Optogenetic Control of Heterocellular Contributions to Cardiac Excitation and Arrhythmogenesis

Project Summary

This project optimises existing and develops novel optogenetic tools for locally controlled steering of cell-specific electrophysiology, with a focus on cardiac excitability and arrhythmia susceptibility. “Classic” optogenetic experiments, using light-induced membrane de- or hyperpolarization in defined cell populations (cardiomyocytes, macrophages, fibroblasts and myofibroblasts) will be complemented in P13 by novel approaches to light-mediated – and thus spatio-temporally controlled – expression of electrophysiologically relevant proteins. A transgenic transverse aortic constriction model and human tissue from patients receiving left ventricular assist devices will serve as systems to study altered electrical responses in diffusely remodelled myocardium with the aim of identifying future targets to prevent and/or terminate ventricular arrhythmias.