Dr. Peng Zou: Functional imaging-guided cell selection for evolving genetically encoded fluorescent indicators


Genetically encoded fluorescent indicators are powerful tools for tracking cellular dynamic processes. Engineering these indicators requires balancing screening dimensions with screening throughput. Herein, we present a functional imaging-guided photoactivatable cell selection platform, Faculae (functional imaging-activated molecular evolution), for linking microscopic phenotype with the underlying genotype in a pooled mutant library. Faculae is capable of assessing tens of thousands of variants in mammalian cells simultaneously while achieving photoactivation with single-cell resolution in seconds. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, we applied Faculae to perform multidimensional directed evolution for far-red genetically encoded calcium indicators (FR-GECIs) with improved brightness (Nier1b) and signal-to-baseline ratio (Nier1s). We anticipate that this image-based pooled screening method will facilitate the development of a wide variety of biomolecular tools.

Original link: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports-methods/fulltext/S2667-2375(23)00181-9