Scientists Say: Optogenetics

Apr 29,2019 — 6:30 am EST
an illustration of light hitting a nerve cell


Ed Boyden和麻省理工学院麦戈文学院


光遗传学是一种利用光来控制细胞活动的技术。它使用一种叫做通道视紫红质的分子。This molecule is found naturally in algae.它位于细胞膜中。在那里,it acts like a gate,letting charged particles in or out.这股粒子流可以使细胞向其他细胞传递信息。通灵视紫红质在光的作用下打开。It can turn a cell's activity up when the light turns on.在藻类中,the channel serves as a way to sense light.

Scientists can insert the genetic instructions for a channelrhodopsin into a cell they want to control.The cell then makes the channelrhodopsin molecule.然后将其插入自己的细胞膜。当科学家在附近发光时,通道视紫红质打开。That lets particles rush in or out.

Scientists now use optogenetics to control how cells function in the brains of mice,rats and monkeys.This helps the researchers better understand how the cells work.Scientists have been able to use this technique to vwin手机show how the brain controls饥饿.It has also let them learn how the tongue tastes the "flavor“水”。


科学家们还在其他器官中尝试光遗传学。-such as the heart.

This video helps to explain how optogenetics works.
Neuro Transmissions/YouTube


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algae单细胞生物,once considered plants (they aren't).As aquatic organisms,they grow in water.Like green plants,they depend on sunlight to make their food.

cellThe smallest structural and functional unit of an organism.Typically too small to see with the unaided eye,it consists of a watery fluid surrounded by a membrane or wall.Depending on their size,animals are made of anywhere from thousands to trillions of cells.Most organisms,such as yeasts,模具,细菌和一些藻类,are composed of only one cell.

细胞膜把一个单元的内部和外部分开的结构。Some particles are permitted to pass through the membrane.

光敏感通道蛋白一组分子中的任何一个在光的作用下打开,originally found in algae.Scientists insert the instructions for these molecules into other cells such as brain cells,and then can use light to control their activity.

geneticHaving to do with chromosomes,DNA and the genes contained within DNA.The field of science dealing with these biological instructions is known as genetics.在这个领域工作的人都是遗传学家。

membrane根据某些材料的尺寸或其他特征,阻止其通过(或流过)的屏障。Membranes are an integral part of filtration systems.Many serve that same function as the outer covering of cells or organs of a body.

分子An electrically neutral group of atoms that represents the smallest possible amount of a chemical compound.分子可以由单一类型的原子或不同类型的原子组成。For example,空气中的氧由两个氧原子组成(O2),但是水是由两个氢原子和一个氧原子组成的(H2o)。

光遗传学一种利用光更好地理解神经系统基因和细胞的技术,尤其是大脑。Recent research is using the technology to study other types of cells and tissues too.

器官(in biology) Various parts of an organism that perform one or more particular functions.例如,an ovary is an organ that makes eggs,大脑是一个能感知神经信号的器官,植物的根是吸收营养和水分的器官。