Muscular optogenetics: Controlling muscle functions with light

Toshifumi Asano, Toru Ishizuka, Hiromu Yawo

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Traditionally, artificial contractions of muscles have been induced electrically, mechanically or pharmacologically to investigated their functional characteristics. Although simple and convenient, these techniques are generally non-specific, non-uniform and invasive. To improve the spatiotemporal resolution and to reduce the invasiveness, the optogenetic approach using light-sensitive proteins has attracted attention as a new method. Recent examples include using channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated ion channel from a green alga, for optical pacing of cardiomyocytes, the optical control of C2C12 myoblast-derived myotubes and the optically induced maturation of cultured myotubes. The optical manipulation of muscle activities would facilitate in vitro studies of muscle contraction through manipulating/modulating specific biological processes during myogenic development. It has potential therapeutic applications for producing light-sensitive human muscle substitutes for muscle weakness such as muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It could also enable the development of a wireless driving source of muscle-powered actuators/microdevices. Here, this chapter reviews a general overview of the state of research and future prospects and challenges of optogenetics for muscle cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMuscle Cells
    Subtitle of host publicationDevelopment, Disorders and Regeneration
    PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9781624172335
    Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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