PsChR-EYFP expression in insect cells

I am currently working on the structure, function, and molecular mechanism of channelrhodopsins (ChRs). ChRs are retinal-binding membrane proteins which function as cation channels in algae in nature.

ChR2, from the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, has been widely used as an optogenetic tool in neuroscience. I use the yeast, Pichia pastoris, and an insect cell expression system to express different ChRs and their mutants.

PsChR Purification

PsChR expressed by Pichia pastoris and purified by Ni-NTA column

I then purify the expressed proteins and study them using biophysical techniques including absorption spectroscopy, flash photolysis, lipid reconstitution, etc.

These techniques combined with others such as FT-IR, Raman spectroscopy, and patch clamping will help elucidate the proton transfer, photocycle kinetics, and channel function of ChR.


  • Characterization of a highly efficient blue-shifted channelrhodopsin from the marine alga Platymonas subcordiformis. Govorunova EG, Sineshchekov OA, Li H, Janz R, Spudich JL. J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 11; 288(41): 29911-22.  PMID: 23995841  Read More
  • Intramolecular proton transfer in channelrhodopsins. Sineshchekov OA, Govorunova EG, Wang J, Li H, Spudich JL. Biophys J. 2013 Feb 19;104(4):807-17.  PMID: 23442959  Read More


Postdoctoral Research Fellow - UTHSC, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Texas, 2012-Present

Ph.D. in Biochemistry - Old Dominion University, Virginia, 2011

M.S. in Biology - Indiana State University, Indiana, 2006

M.S. in Biology - Nanjing University, China, 2004

B.S. in Biochemistry - Central China Normal University, China, 2001

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