Illuminating pathogen–host intimacy through optogenetics

by Ruben Dario Arroyo-Olarte, Laura Thurow, Vera Kozjak-Pavlovic, Nishith Gupta

The birth and subsequent evolution of optogenetics has resulted in an unprecedented advancement in our understanding of the brain. Its outstanding success does usher wider applications; however, the tool remains still largely relegated to neuroscience. Here, we introduce selected aspects of optogenetics with potential applications in infection biology that will not only answer long-standing questions about intracellular pathogens (parasites, bacteria, viruses) but also broaden the dimension of current research in entwined models. In this essay, we illustrate how a judicious integration of optogenetics with routine methods can illuminate the host–pathogen interactions in a way that has not been feasible otherwise.

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