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High-Throughput Optogenetics Experiments in Yeast Using the Automated Platform Lustro

Published: August 4th, 2023



1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

This protocol outlines the steps for utilizing the automated platform Lustro to perform high-throughput characterization of optogenetic systems in yeast.

Optogenetics offers precise control over cellular behavior by utilizing genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins. However, optimizing these systems to achieve the desired functionality often requires multiple design-build-test cycles, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address this challenge, we have developed Lustro, a platform that combines light stimulation with laboratory automation, enabling efficient high-throughput screening and characterization of optogenetic systems.

Lustro utilizes an automation workstation equipped with an illumination device, a shaking device, and a plate reader. By employing a robotic arm, Lustro automates the movement of a microwell plate between these devices, allowing for the stimulation of optogenetic strains and the measurement of their response. This protocol provides a step-by-step guide on using Lustro to characterize optogenetic systems for gene expression control in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The protocol covers the setup of Lustro's components, including the integration of the illumination device with the automation workstation. It also provides detailed instructions for programming the illumination device, plate reader, and robot, ensuring smooth operation and data acquisition throughout the experimental process.

Optogenetics is a powerful technique that utilizes light-sensitive proteins to control the behavior of cells with high precision1,2,3. However, prototyping optogenetic constructs and identifying optimal illumination conditions can be time-consuming, making it difficult to optimize optogenetic systems4,5. High-throughput methods to rapidly screen and characterize the activity of optogenetic systems can accelerate the design-build-test cycle for prototyping constructs and exploring their function.

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The yeast strains utilized in this study are documented in the Table of Materials. These strains exhibit robust growth within the temperature range of 22 °C to 30 °C and can be cultivated in various standard yeast media.

1. Setting up the automation workstation

  1. Equip the automated workstation with a Robotic Gripper Arm (RGA, see Table of Materials) capable of moving microwell plates (Figure 1.......

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Figure 4A shows the fluorescence values over time for an optogenetic strain expressing a fluorescent reporter controlled by a light-inducible split transcription factor. The different light conditions used in the experiment are reflected by variations in the duty cycle, which represents the percentage of time the light is on. The overall fluorescence level is observed to be proportional to the duty cycle of the light stimulation. Figure 4B displays the correspon.......

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The Lustro protocol presented here automates the culturing, illumination, and measurement processes, enabling high-throughput screening and characterization of optogenetic systems6. This is achieved by integrating an illumination device, microplate reader, and shaking device into an automation workstation. This protocol specifically demonstrates Lustro's utility for screening different optogenetic constructs integrated into the yeast S. cerevisiae and comparing light induction program.......

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This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R35GM128873 and National Science Foundation grant 2045493 (awarded to M.N.M.). Megan Nicole McClean, Ph.D. holds a Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Z.P.H. was supported by an NHGRI training grant to the Genomic Sciences Training Program 5T32HG002760. We acknowledge fruitful discussions with McClean lab members, and in particular, we are grateful to Kieran Sweeney for providing comments on the manuscript.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
96-well glass bottom plate with  #1.5 cover glass Cellvis P96-1.5H-N
BioShake 3000-T elm (heater shaker) QINSTRUMENTS
Fluent Automation Workstation Tecan
LITOS (alternative illumination device) Hohener, et al. Scientific Reports. 2022
optoPlate-96 (illumination device) Bugaj, et al. Nature Protocols. 2019
Robotic Gripper Arm Tecan Standard or long Z axes; regular gripper head or automatic Finger Exchange System gripper head, both with a choice of gripper fingers – eccentric, long eccentric, centric, tube; barcode reader option
Spark (plate reader) Tecan
Synthetic Complete media SigmaAldrich Y1250
Tecan Connect (user alert app) Tecan
yMM1734 (BY4741 Matα ura3Δ0::5' Ura3 homology, pRPL18B-Gal4DBD-eMagA-tENO1, pRPL18B-eMagB-Gal4AD-tENO1, pGAL1-mScarlet-I-tENO1, Ura3, Ura 3' homology  his3D1 leu2D0 lys2D0 gal80::KANMX gal4::spHIS5) Harmer, et al. ACS Syn Bio. 2023
yMM1763 (BY4741 Matα ura3Δ0::5' Ura3 homology, pRPL18B-Gal4DBD-CRY2(535)-tENO1, pRPL18B-Gal4AD-CIB1-tENO1, pGAL1-mScarlet-I-tENO1, Ura3, Ura 3' homology  his3D1 leu2D0 lys2D0 gal80::KANMX gal4::spHIS5) Harmer, et al. ACS Syn Bio. 2023
yMM1765 (BY4741 Matα ura3Δ0::5' Ura3 homology, pRPL18B-Gal4DBD-eMagA-tENO1, pRPL18B-eMagBM-Gal4AD-tENO1, pGAL1-mScarlet-I-tENO1, Ura3, Ura 3' homology  his3D1 leu2D0 lys2D0 gal80::KANMX gal4::spHIS5) Harmer, et al. ACS Syn Bio. 2023
YPD Agar SigmaAldrich Y1500

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