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Mechanism of Enzyme Rhodopsin Activation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 MERA project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the MERA project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "MERA" about.

neurons    fungus    mechanism    optogenetic    though    guanylyl    obtain    raman    family    time    intensities    totally    phosphodiesterase    urgently    ultimate    inactivation    revolutionized    regulation    channel    flashes    conversion    dimensional    aided    emersonii    perspectives    solution    light    final    desirable    subdivided    elegant    variety    first    biophysical    ray    neuroscience    cyclase    epr    model    messenger    characterization    rhpde    neuronal    activation    offers    laboratory    rhodopsin    camp    broad    coexpression    optogenetics    ensemble    ftir    photoreceptors    accordingly    spectroscopy    generation    decade    dynamics    blastocladiella    hypopolarizer    uv    lines    class    enzyme    computer    activate    rhgc    fourth    gated    moderate    uncharacterized    resolved    mera    photoreceptor    crystallography    cgmp    crystals    awaits    vis    understand    discovered    technologies    cell    sensory    outcome    ion    channelrhodopsin    engineering    cells   

Project "MERA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: BERLIN
postcode: 10117

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 2˙398˙750 €
 EC max contribution 2˙398˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-10-01   to  2021-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITAET ZU BERLIN DE (BERLIN) coordinator 2˙398˙750.00


 Project objective

'Channelrhodopsin, which was discovered and described as a light-gated ion channel in my laboratory, has revolutionized the field of neuroscience over the past decade by enabling researchers to specifically activate selected neurons in a large ensemble of neuronal cells with short light flashes, a technology we now call 'Optogenetics.' However, though highly desirable, the inactivation of specific cells using moderate or low light intensities is not yet possible. The recently discovered rhodopsin-guanylyl-cyclase (RhGC) of the fungus Blastocladiella emersonii offers an elegant solution to this problem. Moreover, RhGC is a totally novel and uncharacterized sensory photoreceptor, and the first member of an enzyme rhodopsin family that urgently awaits in-depth characterization. Accordingly, the goal of the “mechanism of enzyme rhodopsin activation” (MERA) proposal is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of this novel photoreceptor, and to determine its functionality for broad application in optogenetics and other research fields. The MERA project is subdivided into four objectives. The first objective is the characterization and engineering of RhGC in cell lines and neurons as well as coexpression of RhGC with a cGMP-gated K channel to develop a 'Light-Hypopolarizer' for cell inactivation. The second objective is to understand the dynamics of RhGC using a variety of biophysical technologies including time resolved UV-vis, FTIR, and Raman and EPR spectroscopy. A third objective is the generation of crystals for X-ray crystallography and the development of a three dimensional RhGC model. The fourth and final objective is the computer-aided conversion of RhGC into a rhodopsin-phosphodiesterase (RhPDE) for down-regulation of the second messenger cGMP and/or cAMP using light. The ultimate outcome will be a detailed understanding of a novel class of sensory photoreceptors with new perspectives for broad optogenetic applications.'


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Ulrike Scheib, Matthias Broser, Oana M. Constantin, Shang Yang, Shiqiang Gao, Shatanik Mukherjee, Katja Stehfest, Georg Nagel, Christine E. Gee, Peter Hegemann
Rhodopsin-cyclases for photocontrol of cGMP/cAMP and 2.3 Å structure of the adenylyl cyclase domain
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04428-w
Nature Communications 9/1 2019-06-13
2017 Alfons Penzkofer, Ulrike Scheib, Katja Stehfest, Peter Hegemann
Absorption and Emission Spectroscopic Investigation of Thermal Dynamics and Photo-Dynamics of the Rhodopsin Domain of the Rhodopsin-Guanylyl Cyclase from the Nematophagous Fungus Catenaria anguillulae
published pages: 2099, ISSN: 1422-0067, DOI: 10.3390/ijms18102099
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18/10 2019-06-13
2019 Scheib, U.
Biochemische und biophysikalische Charakterisierung von Rhodopsin-Guanylylzyklasen.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Shatanik Mukherjee, Peter Hegemann, Matthias Broser
Enzymerhodopsins: novel photoregulated catalysts for optogenetics
published pages: 118-126, ISSN: 0959-440X, DOI: 10.1016/
Current Opinion in Structural Biology 57 2019-06-06

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