Optogenetic control of transcription in zebrafish

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50738. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050738. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


Light inducible protein-protein interactions are powerful tools to manipulate biological processes. Genetically encoded light-gated proteins for controlling precise cellular behavior are a new and promising technology, called optogenetics. Here we exploited the blue light-induced transcription system in yeast and zebrafish, based on the blue light dependent interaction between two plant proteins, blue light photoreceptor Cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) and the bHLH transcription factor CIB1 (CRY-interacting bHLH 1). We demonstrate the utility of this system by inducing rapid transcription suppression and activation in zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Cryptochromes / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / radiation effects
  • Light
  • Optogenetics / methods*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / radiation effects
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / radiation effects*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cryptochromes