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Channelrhodopsins such as channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) can drive spiking with millisecond precision in a wide variety of cells, tissues and animal species. However, several properties of this protein have limited the precision of optogenetic control. First, when ChR2 is expressed at high levels, extra spikes (for example, doublets) can occur in response to a(More)
Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) has become an indispensable tool in neuroscience, allowing precise induction of action potentials with short light pulses. A limiting factor for many optophysiological experiments is the relatively small photocurrent induced by ChR2. We screened a large number of ChR2 point mutants and discovered a dramatic increase in photocurrent(More)
Here we describe bi-stable channelrhodopsins that convert a brief pulse of light into a stable step in membrane potential. These molecularly engineered probes nevertheless retain millisecond-scale temporal precision. Photocurrents can be precisely initiated and terminated with different colors of light, but operate at vastly longer time scales than(More)
We analyzed the nonlinear current-voltage relationships of the early conducting state of channelrhodopsin-2 expressed in Xenopus oocytes and human embryonic kidney cells with respect to changes of the electrochemical gradients of H(+), Na(+)/K(+), and Ca(2+)/Mg(2+). Several models were tested for wild-type ChR2 and mutations at positions E90, E123, H134,(More)
Channelrhodopsins are light-gated ion channels that mediate vision in phototactic green algae like Chlamydomonas. In neurosciences, channelrhodopsins are widely used to light-trigger action potentials in transfected cells. All known channelrhodopsins preferentially conduct H(+). Previous studies have indicated the existence of an early and a late conducting(More)
Channelrhodopsins (ChRs) of green algae such as Chlamydomonas are used as neuroscience tools to specifically depolarize cells with light. A crude model of the ChR2 photocycle has been recently established, but details of the photoreactions are widely unknown. Here, we present the photoreactions of a slow-cycling ChR2 mutant (step function rhodopsin), with(More)
The light-activated microbial ion channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is a powerful tool to study cellular processes with high spatiotemporal resolution in the emerging field of optogenetics. To customize the channel properties for optogenetic experiments, a detailed understanding of its molecular reaction mechanism is essential. Here, Glu-90, a key residue(More)
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