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28 Publications

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    Sternson Lab
    12/27/01 | Synthesis of 7200 small molecules based on a substructural analysis of the histone deacetylase inhibitors trichostatin and trapoxin.
    Sternson SM, Wong JC, Grozinger CM, Schreiber SL
    Organic Letters. 2001 Dec 27;3(26):4239-42

    Seventy-two hundred potential inhibitors of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzyme family, based on a 1,3-dioxane diversity structure, were synthesized on polystyrene macrobeads. The compounds were arrayed for biological assays in a "one bead-one stock solution" format. Metal-chelating functional groups were used to direct the 1,3-dioxanes to HDAC enzymes, which are zinc hydrolases. Representative structures from this library were tested for inhibitory activity and the 1,3-dioxane structure was shown to be compatible with HDAC inhibition. [structure: see text]

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    12/15/01 | Miniature motorized microdrive and commutator system for chronic neural recording in small animals.
    Fee MS, Leonardo A
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2001 Dec 15;112(2):83-94

    The use of chronically implanted electrodes for neural recordings in small, freely behaving animals poses several unique technical challenges. Because of the need for an extremely lightweight apparatus, chronic recording technology has been limited to manually operated microdrives, despite the advantage of motorized manipulators for positioning electrodes. Here we describe a motorized, miniature chronically implantable microdrive for independently positioning three electrodes in the brain. The electrodes are controlled remotely, avoiding the need to disturb the animal during electrode positioning. The microdrive is approximately 6 mm in diameter, 17 mm high and weighs only 1.5 g, including the headstage preamplifier. Use of the motorized microdrive has produced a ten-fold increase in our data yield compared to those experiments done using a manually operated drive. In addition, we are able to record from multiple single neurons in the behaving animal with signal quality comparable to that seen in a head-fixed anesthetized animal. We also describe a motorized commutator that actively tracks animal rotation based on a measurement of torque in the tether.

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    12/08/01 | Dichotomy of action-potential backpropagation in CA1 pyramidal neuron dendrites.
    Golding NL, Kath WL, Spruston N
    J Neurophysiol. 2001 Dec;86(6):2998-3010

    In hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, action potentials are typically initiated in the axon and backpropagate into the dendrites, shaping the integration of synaptic activity and influencing the induction of synaptic plasticity. Despite previous reports describing action-potential propagation in the proximal apical dendrites, the extent to which action potentials invade the distal dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons remains controversial. Using paired somatic and dendritic whole cell recordings, we find that in the dendrites proximal to 280 microm from the soma, single backpropagating action potentials exhibit <50% attenuation from their amplitude in the soma. However, in dendritic recordings distal to 300 microm from the soma, action potentials in most cells backpropagated either strongly (26-42% attenuation; n = 9/20) or weakly (71-87% attenuation; n = 10/20) with only one cell exhibiting an intermediate value (45% attenuation). In experiments combining dual somatic and dendritic whole cell recordings with calcium imaging, the amount of calcium influx triggered by backpropagating action potentials was correlated with the extent of action-potential invasion of the distal dendrites. Quantitative morphometric analyses revealed that the dichotomy in action-potential backpropagation occurred in the presence of only subtle differences in either the diameter of the primary apical dendrite or branching pattern. In addition, action-potential backpropagation was not dependent on a number of electrophysiological parameters (input resistance, resting potential, voltage sensitivity of dendritic spike amplitude). There was, however, a striking correlation of the shape of the action potential at the soma with its amplitude in the dendrite; larger, faster-rising, and narrower somatic action potentials exhibited more attenuation in the distal dendrites (300-410 microm from the soma). Simple compartmental models of CA1 pyramidal neurons revealed that a dichotomy in action-potential backpropagation could be generated in response to subtle manipulations of the distribution of either sodium or potassium channels in the dendrites. Backpropagation efficacy could also be influenced by local alterations in dendritic side branches, but these effects were highly sensitive to model parameters. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that the observed dichotomy in dendritic action-potential amplitude is conferred primarily by differences in the distribution, density, or modulatory state of voltage-gated channels along the somatodendritic axis.

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    11/19/01 | Tiling of the body wall by multidendritic sensory neurons in Manduca sexta.
    Grueber WB, Graubard K, Truman JW
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2001 Nov 19;440(3):271-83. doi: 10.1002/cne.1385

    A plexus of multidendritic sensory neurons, the dendritic arborization (da) neurons, innervates the epidermis of soft-bodied insects. Previous studies have indicated that the plexus may comprise distinct subtypes of da neurons, which utilize diverse cyclic 3’,5’-guanosine monophosphate signaling pathways and could serve several functions. Here, we identify three distinct classes of da neurons in Manduca, which we term the alpha, beta, and gamma classes. These three classes differ in their sensory responses, branch complexity, peripheral dendritic fields, and axonal projections. The two identified alpha neurons branch over defined regions of the body wall, which in some cases correspond to specific natural folds of the cuticle. These cells project to an intermediate region of the neuropil and appear to function as proprioceptors. Three beta neurons are characterized by long, sinuous dendritic branches and axons that terminate in the ventral neuropil. The function of this group of neurons is unknown. Four neurons belonging to the gamma class have the most complex peripheral dendrites. A representative gamma neuron responds to forceful touch of the cuticle. Although the dendrites of da neurons of different classes may overlap extensively, cells belonging to the same class show minimal dendritic overlap. As a result, the body wall is independently tiled by the beta and gamma da neurons and partially innervated by the alpha neurons. These properties of the da system likely allow insects to discriminate the quality and location of several types of stimuli acting on the cuticle.

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    11/13/01 | Body-size evolution: how to evolve a mammoth moth.
    Stern D
    Curr Biol. 2001 Nov 13;11(22):R917-9

    Separate recent studies have revealed the physiological changes underlying the evolution of body size in an insect and advanced our understanding of the genetics of insect growth. These studies highlight the gulf between physiological and genetic studies of growth control and the exciting opportunities for unification of these fields.

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    10/09/01 | Life on carbon monoxide: X-ray structure of Rhodospirillum rubrum Ni-Fe-S carbon monoxide dehydrogenase.
    Drennan CL, Heo J, Sintchak MD, Schreiter ER, Ludden PW
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2001-10-09;98(21):11973-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.211429998

    A crystal structure of the anaerobic Ni-Fe-S carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH) from Rhodospirillum rubrum has been determined to 2.8-Å resolution. The CODH family, for which the R. rubrum enzyme is the prototype, catalyzes the biological oxidation of CO at an unusual Ni-Fe-S cluster called the C-cluster. The Ni-Fe-S C-cluster contains a mononuclear site and a four-metal cubane. Surprisingly, anomalous dispersion data suggest that the mononuclear site contains Fe and not Ni, and the four-metal cubane has the form [NiFe3S4] and not [Fe4S4]. The mononuclear site and the four-metal cluster are bridged by means of Cys531 and one of the sulfides of the cube. CODH is organized as a dimer with a previously unidentified [Fe4S4] cluster bridging the two subunits. Each monomer is comprised of three domains: a helical domain at the N terminus, an α/β (Rossmann-like) domain in the middle, and an α/β (Rossmann-like) domain at the C terminus. The helical domain contributes ligands to the bridging [Fe4S4] cluster and another [Fe4S4] cluster, the B-cluster, which is involved in electron transfer. The two Rossmann domains contribute ligands to the active site C-cluster. This x-ray structure provides insight into the mechanism of biological CO oxidation and has broader significance for the roles of Ni and Fe in biological systems.

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    Egnor Lab
    10/01/01 | Effects of binaural decorrelation on neural and behavioral processing of interaural level differences in the barn owl (Tyto alba).
    Egnor SE
    Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology. 2001 Oct;187(8):589-95

    The effect of binaural decorrelation on the processing of interaural level difference cues in the barn owl (Tyto alba) was examined behaviorally and electrophysiologically. The electrophysiology experiment measured the effect of variations in binaural correlation on the first stage of interaural level difference encoding in the central nervous system. The responses of single neurons in the posterior part of the ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus were recorded to stimulation with binaurally correlated and binaurally uncorrelated noise. No significant differences in interaural level difference sensitivity were found between conditions. Neurons in the posterior part of the ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus encode the interaural level difference of binaurally correlated and binaurally uncorrelated noise with equal accuracy and precision. This nucleus therefore supplies higher auditory centers with an undegraded interaural level difference signal for sound stimuli that lack a coherent interaural time difference. The behavioral experiment measured auditory saccades in response to interaural level differences presented in binaurally correlated and binaurally uncorrelated noise. The precision and accuracy of sound localization based on interaural level difference was reduced but not eliminated for binaurally uncorrelated signals. The observation that barn owls continue to vary auditory saccades with the interaural level difference of binaurally uncorrelated stimuli suggests that neurons that drive head saccades can be activated by incomplete auditory spatial information.

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    Murphy Lab

    NMDA receptors (NMDARs) typically contribute to excitatory synaptic transmission in the CNS. While Ca(2+) influx through NMDARs plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity, direct actions of NMDAR-mediated Ca(2+) influx on neuronal excitability have not been well established. Here we show that Ca(2+) influx through NMDARs is directly coupled to activation of BK-type Ca(2+)-activated K+ channels in outside-out membrane patches from rat olfactory bulb granule cells. Repetitive stimulation of glutamatergic synapses in olfactory bulb slices evokes a slow inhibitory postsynaptic current (IPSC) in granule cells that requires both NMDARs and BK channels. The slow IPSC is enhanced by glutamate uptake blockers, suggesting that extrasynaptic NMDARs underlie the response. These findings reveal a novel inhibitory action of extrasynaptic NMDARs in the brain.

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    09/27/01 | Manipulation of ligand binding affinity by exploitation of conformational coupling.
    Marvin JS, Hellinga HW
    Nature Structural Biology. 2001 Sep 27;8(9):795-8. doi: 10.1038/nsb0901-795

    Traditional approaches for increasing the affinity of a protein for its ligand focus on constructing improved surface complementarity in the complex by altering the protein binding site to better fit the ligand. Here we present a novel strategy that leaves the binding site intact, while residues that allosterically affect binding are mutated. This method takes advantage of conformationally distinct states, each with different ligand-binding affinities, and manipulates the equilibria between these conformations. We demonstrate this approach in the Escherichia coli maltose binding protein by introducing mutations, located at some distance from the ligand binding pocket, that sterically affect the equilibrium between an open, apo-state and a closed, ligand-bound state. A family of 20 variants was generated with affinities ranging from an approximately 100-fold improvement (7.4 nM) to an approximately two-fold weakening (1.8 mM) relative to the wild type protein (800 nM).

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    Gonen Lab
    08/14/01 | MP20, the second most abundant lens membrane protein and member of the tetraspanin superfamily, joins the list of ligands of galectin-3.
    Gonen T, Grey AC, Jacobs MD, Donaldson PJ, Kistler J
    BMC Cell Biology. 2001 - Aug;2:17. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-2-17

    BACKGROUND: Although MP20 is the second most highly expressed membrane protein in the lens its function remains an enigma. Putative functions for MP20 have recently been inferred from its assignment to the tetraspanin superfamily of integral membrane proteins. Members of this family have been shown to be involved in cellular proliferation, differentiation, migration, and adhesion. In this study, we show that MP20 associates with galectin-3, a known adhesion modulator.

    RESULTS: MP20 and galectin-3 co-localized in selected areas of the lens fiber cell plasma membrane. Individually, these proteins purified with apparent molecular masses of 60 kDa and 22 kDa, respectively. A 104 kDa complex was formed in vitro upon mixing the purified proteins. A 102 kDa complex of MP20 and galectin-3 could also be isolated from detergent-solubilized native fiber cell membranes. Binding between MP20 and galectin-3 was disrupted by lactose suggesting the lectin site was involved in the interaction.

    CONCLUSIONS: MP20 adds to a growing list of ligands of galectin-3 and appears to be the first representative of the tetraspanin superfamily identified to possess this specificity.

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