Thursday, 3 October 2013

Critical tool for brain research derived from 'pond scum'

Chlamydomonas’ movements are controlled by light, and contain a light-sensitive protein called channelrhodopsin, which converts light into an electric current. Researchers hypothesised that light may also have the power to turn on and off electrochemical signalling from brain neurons. They selectively inserted light-sensitive proteins into target neurons, and were able to impart these neurons with light sensitivity so that they would be activated by light. The research has implications for incurable brain diseases.

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