Nature Neuroscience - Q&A with Peter Hegemann

Cover page of Nature Neuroscience (Sept. 2015)

Cover page of Nature Neuroscience (Sept. 2015) - Anniversary issue on optogenetics and channelrhodopsin-2

Ten yeras ago, Nature Neuroscience published a paper showing that channelrhodopsin-2 could drive activity in neurons in response to light. In Sepember 2015, a special anniversary issue presents thoughts from pioneers and users of 'optogenetics' that reflect on its past and future in neuroscience (1).

News from Sep 16, 2015

On the anniversary of the Boyden et al. (2005) paper that introduced the use of the microbial protein channelrhodopsin-2 in neurons (2), Nature Neuroscience published in a special issue (3) and asked selected members of the optogenetics community to comment on the utility, impact and future of this important technique. The Q&A paper "Optogenetics: 10 Years after ChR2 in neurons - views from the community" (4) also includes answers given by the SFB member Prof. Peter Hegemann. In addition, Prof. Roger Y. Tsien, 2008 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, reveals an e-mail written by him to Peter Hegemann in 1999, inquiring about the heterologous expression of Chlamydomonas opsins. Today, Peter Hegemann continues his research on channelrhodopsin-2 in project B1 and B2 within the framework of the SFB 1078 on protonation dynamics in protein function.


  1. "About the cover: September 2015 Volume 18 Issue 9". Nature Neuroscience. Online im Internet: URL: (5.10.2015) 

  2. Boyden, E.S., Zhang, F., Bamberg, E., Nagel, G., and Deisseroth, K. (2005). Millisecond-timescale, genetically targeted optical control of neural activity. Nat. Neurosci. 8, 1263-1268 (doi: 10.1038/nn1525).

  3. (2015). ChR2 coming of age. Nat. Neurosci. 18, 1191-1191 (doi: 10.1038/nn.4103).

  4. Adamantidis, A., Arber, S., Bains, J.S., Bamberg, E., Bonci, A., Buzsaki, G., Cardin, J.A., Costa, R.M., Dan, Y., Goda, Y., Graybiel, A.M., Hausser, M., Hegemann, P., Huguenard, J.R., Insel, T.R., Janak, P.H., Johnston, D., Josselyn, S.A., Koch, C., Kreitzer, A.C., Luscher, C., Malenka, R.C., Miesenbock, G., Nagel, G., Roska, B., Schnitzer, M.J., Shenoy, K.V., Soltesz, I., Sternson, S.M., Tsien, R.W., Tsien, R.Y., Turrigiano, G.G., Tye, K.M., and Wilson, R.I. (2015). Optogenetics: 10 years after ChR2 in neurons[mdash]views from the community. Nat. Neurosci. 18, 1202-1212. (doi: 10.1038/nn.4106).

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