LILAC: enhanced actin imaging with an optogenetic Lifeact

Nat Methods. 2023 Feb;20(2):214-217. doi: 10.1038/s41592-022-01761-3. Epub 2023 Jan 30.


Lifeact is a popular peptide-based label of actin filaments in live cells. We have designed an improved Lifeact variant, LILAC, that binds to actin in light using the LOV2 protein. Light control allows the user to modulate actin labeling, enabling image analysis that leverages modulation for an enhanced view of F-actin dynamics in cells. Furthermore, the tool reduces actin perturbations and cell sickness caused by Lifeact overexpression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Actins*
  • Optogenetics*
  • Peptides / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Peptides