Precise spatio-temporal control of rapid optogenetic cell ablation with mem-KillerRed in Zebrafish

Buckley, Charlotte and Carvalho, Mariana and Young, Laura and Rider, Sebastian and McFadden, Clare and Berlage, Caroline and Verdon, Rachel and Taylor, Jonathan and Girkin, John and Mullins, John (2017) Precise spatio-temporal control of rapid optogenetic cell ablation with mem-KillerRed in Zebrafish. Scientific Reports, 7 (5096). ISSN 2045-2322 (

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The ability to kill individual or groups of cells in vivo is important for studying cellular processes and their physiological function. Cell-specific genetically encoded photosensitizing proteins, such as KillerRed, permit spatiotemporal optogenetic ablation with low-power laser light. We report dramatically improved resolution and speed of cell targeting in the zebrafish kidney through the use of a selective plane illumination microscope (SPIM). Furthermore, through the novel incorporation of a Bessel beam into the SPIM imaging arm, we were able to improve on targeting speed and precision. The low diffraction of the Bessel beam coupled with the ability to tightly focus it through a high NA lens allowed precise, rapid targeting of subsets of cells at anatomical depth in live, developing zebrafish kidneys. We demonstrate that these specific targeting strategies significantly increase the speed of optoablation as well as fish survival.


Buckley, Charlotte ORCID logoORCID:, Carvalho, Mariana, Young, Laura, Rider, Sebastian, McFadden, Clare, Berlage, Caroline, Verdon, Rachel, Taylor, Jonathan, Girkin, John and Mullins, John;