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Vierock Lab

Junior Research Group for Subcellular Optogenetics


Always happy to discuss new projects with motivated students and colleagues!


Contact: johannes.vierock (at)


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Subcellular Optogenetics

By fusing light sensors with endogenous protein sequences serving as targeting motifs, we can selectively express photoreceptors at various locations within the cell. In our research, we are specially interested in the pH and voltage regulation of subcellular organelles. The importance of these processes for cellular aging, the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson or Alzheimer's, as well as the proliferation of carcinomas, can be more precisely explored through the engeneering of new optogenetic tools and may inspire new therapeutic approaches..

Light gated ion channels

Optogenetic tools

Selected Publications

WiChR, a highly potassium-selective channelrhodopsin for low-light one-and two-photon inhibition of excitable cells J Vierock*, E Peter*, C Grimm*, A Rozenberg, I-W Chen, L Tillert, A Castro Scalise, M Casini, S Augustin, D Tanese, B Forget, R Peyronnet, F Schneider-Warme, V Emiliani, O Béjà, P Hegemann - Science Advances, 2022

Calcium-permeable channelrhodopsins for the photocontrol of calcium signalling R Fernandez Lahore, N Pampaloni, E Peter, M Heim, L Tillert, J Vierock, J Oppermann, J Walther, D Schmitz, D Owald, A Plested, B Rost, P Hegemann - Nature Communications, 2022

Optogenetics for light control of biological systems V Emiliani, E Entcheva, R Hedrich, P Hegemann, K Konrad, C Lüscher, M Mahn, Z Pan, R Sims, J Vierock, O Yizhar - Nature Reviews Methods Primers, 2022

Rhodopsin-bestrophin fusion proteins from unicellular algae form gigantic pentameric ion channels A Rozenberg*, I Kaczmarczyk*, D Matzov*, J Vierock*, T Nagata, M Sugiura, K Katayama, Y Kawasaki, M Konno, Y Nagasaka, M Aoyama, I Das, E Pahima, J Church, S Adam, V Borin, A Chazan, S Augustin, J Wietek, J Dine, Y Peleg, A Kawanabe, Y Fujiwara, O Yizhar, M Sheves, I Schapiro, Y Furutani, H Kandori, K Inoue, P Hegemann, O Beja, M Shalev-Benami - Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2022

BiPOLES is an optogenetic tool developed for bidirectional dual-color control of neurons J Vierock*, S Rodriguez-Rozada*, A Dieter, F Pieper, R Sims, F Tenedini, A Bergs, I Bendifallah, F Zhou, N Zeitzschel, J Ahlbeck, S Augustin, K Sauter, E Papagiakoumou, A Gottschalk, P Soba, V Emiliani, A Engel, P Hegemann, J Wiegert - Nature communications, 2021

Unifying photocycle model for light adaptation and temporal evolution of cation conductance in channelrhodopsin-2 J Kuhne*, J Vierock*, S Alexander Tennigkeit, M Dreier, J Wietek, D Petersen, K Gavriljuk, S El-Mashtoly, P Hegemann, K Gerwert - PNAS, 2019

Crystal structure of the red light-activated channelrhodopsin Chrimson K Oda*, J Vierock*, S Oishi, S Rodriguez-Rozada, R Taniguchi, K Yamashita, J Wiegert, T Nishizawa, P Hegemann, O Nureki - Nature communications, 2018

The microbial opsin family of optogenetic tools F Zhang*, J Vierock*, O Yizhar, L Fenno, S Tsunoda, A Kianianmomeni, M Prigge, A Berndt, J Cushman, J Polle, J Magnuson, P Hegemann, K Deisseroth - Cell, 2011


For the full publication list please follow this link.

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