Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light in sight

08.05.2015

Scientists from the Universities of Bern in Switzerland and Göttingen in Germany have succeeded in restoring vision to blind mice. They've developed a molecular light switch as a potential therapy for acquired blindness.

Hereditary blindness caused by a progressive degeneration of the light-sensing cells in the eye, the photoreceptors, affects millions of people worldwide. Although the light-sensing cells are lost, cells in deeper layers of the retina, which normally cannot sense light, remain intact.


The retina of a blind mouse treated with the new approach: A «light antenna» has been attached to the red cells.

Sonja Kleinlogel

Scientists from Bethe Universities of Bern, Switzerland, and Göttingen, Germany, now introduced a new light-sensing protein into the surviving retina cells, thus turning them into «replacement photoreceptors». The results were published in PLoS Biology.

«The question was: Can we design light-activatable proteins that gate specific signaling pathways in specific cells?», Dr. Sonja Kleinlogel, corresponding author of the paper whose research group is based at the University of Bern, says.

«In other words, can the natural signaling pathways of the target cells be retained and just modified in a way to be turned on by light instead of a neurotransmitter released from a preceding neuron?»

The scientists molecularly modified the cells that normally would have received direct information from the photoreceptors in a way that they reacted to light stimuli instead of chemical signals, thus turning them into replacement photoreceptors. Integrating a new «light antenna» into the surviving cells has the advantage that signal computation of the retina is maximally utilized.

«Using optical imaging of neuronal activity in the treated mice, we showed that these replacement photoreceptors were able to activate the visual cortex – the part of the cortex that analyzes visual signals – more strongly again», co-authors Prof. Dr. Siegrid Löwel and Dr. Justyna Pielecka-Fortuna, neuroscientists at the University of Göttingen, say.

The result: The mice were able to see under daylight conditions, react to visual stimuli and learn visually triggered behaviors. «The new therapy can potentially restore sight in patients suffering from any kind of photoreceptor degeneration», Dr. Kleinlogel explains.

According to her, the major improvement of the new approach is that patients should be able to see under normal daylight conditions without the need for light intensifiers or image converter goggles. «However, it will take at least another two or three years before the new light antenna can be tested in the clinical setting», she adds.

Furthermore, the novel principle opens a whole palette of new possibilities to potentially treat conditions such as pain, depression and epilepsy.

Publication details:

Van Wyk M, Pielecka-Fortuna J, Löwel S & Kleinlogel S. Restoring the ON-switch in blind retinas: Opto-mGluR6, a next-generation, cell-tailored optogenetic tool. PLoS Biology, 2015 (in press), doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.pbio.1002143

Weitere Informationen:

http://tinyurl.com/lichtantenne

Nathalie Matter | Universität Bern
Further information:
http://www.unibe.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>