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Cl-out is a novel cooperative optogenetic tool for extruding chloride from neurons

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hannah Alfonsa, Professor Jeremy LakeyORCiD, Professor Robert Lightowlers, Professor Andrew Trevelyan



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Chloride regulation affects brain function in many ways, for instance, by dictating the GABAergic reversal potential, and thereby influencing neuronal excitability and spike timing. Consistent with this, there is increasing evidence implicating chloride in a range of neurological conditions. Investigations about these conditions, though, are made difficult by the limited range of tools available to manipulate chloride levels. In particular, there has been no way to actively remove chloride from neurons; we now describe an optogenetic strategy, 'Cl- out', to do exactly this. Cl-out achieves its effect by the cooperative action of two different component opsins: the proton pump, Archaerhodopsin and a chloride channel opsin. The removal of chloride happens when both are activated together, using Archaerhodopsin as an optical voltage clamp to provide the driving force for chloride removal through the concurrently opened, chloride channels. We further show that this novel optogenetic strategy can reverse an in vitro epileptogenic phenotype.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Alfonsa H, Lakey JH, Lightowlers RN, Trevelyan AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2016

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 17/11/2016

Acceptance date: 10/10/2016

Date deposited: 19/01/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13495


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