"on" cells that turn on when the eye is hit with light, while others "off" cells turn off. This is part of the eye's analysis circuitry, which helps pick out significant features of the visual field, such as edges and motion, even before the signals reach the brain. Inserting the same switch in all retinal ganglion cells could result in a visual muddle.
"Your brain would be confused, like feeling hot and cold at the same time," he said. "Electrodes would have this problem, too, indiscriminately stimulating on and off cells."
One solution, Kramer said, is to re-engineer a sodium channel to function just the opposite of the mutated potassium channel, then target the engineered sodium channel to "on" cells and the engineered potassium channel to "off" cells, using cell specific promoters.
"If you're using electrical stimulation, there is no way to selectively deliver information to two different channels," he said. "But with genetics, we can do something that electrical stimulation can never do."
"We haven't cured blindness yet," Kramer added, "but that's our main motivation in this work."
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Related biology news :1
Contact: Robert Sanders
University of California - Berkeley
. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research2
. ESF EURYI award winner aims to stop cancer cells reading their own DNA3
. OHSU turns mouse into factory for human liver cells4
. UCLA scientists produce functioning neurons from human embryonic stem cells5
. UCF research links proteins, stem cells and potential Alzheimers treatment6
. Teamwork between 2 key proteins necessary for normal development and regulation of red blood cells7
. In a first, Einstein scientists discover the dynamics of transcription in living mammalian cells8
. How cells change the pace of their steps9
. Discredited Korean embryonic stem cells true origins revealed10
. A low expression of MX2 gene exists in the white blood cells of narcoleptics11
. Penn researchers discover pathway that eliminates genetic defects in red blood cells