4/2014Single-Celled Organisms Shed Light on Neurobiology
The discovery of a visual pigment in the cell membrane of an archaebacterium in the
early 1970s is owed solely to a researcher’s curiosity: For three years, the scientific
community wouldn’t believe Dieter Oesterhelt. Forty years after his pioneering
work at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, bacteriorhodopsin
and channelrhodopsin, which stems from a single-celled green alga, are gaining
ground as new tools in neurobiology.