Optogenetic control of intracellular signaling pathways

Kai Zhang, Bianxiao Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cells employ a plethora of signaling pathways to make their life-and-death decisions. Extensive genetic, biochemical, and physiological studies have led to the accumulation of knowledge about signaling components and their interactions within signaling networks. These conventional approaches, although useful, lack the ability to control the spatial and temporal aspects of signaling processes. The recently emerged optogenetic tools open exciting opportunities by enabling signaling regulation with superior temporal and spatial resolution, easy delivery, rapid reversibility, fewer off-target side effects, and the ability to dissect complex signaling networks. Here we review recent achievements in using light to control intracellular signaling pathways and discuss future prospects for the field, including integration of new genetic approaches into optogenetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-100
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Cryptochrome
  • Dronpa
  • Intracellular signaling pathways
  • LOV
  • Light-induced protein-protein interaction
  • Oligomerization
  • Optogenetics
  • Photoactivatable proteins
  • Phytochrome
  • Signal transduction
  • UVR8

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Optogenetic control of intracellular signaling pathways'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this