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Fishy Heartbeat - optogenetic pacemaker

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Published on Nov 15, 2010

MPI-CBG group leader Jan Huisken combines optical tools and transgenic expression to control cardiac function in zebrafish

How is the heart rate controlled by cells? Where are the cardiac pacemaker cells located and can they be manipulated? This is what Jan Huisken, research group leader at the MPI-CBG, wanted to find out. Therefore, he genetically modified heart cells in zebrafish embryos, using a light gated pump and illuminated them with light patterns generated with a digital micromirror device. Like that, Huisken could optically control the heart rate and switch the zebrafish heart from healthy to diseased state.

The effect of illuminating the genetically manipulated fish heart can be appreciated in this high-speed recording. As soon as the heart is illuminated it stops beating and only starts again after the light is switched off.

In diesem Hochgeschwindigkeitsvideo lässt sich der Effekt der Beleuchtung auf das genetisch manipulierte Fischherz verfolgen. Das Herz kommt zum Stillstand, sobald es beleuchtet wird, und schlägt erst wieder, wenn das Licht erlischt.

A.B. Arrenberg, D.Y.R. Stainier, H. Baier, J. Huisken
Optogenetic control of cardiac function. Science (New York, NY) (2010) vol. 330 (6006) pp. 971-4
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content...

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