System designed to enable the control of animal cells using light

Scientists have developed a system of design principles for controlling cells, tissues or entire limbs using silicon-based photostimulation. This opens up the potential for deep brain stimulation without the need for attaching wires.

© Juan Gaertner/Shutterstock.com

Being able to control biology is a great tool for both research and medical intervention. It has greatly contributed to our understanding of how cells communicate with each other and how intracellular processes are modulated. Although this can be achieved through genetic modification and electrical stimulation, there has been an ongoing endeavour to control biology with light. This goal was highly desired since it obviates the need for gene manipulation and the need for an electricity supply.

A team at Chicago University has published a system of design principles for working with silicon interfaces to control biology using light. They have demonstrated its ability to control individual organelles within cells, tissues, and even entire limbs. Limb movements were achieved in mice by shining light on silicon implants in the brain. This is the first time that behaviour has been controlled using light without prior genetic modification.

The system is based on light-induced processes at silicon-based interfaces, where the silicon and the biological targets have matched properties. The team have provided details of the best methods to craft the silicon devices depending on both the intended task and the scale. The precise properties needed in the silicon interface are determined by the process to be studied. For example, a silicon device that emits a tiny ionic current in response to light would be suited to control individual brain cells, whereas much stronger signals would be required in order to stimulate limbs.

Bozhi Tian, assistant professor in chemistry, explained:

We want this to serve as a map, where you can decide which problem you would like to study and immediately find the right material and method to address it".

Yuanwen Jiang, first author of the research paper highlighted the value of their system "We don't have answers to a number of intrinsic questions about biology, such as whether individual mitochondria communicate remotely through bioelectric signals. This set of tools could address such questions as well as pointing the way to potential solutions for nervous system disorders."

Since silicon is biocompatible, the system could be adapted to provide deep brain stimulation therapy.

Source

Kate Bass

Written by

Kate Bass

Kate graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a biochemistry B.Sc. degree. She also has a natural flair for writing and enthusiasm for scientific communication, which made medical writing an obvious career choice. In her spare time, Kate enjoys walking in the hills with friends and travelling to learn more about different cultures around the world.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Bass, Kate. (2018, August 23). System designed to enable the control of animal cells using light. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 17, 2021 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180502/System-designed-to-enable-the-control-of-animal-cells-using-light.aspx.

  • MLA

    Bass, Kate. "System designed to enable the control of animal cells using light". News-Medical. 17 September 2021. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180502/System-designed-to-enable-the-control-of-animal-cells-using-light.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Bass, Kate. "System designed to enable the control of animal cells using light". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180502/System-designed-to-enable-the-control-of-animal-cells-using-light.aspx. (accessed September 17, 2021).

  • Harvard

    Bass, Kate. 2018. System designed to enable the control of animal cells using light. News-Medical, viewed 17 September 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180502/System-designed-to-enable-the-control-of-animal-cells-using-light.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
Results from Phase 0/1 trial of ribociclib plus everolimus in patients with high-grade glioma announced