Optical control of targeted protein degradation

Martin Reynders, Dirk Trauner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Molecular glues and proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) have emerged as small-molecule tools that selectively induce the degradation of a chosen protein and have shown therapeutic promise. Recently, several approaches employing light as an additional stimulus to control induced protein degradation have been reported. Here, we analyze the principles guiding the design of such systems, provide a survey of the literature published to date, and discuss opportunities for further development. Light-responsive degraders enable the precise temporal and spatial control of protein levels, making them useful research tools but also potential candidates for human precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-986
Number of pages18
JournalCell Chemical Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021


  • chemical optogenetics
  • photoactivation
  • photocleavable protecting group
  • photopharmacology
  • photoswitch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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