OPSINS: Tools of the trade

The optogenetic toolset is composed of genetically encoded molecules that, when targeted to specific neurons in the brain, enable the electrical activity of those neurons to be driven or silenced by light. 

Jul 1, 2011
Edward S. Boyden

Infographic: OPSINS: Tools of the trade
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KENNETH EWARD

The optogenetic toolset is composed of genetically encoded molecules that, when targeted to specific neurons in the brain, enable the electrical activity of those neurons to be driven or silenced by light. When these opsins are expressed in the lipid membranes of specific neurons and subsequently illuminated, the resulting ion transport changes the electrical potential of the neurons, and results in the targeted neurons being either activated or silenced in response to light, depending upon the identity of the ion being transported.

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