Chemogenetic techniques allow selective manipulation of neurons by activating engineered actuator proteins with otherwise inert effector molecules. A recent study (Magnus et al. Science 2019;364:eaav5282) describes the coevolution of highly potent actuator-effector pairs based on a clinically approved antismoking drug. These tools allow selective excitation or inhibition of neurons in the living brain with high specificity and no detectable side-effects.
Keywords: chemogenetics; drug design; gene therapy; neuromodulation.
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