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Article

Light-Regulated Transcription of a Mitochondrial-Targeted K+ Channel

1
Membrane Biophysics and Center for Synthetic Biology, Technische Universität Darmstadt, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
2
Ernst-Berl-Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, Technische Universität Darmstadt, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
3
Department of Biosciences and CNR IBF-Mi, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(11), 2507; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9112507
Received: 22 September 2020 / Revised: 15 November 2020 / Accepted: 17 November 2020 / Published: 19 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Organelle Function)
The inner membranes of mitochondria contain several types of K+ channels, which modulate the membrane potential of the organelle and contribute in this way to cytoprotection and the regulation of cell death. To better study the causal relationship between K+ channel activity and physiological changes, we developed an optogenetic platform for a light-triggered modulation of K+ conductance in mitochondria. By using the light-sensitive interaction between cryptochrome 2 and the regulatory protein CIB1, we can trigger the transcription of a small and highly selective K+ channel, which is in mammalian cells targeted into the inner membrane of mitochondria. After exposing cells to very low intensities (≤0.16 mW/mm2) of blue light, the channel protein is detectable as an accumulation of its green fluorescent protein (GFP) tag in the mitochondria less than 1 h after stimulation. This system allows for an in vivo monitoring of crucial physiological parameters of mitochondria, showing that the presence of an active K+ channel causes a substantial depolarization compatible with the effect of an uncoupler. Elevated K+ conductance also results in a decrease in the Ca2+ concentration in the mitochondria but has no impact on apoptosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: optogenetic platform; mitochondrial K+ channel; mitochondrial Ca2+ manipulation; apoptosis optogenetic platform; mitochondrial K+ channel; mitochondrial Ca2+ manipulation; apoptosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Engel, A.J.; Winterstein, L.-M.; Kithil, M.; Langhans, M.; Moroni, A.; Thiel, G. Light-Regulated Transcription of a Mitochondrial-Targeted K+ Channel. Cells 2020, 9, 2507. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9112507

AMA Style

Engel AJ, Winterstein L-M, Kithil M, Langhans M, Moroni A, Thiel G. Light-Regulated Transcription of a Mitochondrial-Targeted K+ Channel. Cells. 2020; 9(11):2507. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9112507

Chicago/Turabian Style

Engel, Anja J., Laura-Marie Winterstein, Marina Kithil, Markus Langhans, Anna Moroni, and Gerhard Thiel. 2020. "Light-Regulated Transcription of a Mitochondrial-Targeted K+ Channel" Cells 9, no. 11: 2507. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9112507

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