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85 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 85 results
07/12/18 | A complete electron microscopy volume of the brain of adult Drosophila melanogaster.
Zheng Z, Lauritzen JS, Perlman E, Robinson CG, Nichols M, Milkie DE, Torrens O, Price J, Fisher CB, Sharifi N, Calle-Schuler SA, Kmecova L, Ali IJ, Karsh B, Trautman ET, Bogovic JA, Hanslovsky P, Jefferis GS, Kazhdan M, Khairy K
Cell. 2018 Jul 12;174(3):730-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.06.019

Drosophila melanogaster has a rich repertoire of innate and learned behaviors. Its 100,000-neuron brain is a large but tractable target for comprehensive neural circuit mapping. Only electron microscopy (EM) enables complete, unbiased mapping of synaptic connectivity; however, the fly brain is too large for conventional EM. We developed a custom high-throughput EM platform and imaged the entire brain of an adult female fly at synaptic resolution. To validate the dataset, we traced brain-spanning circuitry involving the mushroom body (MB), which has been extensively studied for its role in learning. All inputs to Kenyon cells (KCs), the intrinsic neurons of the MB, were mapped, revealing a previously unknown cell type, postsynaptic partners of KC dendrites, and unexpected clustering of olfactory projection neurons. These reconstructions show that this freely available EM volume supports mapping of brain-spanning circuits, which will significantly accelerate Drosophila neuroscience..

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06/19/18 | Lamellar projections in the endolymphatic sac act as a relief valve to regulate inner ear pressure.
Swinburne IA, Mosaliganti KR, Upadhyayula S, Liu T, Hildebrand DG, Tsai TY, Chen A, Al-Obeidi E, Fass AK, Malhotra S, Engert F, Lichtman JW, Kirchausen T, Betzig E, Megason SG
eLife. 2018 Jun 19;7:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.37131

The inner ear is a fluid-filled closed-epithelial structure whose function requires maintenance of an internal hydrostatic pressure and fluid composition. The endolymphatic sac (ES) is a dead-end epithelial tube connected to the inner ear whose function is unclear. ES defects can cause distended ear tissue, a pathology often seen in hearing and balance disorders. Using live imaging of zebrafish larvae, we reveal that the ES undergoes cycles of slow pressure-driven inflation followed by rapid deflation. Absence of these cycles in mutants leads to distended ear tissue. Using serial-section electron microscopy and adaptive optics lattice light-sheet microscopy, we find a pressure relief valve in the ES comprised of partially separated apical junctions and dynamic overlapping basal lamellae that separate under pressure to release fluid. We propose that this lmx1-dependent pressure relief valve is required to maintain fluid homeostasis in the inner ear and other fluid-filled cavities.

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04/20/18 | Observing the cell in its native state: Imaging subcellular dynamics in multicellular organisms.
Liu T, Upadhyayula S, Milkie DE, Singh V, Wang K, Swinburne IA, Mosaliganti KR, Collins ZM, Hiscock TW, Shea J, Kohrman AQ, Medwig TN, Dambournet D, Forster R, Cunniff B, Ruan Y, Yashiro H, Scholpp S, Meyerowitz EM, Hockemeyer D, Drubin DG, Martin BL, Matus DQ, Koyama M, Megason SG, Kirchhausen T, Betzig E
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2018 Apr 20;360(6386):. doi: 10.1126/science.aaq1392

True physiological imaging of subcellular dynamics requires studying cells within their parent organisms, where all the environmental cues that drive gene expression, and hence the phenotypes that we actually observe, are present. A complete understanding also requires volumetric imaging of the cell and its surroundings at high spatiotemporal resolution, without inducing undue stress on either. We combined lattice light-sheet microscopy with adaptive optics to achieve, across large multicellular volumes, noninvasive aberration-free imaging of subcellular processes, including endocytosis, organelle remodeling during mitosis, and the migration of axons, immune cells, and metastatic cancer cells in vivo. The technology reveals the phenotypic diversity within cells across different organisms and developmental stages and may offer insights into how cells harness their intrinsic variability to adapt to different physiological environments.

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09/26/17 | Actin-based protrusions of migrating neutrophils are intrinsically lamellar and facilitate direction changes.
Fritz-Laylin LK, Riel-Mehan M, Chen B, Lord SJ, Goddard TD, Ferrin TE, Nicholson-Dykstra SM, Higgs H, Johnson GT, Betzig E, Mullins RD
eLife. 2017 Sep 26;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26990

Leukocytes and other amoeboid cells change shape as they move, forming highly dynamic, actin-filled pseudopods. Although we understand much about the architecture and dynamics of thin lamellipodia made by slow-moving cells on flat surfaces, conventional light microscopy lacks the spatial and temporal resolution required to track complex pseudopods of cells moving in three dimensions. We therefore employed lattice light sheet microscopy to perform three-dimensional, time-lapse imaging of neutrophil-like HL-60 cells crawling through collagen matrices. To analyze three-dimensional pseudopods we: (i) developed fluorescent probe combinations that distinguish cortical actin from dynamic, pseudopod-forming actin networks, and (ii) adapted molecular visualization tools from structural biology to render and analyze complex cell surfaces. Surprisingly, three-dimensional pseudopods turn out to be composed of thin (<0.75 µm), flat sheets that sometimes interleave to form rosettes. Their laminar nature is not templated by an external surface, but likely reflects a linear arrangement of regulatory molecules. Although we find that Arp2/3-dependent pseudopods are dispensable for three-dimensional locomotion, their elimination dramatically decreases the frequency of cell turning, and pseudopod dynamics increase when cells change direction, highlighting the important role pseudopods play in pathfinding.

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08/18/17 | Contractile actomyosin arcs promote the activation of primary mouse T cells in a ligand-dependent manner.
Hong J, Murugesan S, Betzig E, Hammer JA
PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0183174. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183174

Mechano-transduction is an emerging but still poorly understood component of T cell activation. Here we investigated the ligand-dependent contribution made by contractile actomyosin arcs populating the peripheral supramolecular activation cluster (pSMAC) region of the immunological synapse (IS) to T cell receptor (TCR) microcluster transport and proximal signaling in primary mouse T cells. Using super resolution microscopy, OT1-CD8+ mouse T cells, and two ovalbumin (OVA) peptides with different affinities for the TCR, we show that the generation of organized actomyosin arcs depends on ligand potency and the ability of myosin 2 to contract actin filaments. While weak ligands induce disorganized actomyosin arcs, strong ligands result in organized actomyosin arcs that correlate well with tension-sensitive CasL phosphorylation and the accumulation of ligands at the IS center. Blocking myosin 2 contractility greatly reduces the difference in the extent of Src and LAT phosphorylation observed between the strong and the weak ligand, arguing that myosin 2-dependent force generation within actin arcs contributes to ligand discrimination. Together, our data are consistent with the idea that actomyosin arcs in the pSMAC region of the IS promote a mechano-chemical feedback mechanism that amplifies the accumulation of critical signaling molecules at the IS.

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06/21/17 | Cytoskeletal actin dynamics shape a ramifying actin network underpinning immunological synapse formation.
Fritzsche M, Fernandes RA, Chang VT, Colin-York H, Clausen MP, Felce JH, Galiani S, Erlenkämper C, Santos AM, Heddleston JM, Pedroza-Pacheco I, Waithe D, de la Serna JB, Lagerholm BC, Liu T, Chew T, Betzig E, Davis SJ, Eggeling C
Science Advances. 2017 Jun 21;3(6):e1603032. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1603032

T cell activation and especially trafficking of T cell receptor microclusters during immunological synapse formation are widely thought to rely on cytoskeletal remodeling. However, important details on the involvement of actin in the latter transport processes are missing. Using a suite of advanced optical microscopes to analyze resting and activated T cells, we show that, following contact formation with activating surfaces, these cells sequentially rearrange their cortical actin across the entire cell, creating a previously unreported ramifying actin network above the immunological synapse. This network shows all the characteristics of an inward-growing transportation network and its dynamics correlating with T cell receptor rearrangements. This actin reorganization is accompanied by an increase in the nanoscale actin meshwork size and the dynamic adjustment of the turnover times and filament lengths of two differently sized filamentous actin populations, wherein formin-mediated long actin filaments support a very flat and stiff contact at the immunological synapse interface. The initiation of immunological synapse formation, as highlighted by calcium release, requires markedly little contact with activating surfaces and no cytoskeletal rearrangements. Our work suggests that incipient signaling in T cells initiates global cytoskeletal rearrangements across the whole cell, including a stiffening process for possibly mechanically supporting contact formation at the immunological synapse interface as well as a central ramified transportation network apparently directed at the consolidation of the contact and the delivery of effector functions.

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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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