Voltage imaging using genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) has taken the field of neuroscience by storm in the past decade. Its ability to create subcellular and network level readouts of electrical dynamics depends critically on the kinetics of the response to voltage of the indicator used. Engineered microbial rhodopsins form a GEVI subclass known for their high voltage sensitivity and fast response kinetics. Here we review the essential aspects of microbial rhodopsin photocycles that are critical to understanding the mechanisms of voltage sensitivity in these proteins and link them to insights from efforts to create faster, brighter and more sensitive microbial rhodopsin-based GEVIs.
- fluorescence microscopy
- genetically encoded voltage indicators
- microbial rhodopsins
- protein engineering
- proton transfer pathway