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80 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 80 results
05/24/17 | Applying systems-level spectral imaging and analysis to reveal the organelle interactome.
Valm AM, Cohen S, Legant WR, Melunis J, Hershberg U, Wait E, Cohen AR, Davidson MW, Betzig E, Lippincott-Schwartz J
Nature. 2017 May 24:. doi: 10.1038/nature22369

The organization of the eukaryotic cell into discrete membrane-bound organelles allows for the separation of incompatible biochemical processes, but the activities of these organelles must be coordinated. For example, lipid metabolism is distributed between the endoplasmic reticulum for lipid synthesis, lipid droplets for storage and transport, mitochondria and peroxisomes for β-oxidation, and lysosomes for lipid hydrolysis and recycling. It is increasingly recognized that organelle contacts have a vital role in diverse cellular functions. However, the spatial and temporal organization of organelles within the cell remains poorly characterized, as fluorescence imaging approaches are limited in the number of different labels that can be distinguished in a single image. Here we present a systems-level analysis of the organelle interactome using a multispectral image acquisition method that overcomes the challenge of spectral overlap in the fluorescent protein palette. We used confocal and lattice light sheet instrumentation and an imaging informatics pipeline of five steps to achieve mapping of organelle numbers, volumes, speeds, positions and dynamic inter-organelle contacts in live cells from a monkey fibroblast cell line. We describe the frequency and locality of two-, three-, four- and five-way interactions among six different membrane-bound organelles (endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi, lysosome, peroxisome, mitochondria and lipid droplet) and show how these relationships change over time. We demonstrate that each organelle has a characteristic distribution and dispersion pattern in three-dimensional space and that there is a reproducible pattern of contacts among the six organelles, that is affected by microtubule and cell nutrient status. These live-cell confocal and lattice light sheet spectral imaging approaches are applicable to any cell system expressing multiple fluorescent probes, whether in normal conditions or when cells are exposed to disturbances such as drugs, pathogens or stress. This methodology thus offers a powerful descriptive tool and can be used to develop hypotheses about cellular organization and dynamics.

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05/12/17 | Visualizing dynamic microvillar search and stabilization during ligand detection by T cells.
Cai E, Marchuk K, Beemiller P, Beppler C, Rubashkin MG, Weaver VM, Gérard A, Liu T, Chen B, Betzig E, Bartumeus F, Krummel MF
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2017 May 12;356(6338):. doi: 10.1126/science.aal3118

During immune surveillance, T cells survey the surface of antigen-presenting cells. In searching for peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complexes (pMHCs), they must solve a classic trade-off between speed and sensitivity. It has long been supposed that microvilli on T cells act as sensory organs to enable search, but their strategy has been unknown. We used lattice light-sheet and quantum dot-enabled synaptic contact mapping microscopy to show that anomalous diffusion and fractal organization of microvilli survey the majority of opposing surfaces within 1 minute. Individual dwell times were long enough to discriminate pMHC half-lives and T cell receptor (TCR) accumulation selectively stabilized microvilli. Stabilization was independent of tyrosine kinase signaling and the actin cytoskeleton, suggesting selection for avid TCR microclusters. This work defines the efficient cellular search process against which ligand detection takes place.

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03/03/17 | Zyxin regulates endothelial von Willebrand factor secretion by reorganizing actin filaments around exocytic granules.
Han X, Li P, Yang Z, Huang X, Wei G, Sun Y, Kang X, Hu X, Deng Q, Chen L, He A, Huo Y, Li D, Betzig E, Luo J
Nature Communications. 2017 Mar 03;8:14639. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14639

Endothelial exocytosis of Weibel-Palade body (WPB) is one of the first lines of defence against vascular injury. However, the mechanisms that control WPB exocytosis in the final stages (including the docking, priming and fusion of granules) are poorly understood. Here we show that the focal adhesion protein zyxin is crucial in this process. Zyxin downregulation inhibits the secretion of von Willebrand factor (VWF), the most abundant cargo in WPBs, from human primary endothelial cells (ECs) induced by cAMP agonists. Zyxin-deficient mice exhibit impaired epinephrine-stimulated VWF release, prolonged bleeding time and thrombosis, largely due to defective endothelial secretion of VWF. Using live-cell super-resolution microscopy, we visualize previously unappreciated reorganization of pre-existing actin filaments around WPBs before fusion, dependent on zyxin and an interaction with the actin crosslinker α-actinin. Our findings identify zyxin as a physiological regulator of endothelial exocytosis through reorganizing local actin network in the final stage of exocytosis.

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02/13/17 | Self-organizing actin patterns shape membrane architecture but not cell mechanics.
Fritzsche M, Li D, Colin-York H, Chang VT, Moeendarbary E, Felce JH, Sezgin E, Charras G, Betzig E, Eggeling C
Nature Communications. 2017 Feb 13;8:14347. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14347

Cell-free studies have demonstrated how collective action of actin-associated proteins can organize actin filaments into dynamic patterns, such as vortices, asters and stars. Using complementary microscopic techniques, we here show evidence of such self-organization of the actin cortex in living HeLa cells. During cell adhesion, an active multistage process naturally leads to pattern transitions from actin vortices over stars into asters. This process is primarily driven by Arp2/3 complex nucleation, but not by myosin motors, which is in contrast to what has been theoretically predicted and observed in vitro. Concomitant measurements of mechanics and plasma membrane fluidity demonstrate that changes in actin patterning alter membrane architecture but occur functionally independent of macroscopic cortex elasticity. Consequently, tuning the activity of the Arp2/3 complex to alter filament assembly may thus be a mechanism allowing cells to adjust their membrane architecture without affecting their macroscopic mechanical properties.

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01/23/17 | Actin dynamics and competition for myosin monomer govern the sequential amplification of myosin filaments.
Beach JR, Bruun KS, Shao L, Li D, Swider Z, Remmert K, Zhang Y, Conti MA, Adelstein RS, Rusan NM, Betzig E, Hammer JA
Nature Cell Biology. 2017 Jan 23:. doi: 10.1038/ncb3463

The cellular mechanisms governing non-muscle myosin II (NM2) filament assembly are largely unknown. Using EGFP-NM2A knock-in fibroblasts and multiple super-resolution imaging modalities, we characterized and quantified the sequential amplification of NM2 filaments within lamellae, wherein filaments emanating from single nucleation events continuously partition, forming filament clusters that populate large-scale actomyosin structures deeper in the cell. Individual partitioning events coincide spatially and temporally with the movements of diverging actin fibres, suppression of which inhibits partitioning. These and other data indicate that NM2A filaments are partitioned by the dynamic movements of actin fibres to which they are bound. Finally, we showed that partition frequency and filament growth rate in the lamella depend on MLCK, and that MLCK is competing with centrally active ROCK for a limiting pool of monomer with which to drive lamellar filament assembly. Together, our results provide new insights into the mechanism and spatio-temporal regulation of NM2 filament assembly in cells.

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12/13/16 | A plasma membrane template for macropinocytic cups.
Veltman DM, Williams TD, Bloomfield G, Chen B, Betzig E, Insall RH, Kay RR
eLife. 2016 Dec 13;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.20085

Macropinocytosis is a fundamental mechanism that allows cells to take up extracellular liquid into large vesicles. It critically depends on the formation of a ring of protrusive actin beneath the plasma membrane, which develops into the macropinocytic cup. We show that macropinocytic cups in Dictyostelium are organised around coincident intense patches of PIP3, active Ras and active Rac. These signalling patches are invariably associated with a ring of active SCAR/WAVE at their periphery, as are all examined structures based on PIP3 patches, including phagocytic cups and basal waves. Patch formation does not depend on the enclosing F-actin ring, and patches become enlarged when the RasGAP NF1 is mutated, showing that Ras plays an instructive role. New macropinocytic cups predominantly form by splitting from existing ones. We propose that cup-shaped plasma membrane structures form from self-organizing patches of active Ras/PIP3, which recruit a ring of actin nucleators to their periphery.

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11/14/16 | Engulfed cadherin fingers are polarized junctional structures between collectively migrating endothelial cells.
Hayer A, Shao L, Chung M, Joubert L, Yang HW, Tsai F, Bisaria A, Betzig E, Meyer T
Nature Cell Biology. 2016 Nov 14;18(12):1311-23. doi: 10.1038/ncb3438

The development and maintenance of tissues requires collective cell movement, during which neighbouring cells coordinate the polarity of their migration machineries. Here, we ask how polarity signals are transmitted from one cell to another across symmetrical cadherin junctions, during collective migration. We demonstrate that collectively migrating endothelial cells have polarized VE-cadherin-rich membrane protrusions, ‘cadherin fingers’, which leading cells extend from their rear and follower cells engulf at their front, thereby generating opposite membrane curvatures and asymmetric recruitment of curvature-sensing proteins. In follower cells, engulfment of cadherin fingers occurs along with the formation of a lamellipodia-like zone with low actomyosin contractility, and requires VE-cadherin/catenin complexes and Arp2/3-driven actin polymerization. Lateral accumulation of cadherin fingers in follower cells precedes turning, and increased actomyosin contractility can initiate cadherin finger extension as well as engulfment by a neighbouring cell, to promote follower behaviour. We propose that cadherin fingers serve as guidance cues that direct collective cell migration.

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10/31/16 | Formin-generated actomyosin arcs propel T cell receptor microcluster movement at the immune synapse.
Murugesan S, Hong J, Yi J, Li D, Beach JR, Shao L, Meinhardt J, Madison G, Wu X, Betzig E, Hammer JA
The Journal of Cell Biology. 2016 Oct 31;215(3):383-99. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201603080

Actin assembly and inward flow in the plane of the immunological synapse (IS) drives the centralization of T cell receptor microclusters (TCR MCs) and the integrin leukocyte functional antigen 1 (LFA-1). Using structured-illumination microscopy (SIM), we show that actin arcs populating the medial, lamella-like region of the IS arise from linear actin filaments generated by one or more formins present at the IS distal edge. After traversing the outer, Arp2/3-generated, lamellipodia-like region of the IS, these linear filaments are organized by myosin II into antiparallel concentric arcs. Three-dimensional SIM shows that active LFA-1 often aligns with arcs, whereas TCR MCs commonly reside between arcs, and total internal reflection fluorescence SIM shows TCR MCs being swept inward by arcs. Consistently, disrupting actin arc formation via formin inhibition results in less centralized TCR MCs, missegregated integrin clusters, decreased T-B cell adhesion, and diminished TCR signaling. Together, our results define the origin, organization, and functional significance of a major actomyosin contractile structure at the IS that directly propels TCR MC transport.

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10/28/16 | Increased spatiotemporal resolution reveals highly dynamic dense tubular matrices in the peripheral ER.
Nixon-Abell J, Obara CJ, Weigel AV, Li D, Legant WR, Xu C, Pasolli HA, Harvey K, Hess HF, Betzig E, Blackstone C, Lippincott-Schwartz J
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2016 Oct 28;354(6311):433-46. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf3928

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an expansive, membrane-enclosed organelle that plays crucial roles in numerous cellular functions. We used emerging superresolution imaging technologies to clarify the morphology and dynamics of the peripheral ER, which contacts and modulates most other intracellular organelles. Peripheral components of the ER have classically been described as comprising both tubules and flat sheets. We show that this system consists almost exclusively of tubules at varying densities, including structures that we term ER matrices. Conventional optical imaging technologies had led to misidentification of these structures as sheets because of the dense clustering of tubular junctions and a previously uncharacterized rapid form of ER motion. The existence of ER matrices explains previous confounding evidence that had indicated the occurrence of ER “sheet” proliferation after overexpression of tubular junction–forming proteins.

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10/25/16 | V-1 regulates capping protein activity in vivo.
Jung G, Alexander CJ, Wu XS, Piszczek G, Chen B, Betzig E, Hammer JA
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2016 Oct 25;113(43):E6610-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1605350113

Capping Protein (CP) plays a central role in the creation of the Arp2/3-generated branched actin networks comprising lamellipodia and pseudopodia by virtue of its ability to cap the actin filament barbed end, which promotes Arp2/3-dependent filament nucleation and optimal branching. The highly conserved protein V-1/Myotrophin binds CP tightly in vitro to render it incapable of binding the barbed end. Here we addressed the physiological significance of this CP antagonist in Dictyostelium, which expresses a V-1 homolog that we show is very similar biochemically to mouse V-1. Consistent with previous studies of CP knockdown, overexpression of V-1 in Dictyostelium reduced the size of pseudopodia and the cortical content of Arp2/3 and induced the formation of filopodia. Importantly, these effects scaled positively with the degree of V-1 overexpression and were not seen with a V-1 mutant that cannot bind CP. V-1 is present in molar excess over CP, suggesting that it suppresses CP activity in the cytoplasm at steady state. Consistently, cells devoid of V-1, like cells overexpressing CP described previously, exhibited a significant decrease in cellular F-actin content. Moreover, V-1-null cells exhibited pronounced defects in macropinocytosis and chemotactic aggregation that were rescued by V-1, but not by the V-1 mutant. Together, these observations demonstrate that V-1 exerts significant influence in vivo on major actin-based processes via its ability to sequester CP. Finally, we present evidence that V-1's ability to sequester CP is regulated by phosphorylation, suggesting that cells may manipulate the level of active CP to tune their "actin phenotype."

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