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Photoswitchable microtubule inhibitors enabling robust, GFP-orthogonal optical control over the tubulin cytoskeleton

By Li Gao, Yvonne Kraus, Maximilian Wranik, Tobias Weinert, Stefanie D. Pritzl, Joyce Meiring, Rebekkah Bingham, Natacha Olieric, Anna Akhmanova, Theobald Lohm├╝ller, Michel O. Steinmetz, Oliver Thorn-Seshold

Posted 28 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/716233

Here we present GFP-orthogonal optically controlled reagents for reliable and repetitive in cellulo modulation of microtubule dynamics and its dependent processes. Optically controlled reagents ('photopharmaceuticals') have developed into powerful tools for high-spatiotemporal-precision control of endogenous biology, with numerous applications in neuroscience, embryology, and cytoskeleton research. However, the restricted chemical domain of photopharmaceutical scaffolds has constrained their properties and range of applications. Styrylbenzothiazoles are an as-yet unexplored scaffold for photopharmaceuticals, which we now rationally design to feature potent photocontrol, switching microtubule cytoskeleton function off and on according to illumination conditions. We show more broadly that this scaffold is exceptionally chemically and biochemically robust as well as substituent-tolerant, and offers particular advantages for intracellular biology through a range of desirable photopharmaceutical and drug-like properties not accessible to the current classes of photoswitches. We expect that these reagents will find powerful applications enabling robust, high precision, optically controlled cell biological experimentation in cytoskeleton research and beyond.

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