Today’s sophisticated biological research requires new tools to take control over complex cell processes and behavior. Find out how Lumos' throughput, flexibility, and control provide new avenues for in vitro research and discovery.
By nature, neural networks are complex biological systems. The Maestro has been an invaluable research tool for exploration of neural networks in vitro, yet the complexity of these systems still remains. Optogenetic techniques allow researchers to genetically target and control specific cell types within a neural population. Using Lumos, those cells can be independently stimulated while simultaneous recording of real-time neural activity occurs on the Maestro.
New advances in neuroscience applications are in reach through Lumos’ ability to deliver specific light–wavelength, intensity and duration–to multiple wells simultaneously—bringing a high-throughput, flexible benchtop approach to optogenetics.
This control facilitates a deeper understanding of the functional network activity of neurons, and in turn, neurological disease research.
Light-activated gene expression has been employed in diverse research areas for decades. More recently, the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and the enhanced flexibility it has brought to in vitro assays has focused additional attention on in vitro molecular biology approaches. As an example, the Zhang lab at Harvard University has developed Light-inducible Transcription Effectors (LITEs) that promote targeted gene expression when exposed to light (Nature. 2013 Aug 22;500(7463):472-6).
The precise control optogenetics provides offers benefits for the assessment of biochemical and intracellular signalling pathways as well. To date, many cellular pathways and functions have been studied incorporating optogenetic control including the MAPK, and PI3K pathways, Rho family GTPase activation, apoptosis, and protein trafficking. For all of these and more, Lumos provides a flexible, high-throughput platform such that any pathway or interaction can be precisely controlled for in-depth evaluation.
More recently, beginning in 2015 with publications from the University of Tokyo and Duke University, optogenetics has been used to provide additional control to the gene editing technique CRISPR. Results of these initial experiments concluded that optogenetic control of CRISPR/Cas9 is not only possible, but repeatable and reversible as well.