Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.517, No.2, 297-302, 2019
Membrane potential manipulation with visible flash lamp illumination of targeted microbeads
The electrical membrane potential (V-m) is a key dynamical variable of excitable membranes. Despite the tremendous success of optogenetic methods to modulate V-m with light, there are some shortcomings, such as the need of genetic manipulation and limited time resolution. Direct optical stimulation of gold nanoparticles targeted to cells is an attractive alternative because the absorbed energy heats the membrane and, thus, generates capacitive current sufficient to trigger action potentials [1, Carvalho-de-Souza et al., 2015]. However, focused laser light is required and precise location and binding of the nanoparticles cannot be assessed with a conventional microscope. We therefore examined a complementary method to manipulate V-m in a spatio-temporal fashion by non-focused visible flashlight stimulation (Xenon discharge lamp, 385-485 nm, similar to 500 mu s) of superparamagnetic microbeads. Flashlight stimulation of single beads targeted to cells resulted in transient inward currents under whole-cell patch-clamp control. The waveform of the current reflected the first time derivative of the local temperature induced by the absorbed light and subsequent heat dissipation. The maximal peak current as well as the temperature excursion scaled with the proximity to the plasma membrane. Transient illumination of light-absorbing beads, targeted to specific cellular sites via protein-protein interaction or direct micromanipulation, may provide means of rapid and spatially confined heating and electrical cell stimulation. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.