A tool kit of highly selective and sensitive genetically encoded neuropeptide sensors

Science. 2023 Nov 17;382(6672):eabq8173. doi: 10.1126/science.abq8173. Epub 2023 Nov 17.


Neuropeptides are key signaling molecules in the endocrine and nervous systems that regulate many critical physiological processes. Understanding the functions of neuropeptides in vivo requires the ability to monitor their dynamics with high specificity, sensitivity, and spatiotemporal resolution. However, this has been hindered by the lack of direct, sensitive, and noninvasive tools. We developed a series of GRAB (G protein-coupled receptor activation‒based) sensors for detecting somatostatin (SST), corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), cholecystokinin (CCK), neuropeptide Y (NPY), neurotensin (NTS), and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). These fluorescent sensors, which enable detection of specific neuropeptide binding at nanomolar concentrations, establish a robust tool kit for studying the release, function, and regulation of neuropeptides under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Cerebral Cortex / chemistry
  • Fluorescence
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans* / chemistry
  • Neurons* / chemistry
  • Neuropeptides* / analysis
  • Neuropeptides* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled* / agonists
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled* / genetics


  • Neuropeptides
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled