Paper Xin Meng and Vidya Ganapathy picked as editor’s choice by ACS

News - 03 May 2023 - Communication ImPhys

The paper: “Voltage imaging with engineered proton-pumping Rhodopsins: Insights from the proton transfer pathway” by Xin Meng and Vidya Ganapathy et al has been selected to be featured as an ACS Editors' Choice in addition to being published in ACS Physical Chemistry Au. The paper has been selected for this honor because of its potential for broad public interest.

Engineering GEVIs from rhodopsins involves understanding the proton transfer pathway and leveraging that knowledge to apply mutations to the protein, leading to the emergence of voltage sensitive fluorescence
Fluorescence response of differently engineered rhodopsins to membrane voltage


Voltage imaging using genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVI) has taken the field of neuroscience by storm in the past decade. Its ability to create subcellular and network level readouts of electrical dynamics depends critically on the kinetics of the response to the voltage of the indicator used. Engineered Microbial Rhodopsins form a GEVI subclass known for their high voltage sensitivity and fast response kinetics.

In the lab of Daan Brinks, Xin Meng and Srividya Ganapathy, leading teams of students, have investigated the essential aspects of microbial rhodopsin photocycles that are critical to understanding the mechanisms of voltage sensitivity in these proteins and link them to insights from efforts to create faster, brighter and more sensitive Microbial Rhodopsin-based GEVIs.

This work has now resulted in two papers published back to back:

  • Theoretical work:
    On understanding the photocycle of rhodopins, which has been picked as an ACS editor’s choice
  • Practical work
    Turning a novel type of rhodopsin, Heliorhodopsin, into a GEVI.

The insights of this work will inform the protein engineering and GEVI optimization effort of our lab and are down the line leading to interesting improved voltage sensitive proteins for neuroimaging.

Daan Brinks

Srividya Ganapathy