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 The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>