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Photosensory Receptors & Signal Transduction
Gordon Research Conference

Natural and Synthetic Photoreceptor Systems: From Microbes to Man

Dates

January 24-29, 2016

Location

Hotel Galvez
Galveston, TX

Organizers

Chair:
John Christie

Vice Chair:
Katrina Forest

Meeting Description

Light-sensing mechanisms are widespread throughout nature, impacting lifecycles in all kingdoms of life. Understanding how different photoreceptor systems function to orchestrate numerous biological processes ranging from mammalian vision to plant growth to bacterial pathogenicity requires the integration of a diverse range of methodologies, masteries and disciplines. Uniting these approaches has been instrumental in developing new optically based technologies for dissecting neural networks and behavioral disorders, restoring vision, controlling cellular pathways at unprecedented spatial-temporal resolution, and engineering gene circuits for biotechnology applications. We anticipate that the scientific discussions, research presentations and informal interactions among the diverse audiences of this GRC and associated GRS will advance our understanding of the mechanisms and biological functions of naturally occurring photoreceptor systems from microbes to man. The scientific exchange between basic and applied research will also lead to further development of engineered photosystems for clinical and biotechnological applications. Combined with the GRS, this integrative format will ensure networking and mentoring of junior researchers and foster their involvement in carrying the field into the future. Space is reserved within the GRC program for talks from junior researchers, selected from submitted abstracts, to present breakthrough findings.

A limited number of bursary funds are available to offset registration costs for students and postdocs. We encourage all qualified and interested junior scientists to apply, regardless of gender, race, or age. Limited funds are also available to support attendees requiring child-care assistance. If costs are a hindrance please make an informal enquiry with the Chairs after application and/or registration.

Related Meeting

This GRC was held in conjunction with the "Photosensory Receptors & Signal Transduction" Gordon Research Seminar (GRS). Refer to the associated GRS program page for more information.

Contributors

Final Meeting Program

Sunday
4:00 pm - 8:00 pmArrival and Check-in
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmKeynote Session: Light-Gated Ion Channels: Function and Application
The advent of optogenetics has come primarily from research on light-activated ion channels. Channel rhodopsins (ChRs) have been studied widely at the biophysical and more recently at the structural level. Peter Hegemann will lead this opening session and pioneered the earliest studies of ChR, first demonstrating that it functions as a light-activated cation channel. ChR was later exploited to control neural activity by light. This session is supplemented with two groundbreaking advances in generating alternative tools for controlling neural activity with possible applications in medicine.
Discussion Leader: Peter Hegemann (Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Germany)
7:40 pm - 7:50 pmIntroduction by Discussion Leader
7:50 pm - 8:10 pmEhud Isacoff (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
"Engineering Photoreception into Neurotransmitter Receptors"
8:10 pm - 8:20 pmDiscussion
8:20 pm - 8:40 pmAnna Moroni (University of Milan, Italy)
"Engineering and Characterization of a Light-Gated Potassium Channel"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:20 pmPeter Hegemann (Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Germany)
"Enzyme-Rhodopsins"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
Monday
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
8:30 amGroup Photo
9:00 am - 12:30 pmOpsin Structure and Diversity
Visual and sensory rhodopsins have been studied extensively from the biophysical, structural, physiological and photobiological perspectives. This session integrates these aspects of this diverse photoreceptor class from microbial to mammalian systems. The session will also extend this focus to novel tools generated from opsin research to create artificial reporters of membrane excitability.
Discussion Leader: Hideki Kandori (Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan)
9:00 am - 9:10 amIntroduction by Discussion Leader
9:10 am - 9:30 amJohn Spudich (University of Texas Medical School at Houston, USA)
"Diversity of Sensory Rhodopsin Mechanisms"
9:30 am - 9:40 amDiscussion
9:40 am - 10:00 amOliver Ernst (University of Toronto, Canada)
"Structure and Dynamics of Rhodopsin"
10:00 am - 10:10 amDiscussion
10:10 am - 10:25 amHoi Ling Luk (Bowling Green State University, USA)
"Molecular Basis for Chromophore Selection in Animal Rhodopsins"
10:25 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 am - 11:00 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:20 amRobert Lucas (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)
"Signaling Functions and Optogenetic Applications of Animal Opsins"
11:20 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amAdam Cohen (Harvard University, USA)
"Photocycle Control of Microbial Rhodopsins for Voltage Imaging"
11:50 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pmHideki Kandori (Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan)
"Mechanism of Active Ion-Transport by Light"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
3:00 pm - 4:00 pmPower Hour
The GRC Power Hour is an optional informal gathering open to all meeting participants. It is designed to help address the challenges women face in science and support the professional growth of women in our communities by providing an open forum for discussion and mentoring.
Organizers: Silvia Braslavsky (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, Germany) and Aba Losi (University of Parma, Italy)
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmResponses to UV Irradiation
UV irradiation can be damaging to mammals, but in plants and algae this light quality can be utilized, through unique mechanisms, to control developmental processes in addition to stimulating photoprotection responses. This session will integrate diverse researchers in the field to discuss the different mechanisms that govern UV perception and signaling responses from biophysical, structural and molecular levels.
Discussion Leader: Roman Ulm (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmIntroduction by Discussion Leader
7:40 pm - 8:00 pmTakahiro Yamashita (Kyoto University, Japan)
"Molecular Properties of a Universal UV-Light Sensitive Opsin in Vertebrates"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:25 pmAlfred Batschauer (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany)
"Function and Evolution of DASH-Type Cryptochromes in Fungi"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmXiaojing Yang (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
"Molecular Mechanism of UV-B Perception in UVR8: A Dynamic Crystallographic Study"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmRoman Ulm (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
"UV-B Photoreceptor Signaling in Plants"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
Tuesday
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmLOV to BLUF: Flavoprotein Photosensors
Flavin-based blue-light receptors are widespread throughout nature, being highly prevalent in bacteria, fungi and plants. Two versatile flavin-binding photosensory motifs have been identified and this session focuses on comparing these photoreceptor proteins from plants and microbes, spanning the biophysical to the physiological. The session will also incorporate artificially engineered photosensors that place biological processes under spatio-temporal control.
Discussion Leader: Kevin Gardner (CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, USA)
9:00 am - 9:10 amIntroduction by Discussion Leader
9:10 am - 9:30 amMasamitsu Wada (Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan)
"How to Raise the Motive Force for Chloroplast Relocation Movement"
9:30 am - 9:40 amDiscussion
9:40 am - 10:00 amAba Losi (University of Parma, Italy)
"A Home-Made FRET Couple Composed of Flavin- and Bilin-Binding Photoreceptors"
10:00 am - 10:10 amDiscussion
10:10 am - 10:25 amJohn Kennis (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
"Photoactivation Mechanisms of Blue-Light Receptors Assessed Through Time-Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy"
10:25 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 am - 11:00 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:10 amBrian Zoltowski (Southern Methodist University, USA)
"Integrating Stress Response Pathways with a Little LOV"
11:10 am - 11:15 amDiscussion
11:15 am - 11:25 amOskar Berntsson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
"Resolving Signal Transduction in Photosensory Histidine Kinases by X-Ray Solution Scattering"
11:25 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amLukas Kapitein (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
"Using Light to Dissect and Direct Intracellular Transport"
11:50 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pmKevin Gardner (CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, USA)
"Better Tools Through Synergy: Necessity of Integrating Basic and Applied Science for Optogenetics"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmCryptochrome Structure and Function
Cryptochrome was first identified in plants, but is also integral to circadian entrainment in mammals and insects. The primary photochemical events associated with these photoreceptors are still not fully resolved nor is their responsiveness to magnetic fields. This session will focus on structural and functional aspects of the cryptochrome class of UV/blue light receptor in different organisms.
Discussion Leader: Brian Crane (Cornell University, USA)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmIntroduction by Discussion Leader
7:40 pm - 8:00 pmMargaret Ahmad (Pierre and Marie Curie University, France)
"Cryptochrome Photoreceptor Mechanism of Activation"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:30 pmTodd Holmes (University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, USA)
"Cryptochrome-Mediated Spectral Responses"
8:30 pm - 8:40 pmDiscussion
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmSophie Franz (Philipps University Marburg, Germany)
"Insights into the Structure and Functionality of CraCRY"
8:50 pm - 8:55 pmDiscussion
8:55 pm - 9:05 pmAlex Jones (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)
"Cryptochrome-Dependent Magnetic Field Effects on Neuronal Activity"
9:05 pm - 9:10 pmDiscussion
9:10 pm - 9:25 pmBrian Crane (Cornell University, USA)
"Activation Mechanisms of Drosophila Cryptochrome"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
Wednesday
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmBilin-Based Photosensory Systems
Bilins are heme-derived natural products widespread in nature, which intrinsically absorb red light. They are tuned to harvest a broad spectral range of visible light and to transfer excitation energy to photosynthetic reaction centers when acting as chromophores of phycobiliprotein antennae. As chromophores of phytochromes and cyanobacteriochromes, bilins function as photoactive switches in protein environments that tune bilin spectra, facilitate reversible bilin photoisomerization, and modulate stability of the isomerized photoproduct. This session explores the spectral diversity, evolution, structure and synthetic biological applications of representative members of this diverse superfamily found in plants, algae, eubacteria, fungi and heterokonts.
Discussion Leader: J. Clark Lagarias (University of California, Davis, USA)
9:00 am - 9:10 amIntroduction by Discussion Leader
9:10 am - 9:30 amSarah Mathews (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia)
"Molecular Evolution of Phytochrome Signaling Pathways in Land Plants"
9:30 am - 9:40 amDiscussion
9:40 am - 10:00 amRichard Vierstra (Washington University in St. Louis, USA)
"Atomic Perspectives on Phytochrome Photoactivation"
10:00 am - 10:10 amDiscussion
10:10 am - 10:25 amEmina Stojkovic (Northeastern Illinois University, USA)
"Structure and Function of Phytochromes in Stigmatella aurantiaca: Light-Controlled Morphogenesis of Myxobacteria"
10:25 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 am - 11:00 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:10 amHeikki Takala (University of Helsinki, Finland)
"Light-Induced Changes and Dimerization of Deinococcus radiodurans Phytochrome"
11:10 am - 11:15 amDiscussion
11:15 am - 11:25 amHeewhan Shin (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
"Crystal Structure and Signaling Mechanism of Red/Green Absorbing Cyanobacteriochrome"
11:25 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amJeff Tabor (Rice University, USA)
"Characterising and Controlling Gene Expression Dynamics via Phytochrome-Family Two Component Systems"
11:50 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pmJ. Clark Lagarias (University of California, Davis, USA)
"Illuminating Phytochrome Heterogeneity"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting
Nominations for the Next Vice Chair; Fill in Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss Future Site and Scheduling Preferences; Election of the Next Vice Chair
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmMicrobial Light Sensing, Function and Applications
Photoreceptor systems in microbes include sensors of all wavelength ranges and provide facile systems for genetic manipulation and rapid phenotypic characterization. Yet other than for sensory opsins and regulation of photosynthetic capacity, the overall functions of these proteins in bacteria remain poorly understood. This session offers key examples of such systems and will discuss how diverse modes of phototransduction regulate photosynthetic function, as well as their role in controlling stress responses and pathogenicity in non-photosynthetic bacteria. This session will also highlight the diversity of photoreceptor processes in nature with, as yet untapped, potential as optogenetic switches or for fluorescent imaging in the near infrared.
Discussion Leader: Sean Crosson (University of Chicago, USA)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmIntroduction by Discussion Leader
7:40 pm - 7:55 pmMontserrat Elías-Arnanz (Universidad de Murcia, Spain)
"Gene Regulation by the B12-Based CarH Photoreceptor: Molecular Mechanism at High Resolution"
7:55 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmBeronda Montgomery (Michigan State University, USA)
"Seeing the Light: Colour Vision and Developmental Acclimation in Cyanobacteria"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmVladislav Verkhusha (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA)
"Bacterial Phytochromes for Near-Infrared Imaging and Light-Control in Cells and Animals"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmSean Crosson (University of Chicago, USA)
"Coordinate Control of a Bacterial General Stress Response and Cell Adhesion by Blue Light"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
Thursday
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmLight Regulation of Signaling Networks
Plants, photosynthetic bacteria and algae possess intricate, sophisticated photoreceptor systems that program their development and photosynthetic capacity. Understanding how these complex signaling systems are coordinated represents a major challenge if knowledge is to be used for increasing biomass production for agronomic gain or for efficient processing of biofuel sources. This session focuses on the molecular mechanisms associated with regulating such diverse processes and also integrates synthetic technologies used to place complex mammalian transcriptional responses under multi-chromatic control.
Discussion Leader: Peter Quail (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
9:00 am - 9:10 amIntroduction by Discussion Leader
9:10 am - 9:30 amKaren Halliday (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
"Phytochromes Modulate the Switch Between Biomass Production and Stress Resistance"
9:30 am - 9:40 amDiscussion
9:40 am - 10:00 amChentao Lin (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
"Photoactivation and Desensitization Mechanisms of Arabidopsis Cryptochromes"
10:00 am - 10:10 amDiscussion
10:10 am - 10:25 amMatias Zurbriggen (University of Düsseldorf, Germany)
"Synthetic Light Signaling Switches"
10:25 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 am - 11:00 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:15 amCheryl Kerfeld (Michigan State University / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA)
"Structural and Functional Modularity in the Evolution of the Cyanobacterial Orange Carotenoid Protein"
11:15 am - 11:20 amDiscussion
11:20 am - 11:35 amEirini Kaiserli (University of Glasgow, United Kingdom)
"A Novel Integrator of Photomorphogenesis and Photoperiodic Flowering in Nuclear Photobodies"
11:35 am - 11:40 amDiscussion
11:40 am - 11:55 amEnamul Huq (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
"Splicing Factor for Light Signal (SFS) Promotes Photomorphogenesis by Regulating pre-mRNA Splicing of ELF3 in Arabidopsis"
11:55 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pmPeter Quail (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
"Dynamics of the Phy-PIF-Genome Signaling Interface"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmLight Inputs to Biological Rhythms
Biological rhythms are universal in nature but are diverse in their modes of optical control and molecular circuitry between organisms. In many cases, signaling systems interact with one another to achieve complex outcomes. This session will compare and contrast the different modes of regulatory control found in microbes, fungi, plants and animals.
Discussion Leader: Jennifer Loros (Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, USA)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmIntroduction by Discussion Leader
7:40 pm - 8:00 pmStacey Harmer (University of California, Davis, USA)
"Interactions Between Circadian and Photoreceptor Signaling Networks to Produce Complex Behaviours"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:25 pmEthan Buhr (University of Washington, USA)
"OPN5-Mediated Photoentrainment of Retinal Circadian Clocks"
8:25 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmMichael Rust (University of Chicago, USA)
"Seasonal Adaptation of Circadian Clocks In Vitro"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmJennifer Loros (Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, USA)
"PAS Domain Photoreceptors in Fungi"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
Friday
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDeparture

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by 1 R13 EY 026323 - 01 from the National Eye Institute. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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