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Biochemists Develop New Way To Control Cell Biology With Light

Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a new method of controlling biology at the cellular level using light. The tool—called a photocleavable protein—breaks into two pieces when exposed to light, allowing scientists to study and manipulate activity inside cells in new and different ways. “By shining light into the cell, we can cause the photocleavable protein to break, removing the inhibitor and uncaging the protein within the cell,” said lead author Robert Campbell, professor in the Department of Chemistry. Once the protein is uncaged, it can start to perform its normal function inside the cell. The tool is relatively easy to use and widely applicable for other research that involves controlling processes inside a cell.

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