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Beyene Lab / Publications
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3 Publications

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    01/22/22 | Visualizing Synaptic Dopamine Efflux with a 2D Nanofilm.
    Chandima Bulumulla , Andrew T. Krasley , Deepika Walpita , Abraham G. Beyene
    bioRxiv. 2022 Jan 22:. doi: 10.1101/2022.01.19.476937

    Chemical neurotransmission constitutes one of the fundamental modalities of communication between neurons. Monitoring release of these chemicals has traditionally been difficult to carry out at spatial and temporal scales relevant to neuron function. To understand chemical neurotransmission more fully, we need to improve the spatial and temporal resolutions of measurements for neurotransmitter release. To address this, we engineered a chemi-sensitive, two-dimensional nanofilm that facilitates subcellular visualization of the release and diffusion of the neurochemical dopamine with synaptic resolution, quantal sensitivity, and simultaneously from hundreds of release sites. Using this technology, we were able to monitor the spatiotemporal dynamics of dopamine release in dendritic processes, a poorly understood phenomenon. We found that dopamine release is broadcast from a subset of dendritic processes as hotspots that have a mean spatial spread of ≈3.2 µm (full width at half maximum) and are observed with a mean spatial frequency of 1 hotspot per ≈7.5 µm of dendritic length. Major dendrites of dopamine neurons and fine dendritic processes, as well as dendritic arbors and dendrites with no apparent varicose morphology participated in dopamine release. Remarkably, these release hotspots colocalized with Bassoon, suggesting that Bassoon may contribute to organizing active zones in dendrites, similar to its role in axon terminals.

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    05/21/21 | Near-infrared catecholamine nanosensors for high spatiotemporal dopamine imaging.
    Yang SJ, Del Bonis-O'Donnell JT, Beyene AG, Landry MP
    Nature Protocols. 2021 May 21;16(6):3026-3048. doi: 10.1038/s41596-021-00530-4

    Dopamine neuromodulation of neural synapses is a process implicated in a number of critical brain functions and diseases. Development of protocols to visualize this dynamic neurochemical process is essential to understanding how dopamine modulates brain function. We have developed a non-genetically encoded, near-IR (nIR) catecholamine nanosensor (nIRCat) capable of identifying ~2-µm dopamine release hotspots in dorsal striatal brain slices. nIRCat is readily synthesized through sonication of single walled carbon nanotubes with DNA oligos, can be readily introduced into both genetically tractable and intractable organisms and is compatible with a number of dopamine receptor agonists and antagonists. Here we describe the synthesis, characterization and implementation of nIRCat in acute mouse brain slices. We demonstrate how nIRCat can be used to image electrically or optogenetically stimulated dopamine release, and how these procedures can be leveraged to study the effects of dopamine receptor pharmacology. In addition, we provide suggestions for building or adapting wide-field microscopy to be compatible with nIRCat nIR fluorescence imaging. We discuss strategies for analyzing nIR video data to identify dopamine release hotspots and quantify their kinetics. This protocol can be adapted and implemented for imaging other neuromodulators by using probes of this class and can be used in a broad range of species without genetic manipulation. The synthesis and characterization protocols for nIRCat take ~5 h, and the preparation and fluorescence imaging of live brain slices by using nIRCats require ~6 h.

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    11/01/20 | A community for Black chemists.
    Beyene AG, Panescu P
    Nature Chemistry. 2020 Nov 01;12(11):988-989. doi: 10.1038/s41557-020-00572-3