center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


Shining the light on complex cellular systems

August 7, 2013

In new work published in Molecular Biology of the Cell, Center investigator Chao Tang and colleagues have achieved rapid, reversible and titratable control of cellular protein localization for eight different organelles or positions within budding yeast.

Adapting the PhyB-PIF light-gated dimerization system, Yang et al. generated a library of PhyB constructs localizing to various subcellular addresses, allowing the recruitment of PIF-tagged proteins to PhyB-labeled subcellular compartments. This technique permits the dynamical activation/inactivation of proteins by recruiting them to or away from their normal site of action, providing insight into when and where a given protein's activity is necessary for function. This cellular optogenetic technology will be a powerful tool for achieving a better understanding of complex biological systems.