Developing GPCR-based sensors for neuromodulator detection – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Developing GPCR-based sensors for neuromodulator detection

Mingcheng Li


Pronouns: Him/His

Research Mentor(s): Wenjing Wang, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 5 (3pm-3:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 7
Presenter: 1

Event Link


Synthetic opioid is often used for the purpose of reducing pain. The pathway of opioid binding with its receptor is essential to understanding the side effect of opioid such as addiction. The importance of this study is to develop a consistent fluorescent sensor to observe the action of opioid and its receptors in the brain at a cellular level in order to provide a tool for studying all the functional effects of opioid. PCR is the main technique used: by cloning the DNA of fluorescent protein cpGFP with its inhibitor NB39, a sensor is created to monitor the activity of opioid receptors. The sensor DNA can thus be applied in hek cells to screen opioids for its receptors. The results of this experiment are shown with pictures of the cells transfected with sensor DNA: when the opioid binds to the receptor, the sensor is activated and the cells show high green fluorescence. When the opioid does not bind, the cells has low green fluorescence. The approach of the study proves to be efficient since a difference in green fluorescence intensity can be observed depending on the binding of opioids to its receptor; however, improvement of the sensor could be used to make the cells brighter and more easier for observation.

Authors: Mingcheng Li
Research Method: Laboratory Research

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