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2 Publications

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    11/14/18 | Ultralarge modulation of fluorescence by neuromodulators in carbon nanotubes functionalized with self-assembled oligonucleotide rings.
    Beyene AG, Alizadehmojarad AA, Dorlhiac G, Goh N, Streets AM, Král P, Vuković L, Landry MP
    Nano Letters. 2018 Nov 14;18(11):6995-7003. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02937

    Noncovalent interactions between single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) oligonucleotides and single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have provided a unique class of tunable chemistries for a variety of applications. However, mechanistic insight into both the photophysical and intermolecular phenomena underlying their utility is lacking, which results in obligate heuristic approaches for producing ssDNA-SWNT based technologies. In this work, we present an ultrasensitive "turn-on" nanosensor for neuromodulators dopamine and norepinephrine with strong relative change in fluorescence intensity (Δ F/ F) of up to 3500%, a signal appropriate for in vivo neuroimaging, and uncover the photophysical principles and intermolecular interactions that govern the molecular recognition and fluorescence modulation of this nanosensor synthesized from the spontaneous self-assembly of (GT) ssDNA rings on SWNTs. The fluorescence modulation of the ssDNA-SWNT conjugate is shown to exhibit remarkable sensitivity to the ssDNA sequence chemistry, length, and surface density, providing a set of parameters with which to tune nanosensor dynamic range, analyte selectivity and strength of fluorescence turn-on. We employ classical and quantum mechanical molecular dynamics simulations to rationalize our experimental findings. Calculations show that (GT) ssDNA form ordered rings around (9,4) SWNTs, inducing periodic surface potentials that modulate exciton recombination lifetimes. Further evidence is presented to elucidate how dopamine analyte binding modulates SWNT fluorescence. We discuss the implications of our findings for SWNT-based molecular imaging applications.

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    11/13/18 | New optical probes bring dopamine to light.
    Beyene AG, Delevich K, Yang SJ, Landry MP
    Biochemistry. 2018 Nov 13;57(45):6379-6381. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00883

    Chemical signaling between neurons in the brain can be divided into two major categories: fast synaptic transmission and neuromodulation. Fast synaptic transmission, mediated by amino acids such as glutamate and GABA, occurs on millisecond time scales and results in the influx of ions through ligand-gated ion channels on postsynaptic neurons (Figure 1A). Electrophysiological and optical imaging tools, including genetically encoded voltage indicators, have enabled neuroscientists to link cause (neurotransmitter release) and effect (membrane polarization) of synaptic transmission in time and space. Unlike classical neurotransmitters, neuromodulators do not produce immediate electrical effects that excite or inhibit target neurons. Instead, neuromodulators tune the intrinsic or synaptic properties of neurons, most commonly through interaction with G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) (Figure 1B). Neuromodulators can escape the synaptic cleft and diffuse broadly, allowing them to influence the activity of many neurons in a state-dependent manner. Therefore, the spatial component of neuromodulator flux is fundamentally important. However, the temporal and/or spatial limitations of techniques classically used to study neuromodulation, such as microdialysis and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV), make it difficult to interpret how neuromodulator release affects the plasticity or function of target neuronal populations on a moment-to-moment basis. Therefore, tools that can detect neuromodulators with high spatiotemporal resolution are critical for understanding their impact on neural computations that control behavior in health and disease.

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