Chimeric gene and protein that can be used to create Optogranules: Light induced stress granules (SJ-18-0010)

St. Jude Reference #SJ-18-0010


Researchers at St. Jude have created a vector expressing a light-sensitive protein that can be used for light-inducible stress granules (“Optogranules”), and as such, a cell line stably expressing this vector that create stress granules upon exposure to blue light.

Stress granules are liquid-phase cytoplasmic RNA-protein granules that accrue in all cell types in response to stressful stimuli. Disturbance in the assembly and dynamics of these structures is closely associated with a wide array of human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and infectious diseases. They are increasingly the focus of biomedical research, but these studies are confounded by the conditions required to induce stress granule formation. Our system permits rapid, uniform and non-toxic induction of stress granules with a brief pulse of blue light.

Currently, most labs cause stress granule assembly by exposing cells to heat shock or arsenite stress. These exogenous stressors confound research into the role of stress granules in diseases such as ALS, FTD, cancer, etc.


Vector, light-sensitive protein, light-inducible, stress granules, ALS, FTD, cancer

Granted patents or published applications

Pending US application published as US 2021/0179676

Related scientific references

Posted Pre-print publication at:

J. Paul Taylor, Peipei Zhang, Baochang Fan, Peiguo Yang, Jamshid Temirov, James Messing, Hong Joo Kim, OptoGranules reveal the evolution of stress granules to ALS-FTD pathology, doi:

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