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Keywords:

  • azo compounds;
  • GABA receptors;
  • ion channels;
  • photochromism;
  • photopharmacology
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Shine and rise! GABAA receptors are ligand-gated chloride ion channels that respond to γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the mammalian central nervous system. Azobenzene derivatives of propofol, such as compound 1 (see scheme), increase GABA-induced currents in the dark form and lose this property upon light exposure and thus function as photochromic potentiators. Compound 1 can be employed as a light-dependent general anesthetic in translucent tadpoles.