Retinal-based opsins are light-sensitive proteins. The photoisomerization reaction of these proteins has been studied outside cellular environments using ultrashort tailored light pulses. However, how living cell functions can be modulated via opsins by modifying fundamental nonlinear optical properties of light interacting with the retinal chromophore has remained largely unexplored. We report the use of chirped ultrashort near-infrared pulses to modulate light-evoked ionic current from Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in brain tissue, and consequently the firing pattern of neurons, by manipulating the phase of the spectral components of the light. These results confirm that quantum coherence of the retinal-based protein system, even in a living neuron, can influence its current output, and open up the possibilities of using designer-tailored pulses for controlling molecular dynamics of opsins in living tissue to selectively enhance or suppress neuronal function for adaptive feedback-loop applications in the future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)