Molecular Devices

Tunable optogenetic system elucidates the role of beta-catenin signaling dynamics on neural stem cell differentiation


Alyssa Rosenbloom, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (See Presenter Bio below)

Learning Objectives

  • How can high-content imaging further insights into the biology of adult neurogenesis?
  • Do NSCs differentiate when the integral of signaling during a temporal window exceeds a key threshold, or do dynamics in signal presentation matter?  
  • What are the effects of continuous vs. high frequency signaling on neuronal differentiation?
  • Why does the overexpression or CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockdown of one cell cycle regulatory factor alter cell differentiation and survival?


In the webinar, we will demonstrate how temporal dynamics modulation in signaling presentation can exert a strong impact on stem cell behavior, offering further insights into the biology of adult neurogenesis.  As a model for niche signaling dynamics on NSC function, we developed a tunable optogenetic system to modulate β-catenin signaling via Cry2 oligomerization of the LRP6 intracellular domain. Similar to Wnt3a addition, illumination of NSCs expressing Cry2-LRP6c induced neuronal differentiation.

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Presenter Bio

Alyssa Rosenbloom, Ph.D. is a Ruth L. Kirschstein Award Postdoctoral Fellow in labs of Drs. David Schaffer and Douglas Clark at the University of California, where she explores the effects of temporal dynamic signaling on adult hippocampal neural stem cell fate decisions.  She received dual Bachelor inScience degrees at Texas A&M University under the mentorship of Dr. Sumana Datta, exploring links between prostate and brain cancers.  Dr. Rosenbloom then completed her doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of California, Berkeley in the lab of Dr. Carlos Bustamante.  There, she developed a novel photo switchable fluorescent protein, rsKame, optimized for super-resolution microscopy of intracellular high density environments and demonstrated an improved two color PALM methodology to measure, in vitro and at 20nm resolution, the sub-organellar structure of the mammalian mitochondrial fission ring during various stages of fission.  Dr. Rosenbloom aspires to move into industrial research, following her postdoc, with a focus on stem cells and cellular response assay development with translational applications towards the development of personalized medical treatments.