Possibilities and Limitations of Photoactivatable Cytochalasin D for the Spatiotemporal Regulation of Actin Dynamics

The study of the actin cytoskeleton and related cellular processes requires tools to specifically interfere with actin dynamics in living cell cultures, ideally with spatiotemporal control and compatible with real time imaging. A phototriggerable derivative of the actin disruptor Cytochalasin D (CytoD) is described and tested here. It includes a nitroveratryloxycarbonyl (Nvoc) photoremovable protecting group (PPG) at the hydroxyl group at C7 of CytoD. The attachment of the PPG renders Nvoc-CytoD temporarily inactive, and enables light-dosed delivery of the active drug CytoD to living cells. This article presents the full structural and physicochemical characterization, the toxicity analysis. It is complemented with biological tests to show the time scales (seconds) and spatial resolution (cellular level) achievable with a UV source in a regular microscopy setup