Cell opto stimulation by intramembrane molecular switches
Life-machine interfacing has broad applications in regenerative and therapeutic medicine, robotics, and life-enhancing technology. There are several approaches to obtaining a functional abiotic/biotic interface that allows control by external stimuli, typically electrical or optical. In this communication, I will show that intramembrane molecular transducers have a potential in cell opto-stimulation, an alternative to both the genetic strategy and the covalent engineering. I will show that amphiphilic azobenzene photochromic molecule bears natural affinity for the plasma membrane and has a relatively long dwelling time. The chromophore is fully locked in water, but it recovers photoswitching dynamics once screened by the plasma phospholipid system. We demonstrate in-vitro the reversible photo modulation of the membrane potential in different cell types and discuss possible applications. These results represent a new rationale for designing photoresponsive systems that operate via simple non-covalent affinity to bio targets and can be of importance for future life-machine integration.
The work of Professor Lanzani has received 17000 citations and his h-index is 70.