All Publications

  • Optogenetic Control of Molecular Motors and Organelle Distributions in Cells CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY Duan, L., Che, D., Zhang, K., Ong, Q., Guo, S., Cui, B. 2015; 22 (5): 671-682


    Intracellular transport and distribution of organelles play important roles in diverse cellular functions, including cell polarization, intracellular signaling, cell survival, and apoptosis. Here, we report an optogenetic strategy to control the transport and distribution of organelles by light. This is achieved by optically recruiting molecular motors onto organelles through the heterodimerization of Arabidopsis thaliana cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) and its interacting partner CIB1. CRY2 and CIB1 dimerize within subseconds upon exposure to blue light, which requires no exogenous ligands and low intensity of light. We demonstrate that mitochondria, peroxisomes, and lysosomes can be driven toward the cell periphery upon light-induced recruitment of kinesin, or toward the cell nucleus upon recruitment of dynein. Light-induced motor recruitment and organelle movements are repeatable, reversible, and can be achieved at subcellular regions. This light-controlled organelle redistribution provides a new strategy for studying the causal roles of organelle transport and distribution in cellular functions in living cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.04.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000355153900015

  • U0126 Protects Cells against Oxidative Stress Independent of Its Function as a MEK Inhibitor ACS CHEMICAL NEUROSCIENCE Ong, Q., Guo, S., Zhang, K., Cui, B. 2015; 6 (1): 130-137


    U0126 is a potent and selective inhibitor of MEK1 and MEK2 kinases. It has been widely used as an inhibitor for the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway with over 5000 references on the NCBI PubMed database. In particular, U0126 has been used in a number of studies to show that inhibition of the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway protects neuronal cells against oxidative stress. Here, we report that U0126 can function as an antioxidant that protects PC12 cells against a number of different oxidative-stress inducers. This protective effect of U0126 is independent of its function as a MEK inhibitor, as several other MEK inhibitors failed to show similar protective effects. U0126 reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells. We further demonstrate that U0126 is a direct ROS scavenger in vitro, and the oxidation products of U0126 exhibit fluorescence. Our finding that U0126 is a strong antioxidant signals caution for its future usage as a MEK inhibitor and for interpreting some previous results.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/cn500288n

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348338900016

    View details for PubMedID 25544156