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84 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 84 results
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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06/13/17 | A complete electron microscopy volume of the brain of adult Drosophila melanogaster.
Yang 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
bioRxiv. 2017 Jun 13:. doi: 10.1101/140905

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. We validated the dataset by tracing brain-spanning circuitry involving the mushroom body (MB), intensively studied for its role in learning. Here we describe the complete set of olfactory inputs to the MB; find a new cell type providing driving input to Kenyon cells (the intrinsic MB neurons); identify neurons postsynaptic to Kenyon cell dendrites; and find that axonal arbors providing input to the MB calyx are more tightly clustered than previously indicated by light-level data. This freely available EM dataset will significantly accelerate Drosophila neuroscience.

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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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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;19(2):85-93. 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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