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Researchers consider optogenetics to have enormous therapeutic potential. "It is feasible that light might be used to make blind people see or to treat agitated paralysis in Parkinson's patients," explains Klaus Gerwert.
Discovered by Peter Hegemann, channelrhodopsin-2 is the central light-activated protein in optogenetics. If this ion channel is applied to nerve cells, the channels can be opened by light, thus activating the cell.
Scientists - Channel - Understanding - Reactions - Protein
In the past scientists could not agree on how the channel is activated. "But it is precisely the understanding of the molecular reactions in the protein and of the ionic conductivity resulting thereof that is essential for optimising the protein for its potential applications," says Gerwert.
With joined forces, the researchers from Bochum and Berlin figured out how the channel is activated in detail. By combining time-resolved Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, biomolecular simulations,...
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