Department of Botany I - Plant-Physiology and Biophysics

    Prof. Dr. Georg Nagel

    Group Uni-Prof. Georg Nagel

    Professor for Molecular Plant-Physiology at the Department for Molecular Plant-Physiologie and Biophysics - Botany I


    University Würzburg
    Biocentre, Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences
    Department for Molecular Plant-Pphysiologie and Biophysics - Botany I
    Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2
    97082 Wuerzburg

    Tel.: +49 931 31-86143
    Fax: +49 931 31-86158


    Raum: 217a


    Uni-Prof. Dr. Georg Nagel (Head)

    Elfriede Reisberg (Technical Assistant)

    Julia Köber (Technical Assistant)

    Dr. Shiqiang Gao (Scientific Coworker)

    Sebastian Beck (Doctoral Researcher)

    Jing Yu (Doctoral Researcher)

    Shang Yang (Doctoral Researcher)

    Yuehui Tian (Doctoral Researcher)

    Xiaodong Duan (Doctoral Researcher)

    Yang Zhou (Doctoral Researcher)


    Photoreceptors and Optogenetics:

    Not only animals can perceive light via photoreceptors, but also microbes and plants. The investigation of microbial photoreceptors was facilitated by expression (of Bacteriorhodopsin) in animal cells (Nagel et al., 1995, FEBS Lett.). We discovered the function of light-directed cation channels from the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by expression in oocytes, which we identified and named channelrhodopsins: Channelrhodopsin-1 (ChR1, Nagel et al., 2002, Science) and ChR2 (Nagel et al., 2003, PNAS). We demonstrated a strong, light-induced membrane depolarization after expression of ChR2 in human (HEK293) and other cells and, in collaboration with neuroscientists, light-induced action potentials (Boyden et al., 2005, Neurosci.) and light-controlled behavior of a transgene nematode (Nagel et al., 2005, Curr. Biol.). The light-activation of neurons by means of ChR2 was then called optogenetics and meanwhile a large number of natural and synthetic photoreceptors contribute to the optogenetics toolbox, some of which have also been described by us for the first time. Our group is interested in the characterization and generation of photoreceptors, as well as in their application in cells and living organisms.