Dirk Trauner

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Locomotion relies on neural networks called central pattern generators (CPGs) that generate periodic motor commands for rhythmic movements. In vertebrates, the excitatory synaptic drive for inducing the spinal CPG can originate from either supraspinal glutamatergic inputs or from within the spinal cord. Here we identify a spinal input to the CPG that drives(More)
The ability to stimulate select neurons in isolated tissue and in living animals is important for investigating their role in circuits and behavior. We show that the engineered light-gated ionotropic glutamate receptor (LiGluR), when introduced into neurons, enables remote control of their activity. Trains of action potentials are optimally evoked and(More)
Neurons have ion channels that are directly gated by voltage, ligands and temperature but not by light. Using structure-based design, we have developed a new chemical gate that confers light sensitivity to an ion channel. The gate includes a functional group for selective conjugation to an engineered K(+) channel, a pore blocker and a photoisomerizable(More)
The precise regulation of protein activity is fundamental to life. The allosteric control of an active site by a remote regulatory binding site is a mechanism of regulation found across protein classes, from enzymes to motors to signaling proteins. We describe a general approach for manipulating allosteric control using synthetic optical switches. Our(More)
Light-activated ion channels provide a precise and noninvasive optical means for controlling action potential firing, but the genes encoding these channels must first be delivered and expressed in target cells. Here we describe a method for bestowing light sensitivity onto endogenous ion channels that does not rely on exogenous gene expression. The method(More)
Genetically targeted light-activated ion channels and pumps make it possible to determine the role of specific neurons in neuronal circuits, information processing and behavior. We developed a K+-selective ionotropic glutamate receptor that reversibly inhibits neuronal activity in response to light in dissociated neurons and brain slice and also reversibly(More)
Photochromic channel blockers provide a conceptually simple and convenient way to modulate neuronal activity with light. We have recently described a family of azobenzenes that function as tonic blockers of K(v) channels but require UV-A light to unblock and need to be actively switched by toggling between two different wavelengths. We now introduce(More)
Local anesthetics effectively suppress pain sensation, but most of these compounds act nonselectively, inhibiting activity of all neurons. Moreover, their actions abate slowly, preventing precise spatial and temporal control of nociception. We developed a photoisomerizable molecule, quaternary ammonium-azobenzene-quaternary ammonium (QAQ), that enables(More)
The abundance of the multimeric vacuolar ATP-dependent proton pump, V-ATPase, on the plasma membrane of tumor cells correlates with the invasiveness of the tumor cell, suggesting the involvement of V-ATPase in tumor metastasis. V-ATPase is hypothesized to create a proton efflux leading to an acidic pericellular microenvironment that promotes the activity of(More)
The arrangement of β cells within islets of Langerhans is critical for insulin release through the generation of rhythmic activity. A privileged role for individual β cells in orchestrating these responses has long been suspected, but not directly demonstrated. We show here that the β cell population in situ is operationally heterogeneous. Mapping of islet(More)