Optogenetics refers to the use of light in conjunction with light-sensitive proteins to stimulate excitable cells and tissues. This project aims at extending the utility of optogenetics to cardiac applications. We exploit the heart's efficient cell to cell coupling, to develop the first cell delivery system for expression of light-sensitive ion channels, LSICs, i.e. non-viral cardiac optogenetics. We term our strategy a "tandem cell unit" (TCU) approach, where a light-responsive unit is formed by a host cardiomyocyte and a non-excitable donor cell carrying exogenous LSICs. Biophysically, for this unit to function (to fire an action potential upon light excitation), low-resistance coupling is required. Although in its infancy, cardiac optogenetics can be demonstrated effective for cardiac pacing, with a therapeutic application in the clinic, and as a research tool ideal for dissection of cardiac arrhythmias in vitro and perhaps in vivo owing to the robustness, remote nature and spatiotemporal precision of optical control. The driving hypothesis of this proposal is that optogenetics can provide a useful research and clinical approach to study cardiac excitability. Our experimental aims to test this hypothesis will employ single cardiac myocytes, tandem cell units and cardiac syncytia in vitro, along with in silico simulations and ultimately combined in vivo/in vitro proof of principle experiments for whole heart applications.
The Specific Aims are as follows: 1) Conduct comprehensive biophysical characterization of LSICs and develop in silico tools for cardiac optogenetics and integrate those in a dynamic clamp;2) Quantify energy requirements of LSIC-based control of cardiac excitation and demonstrate optimization strategies for cardiac optogenetics based on the TCU concept;3) Demonstrate utility of cardiac optogenetics in pacing and cardioversion in vitro;4) Devise proof of principle experiments for in vivo optical pacing based on optimization results: If successful, we will determine the optimal donor cell parameters to minimize energy consumption and maximize spatial control of light-induced cardiac excitability and refractoriness in vitro, in silico and ex vivo at the single cell, tandem cell unit, cardiac syncytium and whole heart level. These experiments serve as a necessary prelude to therapeutic applications of optogenetics to the heart.

Public Health Relevance

This project offers several important innovations: 1) pioneering work in extending the use of optogenetics to control of cardiac muscle;2) validation of a new approach to optogenetics - a non-viral cell delivery with translational potential for cardiac pacing;3) quantitative biophysical analysis of light-sensitive ion channels and development of mathematical and experimental tools to facilitate optogenetic investigation and optimize optical stimulation beyond the cardiac field.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HL111649-03
Application #
8598511
Study Section
Electrical Signaling, Ion Transport, and Arrhythmias Study Section (ESTA)
Program Officer
Danthi, Narasimhan
Project Start
2012-01-15
Project End
2016-12-31
Budget Start
2014-01-01
Budget End
2014-12-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$433,560
Indirect Cost
$156,038
Name
State University New York Stony Brook
Department
Biomedical Engineering
Type
Schools of Engineering
DUNS #
804878247
City
Stony Brook
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
11794
Ambrosi, Christina M; Entcheva, Emilia (2014) Optogenetic control of cardiomyocytes via viral delivery. Methods Mol Biol 1181:215-28
Entcheva, Emilia; Williams, John C (2014) Channelrhodopsin2 current during the action potential: "optical AP clamp" and approximation. Sci Rep 4:5838
Klimas, Aleksandra; Entcheva, Emilia (2014) Toward microendoscopy-inspired cardiac optogenetics in vivo: technical overview and perspective. J Biomed Opt 19:080701
Boyle, Patrick M; Entcheva, Emilia; Trayanova, Natalia A (2014) See the light: can optogenetics restore healthy heartbeats? And, if it can, is it really worth the effort? Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther 12:17-20
Ambrosi, Christina M; Entcheva, Emilia (2014) Optogenetics' promise: pacing and cardioversion by light? Future Cardiol 10:1-4
Entcheva, Emilia (2014) Fiat lux in understanding cardiac pacing, resynchronization and signalling by way of optogenetics. Cardiovasc Res 102:342-3
Ambrosi, Christina M; Klimas, Aleksandra; Yu, Jinzhu et al. (2014) Cardiac applications of optogenetics. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 115:294-304
Boyle, Patrick M; Williams, John C; Ambrosi, Christina M et al. (2013) A comprehensive multiscale framework for simulating optogenetics in the heart. Nat Commun 4:2370
Entcheva, Emilia (2013) Cardiac optogenetics. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 304:H1179-91
Williams, John C; Xu, Jianjin; Lu, Zhongju et al. (2013) Computational optogenetics: empirically-derived voltage- and light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 model. PLoS Comput Biol 9:e1003220

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