Engineering of a light-gated potassium channel

Cristian Cosentino, Laura Alberio, Sabrina Gazzarrini, Marco Aquila, Edoardo Romano, Solei Cermenati, Paolo Zuccolini, Jan Petersen, Monica Beltrame, James L. Van Etten, John M. Christie, Gerhard Thiel, Anna Moroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The present palette of opsin-based optogenetic tools lacks a light-gated potassium (K+) channel desirable for silencing of excitable cells. Here, we describe the construction of a blue-light-induced K+ channel 1 (BLINK1) engineered by fusing the plant LOV2-Jα photosensory module to the small viral K+ channel Kcv. BLINK1 exhibits biophysical features of Kcv, including K+ selectivity and high single-channel conductance, but reversibly photoactivates in blue light. Opening of BLINK1 channels hyperpolarizes the cell to the K+ equilibrium potential. Ectopic expression of BLINK1 reversibly inhibits the escape response in light-exposed zebrafish larvae. BLINK1 therefore provides a single-component optogenetic tool that can establish prolonged, physiological hyperpolarization of cells at low light intensities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-710
Number of pages4
Issue number6235
StatePublished - May 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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