Precise modulation of neuronal activity by neuroactive molecules is essential for understanding brain circuits and behavior. However, tools for highly controllable molecular release are lacking. Here, we developed a photoswitchable nanovesicle with azobenzene-containing phosphatidylcholine (azo-PC), coined ‘azosome’, for neuromodulation. Irradiation with 365 nm light triggers the trans-to-cis isomerization of azo-PC, resulting in a disordered lipid bilayer with decreased thickness and cargo release. Irradiation with 455 nm light induces reverse isomerization and switches the release off. Real-time fluorescence imaging shows controllable and repeatable cargo release within seconds (< 3 s). Importantly, we demonstrate that SKF-81297, a dopamine D1-receptor agonist, can be repeatedly released from the azosome to activate cultures of primary striatal neurons. Azosome shows promise for precise optical control over the molecular release and can be a valuable tool for molecular neuroscience studies. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- controlled release
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering