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Optogenetic Tool Relaxes Cellular Tension

Japanese scientists have designed a new optogenetic tool called OptoMYPT that uses blue light to move a phosphatase enzyme to a location under the cell membrane where it dephosphorylates myosin and reduces the contractile forces of the actomyosin complex. The scientists applied the new tool to understand the mechanics of cell division. They showed that perturbing local mechanical forces at the cellular cortex disrupted the symmetry of cellular tensile forces that are pivotal in the progression of cell division.