Light-sensitive small molecules can be applied to control cell signaling with enhanced spatiotemporal precision, and their accuracy in intact tissues like the brain can be further enhanced by tethering them to genetically encoded protein tags. Coined “photopharmacology,” this approach can acutely manipulate neurotransmission through specific receptor pathways. However, it remains underutilized in neuroscience due to a lack of hardware to deliver fluids and light to rodent deep-brain structures during freely moving behavior. This review will cover the most recent advances in tethered photopharmacology in relation to the multifunctional neural implants that will aid their use in vivo. The merger of these fields will provide new methodologies for researchers to manipulate signaling pathways and neural circuits with previously unattainable resolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery