The microbial opsin family of optogenetic tools

Feng Zhang, Johannes Vierock, Ofer Yizhar, Lief E. Fenno, Satoshi Tsunoda, Arash Kianianmomeni, Matthias Prigge, Andre Berndt, John Cushman, Juergen Polle, Jon Magnuson, Peter Hegemann, Karl Deisseroth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The capture and utilization of light is an exquisitely evolved process. The single-component microbial opsins, although more limited than multicomponent cascades in processing, display unparalleled compactness and speed. Recent advances in understanding microbial opsins have been driven by molecular engineering for optogenetics and by comparative genomics. Here we provide a Primer on these light-activated ion channels and pumps, describe a group of opsins bridging prior categories, and explore the convergence of molecular engineering and genomic discovery for the utilization and understanding of these remarkable molecular machines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1446-1457
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - 23 Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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