Light-inducible receptor tyrosine kinases that regulate neurotrophin signalling

Ki Young Chang, Doyeon Woo, Hyunjin Jung, Sangkyu Lee, Sungsoo Kim, Joungha Won, Taeyoon Kyung, Hyerim Park, Nury Kim, Hee Won Yang, Jae Yong Park, Eun Mi Hwang, Daesoo Kim, Won Do Heo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are a family of cell-surface receptors that have a key role in regulating critical cellular processes. Here, to understand and precisely control RTK signalling, we report the development of a genetically encoded, photoactivatable Trk (tropomyosin-related kinase) family of RTKs using a light-responsive module based on Arabidopsis thaliana cryptochrome 2. Blue-light stimulation (488-nm) of mammalian cells harbouring these receptors robustly upregulates canonical Trk signalling. A single light stimulus triggers transient signalling activation, which is reversibly tuned by repetitive delivery of blue-light pulses. In addition, the light-provoked process is induced in a spatially restricted and cell-specific manner. A prolonged patterned illumination causes sustained activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and promotes neurite outgrowth in a neuronal cell line, and induces filopodia formation in rat hippocampal neurons. These light-controllable receptors are expected to create experimental opportunities to spatiotemporally manipulate many biological processes both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4057
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 4
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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