WO/2003/016486 is referenced by 8 patents.
Method for rendering a cell sensitive to stimulation. In a preferred embodiment, the method comprises introducing, into a cell, nucleic acid sequences encoding at least an opsin gene product, an arrestin gene product, and the alpha subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein of the G¿q? family. The introduced nucleic acid sequences are then expressed by the non-photoreceptor cell to yield at least the opsin gene product, the arrestin gene product, and the alpha subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein of the G¿q? family. Retinal or a derivative thereof capable of bonding with the opsin gene product to form a rhodopsin is then provided to the non-photoreceptor cell. The non-photoreceptor cell is then irradiated with light having a wavelength capable of converting the rhodopsin to a metarhodopsin. The conversion of rhodopsin to metarhodopsin triggers a cascade of intracellular responses within the cell resulting in an increased intracellular concentration of IP¿3? and calcium ions leading to an action potential in the cell.