Project title: Chimeric Rhodopsin as a novel optogenetic tool.

This project aims to develop novel proof-of-concept chimeric opsins with exceeded functionality to mimic natural circuit mechanisms and information processing within a degenerated retina. We propose that chimeric RecRho variants may constitute a new gene therapy strategy in retinal diseases. We hypothesize that moderate light levels can activate chimeric RecRho variants delivered to surviving cell populations within the degenerated retina, will transform transduced cells into direct light detectors, and restore high-level vision. Besides converting transduced cells into direct light detectors, we believe that our chimeric proteins will also positively impact structure and synaptic plasticity on a large scale through the whole retina. We will utilize singleneuron recordings and behavioral visual discrimination tasks to estimate visual network selectivity in response to complex and moving stimuli. Such an approach of synthetic protein with multiple functions, based on the mGluR1 transduction pathway, wasn’t proposed and used before.

The total funding of the project is 1 229 001 PLN.