are lacking. We will endow CaMKII, a kinase activated by calcium that is essential to memory formation, with optical control through unnatural amino acids. We also aim to enable rapid changes in cytoplasmic calcium through light-activated calcium-selective ion channels. By deploying these tools in neurons and their dendrites, this project aims to elucidate dynamic aspects of synaptic signalling in space and time.


Dr. Andrew Plested (FMP Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Peter Hegemann (HU Berlin)