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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Remote Control Of The Brain

Genetically Engineered 'Magneto' Protein Remotely Controls Brain and Behaviour

Mo Costandi | March 24, 2016

Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.
Understanding how the brain generates behaviour is one of the ultimate goals of neuroscience – and one of its most difficult questions. In recent years, researchers have developed a number of methods that enable them to remotely control specified groups of neurons and to probe the workings of neuronal circuits.

Scientists were able to introduce a protein called Magneto2.0 into the neurons of mice. This responded in a magnetic field by opening a channel that allowed electrically charged ions to rush in, activating the cell. The picture above shows how cells with Magneto2.0 were more active in a magnetic field than other cells. Source:

<more at; related links and articles: (Real-life 'Magneto' uses MAGNETS to control the behaviour of mice and fish. Researchers introduced proteins containing iron into the neurons of mice. Brain cells of the genetically modified mice responded to a magnetic field. Scientists could control where the animals moved in a chamber. It may eventually be possible to use the technique to treat human patients. March 9, 2016) and (Remote control of ion channels and neurons through magnetic-field heating of nanoparticles. Heng Huang, Savas Delikanli, Hao Zeng, Denise M. Ferkey and Arnd Pralle. Nature Nanotechnology, 5, 602–606 (2010). doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.125. [Abstract: Recently, optical stimulation has begun to unravel the neuronal processing that controls certain animal behaviours. However, optical approaches are limited by the inability of visible light to penetrate deep into tissues. Here, we show an approach based on radio-frequency magnetic-field heating of nanoparticles to remotely activate temperature-sensitive cation channels in cells. Superparamagnetic ferrite nanoparticles were targeted to specific proteins on the plasma membrane of cells expressing TRPV1, and heated by a radio-frequency magnetic field. Using fluorophores as molecular thermometers, we show that the induced temperature increase is highly localized. Thermal activation of the channels triggers action potentials in cultured neurons without observable toxic effects. This approach can be adapted to stimulate other cell types and, moreover, may be used to remotely manipulate other cellular machinery for novel therapeutics.])>

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