CCIL member Kai Zhang , professor of biochemistry, developed a novel optogenetic technique, called GLIMPSe, to use light to control and stabilize the lifetime of intracellular proteins. Zhang stated that this method is a nontoxic and more efficient way to control protein levels than other methods that use chemicals that degrade proteins. His student, Payel Mondal, added that this method can have applications in cancer therapies by stabilizing cancer inhibitors. To date, the lab has modified a kinase and a phosphatase, and is working to further improve their control and techniques.
The paper “Repurposing protein degradation for optogenetic modulation of protein activities” reporting the new findings is available online from ACS Synthetic Biology.