Zhenan Bao of Stanford University in California has discovered that the electrical properties of specific types of nerve cell in living animals may be changed by genetically modifying them to produce conducting polymers on their surfaces.
This is possible through an enzyme produced on the surface of genetically modified specific cell types. The enzyme joins small monomers molecules together to make a polymer, that can be either an electrical conductor or insulator (depends on the monomers).
The new technology could allow electrical control of specific groups of cells. This way scientists can create new treatments for epilepsy or more natural ways of connecting prosthetic body parts to nerves.
Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aay4866