Electrical pacing is the current gold standard for investigation of mammalian cardiac electrical conduction systems as well as for treatment of certain cardiac pathologies. However, this method requires an invasive surgical procedure to implant the pacing electrodes. Recently, optogenetic pacing has been developed as an alternative, non-invasive method for heartbeat pacing in animals. It induces heartbeats by shining pulsed light on transgene-generated microbial opsins which in turn activate light gated ion channels in animal hearts. However, commonly used opsins, such as channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), require short light wavelength stimulation (475 nm), which is strongly absorbed and scattered by tissue. Here, we expressed recently engineered red-shifted opsins, ReaChR and CsChrimson, in the heart of a well-developed animal model, Drosophila melanogaster, for the first time. Optogenetic pacing was successfully conducted in both ReaChR and CsChrimson flies at their larval, pupal, and adult stages using 617 nm excitation light pulse, enabling a much deeper tissue penetration compared to blue stimulation light. A customized high speed and ultrahigh resolution OCM system was used to non-invasively monitor the heartbeat pacing in Drosophila. Compared to previous studies on optogenetic pacing of Drosophila, higher penetration depth of optogenetic excitation light was achieved in opaque late pupal flies. Lower stimulating power density is needed for excitation at each developmental stage of both groups, which improves the safety of this technique for heart rhythm studies.
Jing Men, Airong Li, Jason Jerwick, Rudolph E. Tanzi, and Chao Zhou, "Cardiac optogenetic pacing in drosophila melanogaster using red-shifted opsins (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10052, Optogenetics and Optical Manipulation, 100520A (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253397.5371339443001.
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