The Kryptopterus bicirrhis (glass catfish) is known to respond to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Here we tested its avoidance behavior in response to static and alternating magnetic fields stimulation. Using expression cloning we identified an electromagnetic perceptive gene (EPG) from the K. bicirrhis encoding a protein that responds to EMF. This EPG gene was cloned and expressed in mammalian cells, neuronal cultures and in rat's brain. Immunohistochemistry showed that the expression of EPG is confined to the mammalian cell membrane. Calcium imaging in mammalian cells and cultured neurons expressing EPG demonstrated that remote activation by EMF significantly increases intracellular calcium concentrations, indicative of cellular excitability. Moreover, wireless magnetic activation of EPG in rat motor cortex induced motor evoked responses of the contralateral forelimb in vivo. Here we report on the development of a new technology for remote, non-invasive modulation of cell function.
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