Picture a moment with your eyes closed, contemplating a world devoid of sight—an unsettling reality for many in our society. The retina, a specialized tissue at the back of the eye, houses photoreceptor cells, each containing opsin molecules that respond to light, a crucial element in vision. The loss of these cells leads to the depletion of opsins, resulting in blindness.
Our mission is to find a solution to this challenge. We, the iGEM Evry Paris Saclay team, are excited to introduce OptoGenEYEsis, a groundbreaking tool designed to address this issue.
OptoGenEYEsis sets itself apart by focusing on the development of light-sensitive microbial opsins for genetic therapy. Our ultimate goal is to restore the retina's capacity to detect and respond to light, thereby restoring vision. This approach contrasts with existing microbial opsin-based therapies, which suffer from narrow absorption spectra, suboptimal sensitivity, and limited efficiency in converting light into nervous electrical signals.
Our solution harnesses the power of enhanced microbial opsins through synthetic biology and microfluidics-based directed evolution. This innovative approach promises superior absorption, heightened sensitivity, and efficient conversion of light into electricity during visual processing. It's not just a potential solution; it's a game-changer in the battle against blindness.