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P01 Novel photoactivation and photomanipulation strategies in neuroscience

Caged compounds are biomolecules that are rendered inactive by covalent attachment of a photolabile protecting group. They have been proven invaluable and elegant tools to study the mechanisms and kinetics of cellular signaling. A unique advantage is the precise spatio-temporal control of the release of the biomolecule by flash photolysis. The next frontiers will be two-photon (2P) uncaging, which greatly enhances the spatial resolution of the photorelease up to the µm-scale. Moreover, we will design caged compounds that become fluorescent on photolysis to quantify the release. Furthermore, we will synthesize ligands labeled with environmental-sensitive fluorophores that report changes in the polarity of the local microenvironment to follow and quantify binding to receptors. Finally, we will apply these principles also to aptamers that modulate the activity of ion channels or receptors.