Photoactivation of caged biomolecules has become a powerful approach to study cellular signalling events. Here we report a method for anchoring and uncaging biomolecules exclusively at the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by employing a photocleavable, sulfonated coumarin derivative. The novel caging group allows quantifying the reaction progress and efficiency of uncaging reactions in a live-cell microscopy setup, thereby greatly improving the control of uncaging experiments. We synthesized arachidonic acid derivatives bearing the new negatively charged or a neutral, membrane-permeant coumarin caging group to locally induce signalling either at the plasma membrane or on internal membranes in β-cells and brain slices derived from C57B1/6 mice. Uncaging at the plasma membrane triggers a strong enhancement of calcium oscillations in β-cells and a pronounced potentiation of synaptic transmission while uncaging inside cells blocks calcium oscillations in β-cells and causes a more transient effect on neuronal transmission, respectively. The precise subcellular site of arachidonic acid release is therefore crucial for signalling outcome in two independent systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy