Optical control of a rhodopsin-based switch

Ben Ovryn, Xiang Li, Hillel Chiel, Stefan Herlitze

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A preliminary result supports the feasibility of using visible light to modulate the membrane potential of a cell. Human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293) were transfected with vertebrate rhodopsin and a gradient inward rectifying potassium (GIRK) channel. Whole cell patch clamp recordings of HEK293 cells exposed to 9-cis retinal showed that illumination increases the potassium current compared with recordings obtained in the dark. When combined with a rapid scanning device, this approach has the potential to control the activity of many neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
EventThree-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XI - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 27 2004Jan 29 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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