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58 Publications

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    04/01/03 | Body-size control: how an insect knows it has grown enough.
    Stern D
    Curr Biol. 2003 Apr 1;13(7):R267-9

    Insulin signaling controls organ growth and final body size in insects. Recent results have begun to clarify how insulin signaling drives organ growth to match nutrient levels, but have not yet elucidated how insulin signaling controls final body size.

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    Magee Lab
    04/01/03 | Mechanism of the distance-dependent scaling of Schaffer collateral synapses in rat CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Smith MA, Ellis-Davies GC, Magee JC
    The Journal of Physiology. 2003 Apr 1;548(Pt 1):245-58. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Schaffer collateral axons form excitatory synapses that are distributed across much of the dendritic arborization of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Remarkably, AMPA-receptor-mediated miniature EPSP amplitudes at the soma are relatively independent of synapse location, despite widely different degrees of dendritic filtering. A progressive increase with distance in synaptic conductance is thought to produce this amplitude normalization. In this study we examined the mechanism(s) responsible for spatial scaling by making whole-cell recordings from the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. We found no evidence to suggest that there is any location dependence to the range of cleft glutamate concentrations found at Schaffer collateral synapses. Furthermore, we observed that release probability (Pr), paired-pulse facilitation and the size of the readily releasable vesicular pool are not dependent on synapse location. Thus, there do not appear to be any changes in the fundamental presynaptic properties of Schaffer collateral synapses that could account for distance-dependent scaling. On the other hand, two-photon uncaging of 4-methoxy-7-nitroindolinyl-caged L-glutamate onto isolated dendritic spines shows that the number of postsynaptic AMPA receptors per spine increases with distance from the soma. We conclude, therefore, that the main synaptic mechanism involved in the production of distance-dependent scaling of Schaffer collateral synapses is an elevated postsynaptic AMPA receptor density.

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    03/27/03 | Calculating free energies for diffusion in tight-fitting zeolite-guest systems: Local normal-mode Monte Carlo
    Srinivas C. Turaga , Scott M. Auerbach
    Journal of Chemical Physics. 2003;118(6512):. doi: 10.1063/1.1558033

    We present an efficient Monte Carlo algorithm for simulating diffusion in tight-fitting host–guest systems, based on using zeolitenormal modes. Computational efficiency is gained by sampling framework distortions using normal-mode coordinates, and by exploiting the fact that zeolite distortion energies are well approximated by harmonic estimates. Additional savings are obtained by performing local normal-mode analysis, i.e., only including the motions of zeolite atoms close to the jumping molecule, hence focusing the calculation on zeolite distortions relevant to guest diffusion. We performed normal-mode analysis on various silicalite structures to demonstrate the accuracy of the harmonic approximation. We computed free energy surfaces for benzene in silicalite, finding excellent agreement with previous theoretical studies. Our method is found to be orders-of-magnitude faster than comparable Monte Carlo calculations that use conventional forcefields to quantify zeolite distortion energies. For tight-fitting guests, the efficiency of our new method allows flexible-lattice simulations to converge in less CPU time than that required for fixed-lattice simulations, because of the increased likelihood of jumping through a flexible lattice.

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    Magee Lab
    03/01/03 | Haploinsufficiency at the Nkx3.1 locus. A paradigm for stochastic, dosage-sensitive gene regulation during tumor initiation.
    Magee JA, Abdulkadir SA, Milbrandt J
    Cancer Cell. 2003 Mar;3(3):273-83. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Tumorigenesis requires sequential accumulation of multiple genetic lesions. In the prostate, tumor initiation is often linked to loss of heterozygosity at the Nkx3.1 locus. In mice, loss of even one Nkx3.1 allele causes prostatic epithelial hyperplasia and eventual prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) formation. Here we demonstrate that Nkx3.1 allelic loss extends the proliferative stage of regenerating luminal cells, leading to epithelial hyperplasia. Microarray analysis identified Nkx3.1 target genes, many of which show exquisite dosage sensitivity. The number of Nkx3.1 alleles determines the relative probabilities of stochastic activation or inactivation of a given target gene. Thus, loss of a single Nkx3.1 allele likely results in hyperplasia and PIN by increasing the probability of completely inactivating select Nkx3.1-regulated pathways within a subset of affected cells.

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    02/24/03 | Microwave oven synthesis of esters promoted by imidazole.
    Hirose T, Kopek BG, Wang Z, Yusa R, Baldwin BW
    Tetrahedron Letters. 2003 Feb 24;44:1831-3

    Using imidazole as promotion agent, primary, secondary and phenolic alcohol compounds were esterified with aliphatic and aromatic carboxylic acid anhydrides. Heating a ternary mixture of alcohol, anhydride and imidazole in an unmodified microwave oven produced esters in low to high yields, depending on the steric bulk of the alcohol.

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    Murphy Lab

    Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGCs) on the dendritic cilia of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) are critical for sensory transduction in the olfactory system. Do CNGCs also play a role in the axons and/or nerve terminals of ORNs? We find that the cyclic nucleotides cAMP and cGMP can both facilitate and depress synaptic transmission between olfactory nerve fibers and their targets in olfactory bulb glomeruli. Cyclic nucleotides increase intracellular Ca(2+) in ORN terminals and enhance spontaneous transmitter release; at higher concentrations, cyclic nucleotides depress evoked transmission by altering olfactory nerve excitability. Cyclic nucleotides have no effect on transmission or nerve excitability, however, in mice lacking olfactory CNGCs. Taken together, our results identify a novel role for presynaptic CNGCs in modulating neurotransmission.

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    Pastalkova LabKeleman Lab
    02/18/03 | Operant behavior can be triggered by the position of the rat relative to objects rotating on an inaccessible platform.
    Pastalkova E, Kelemen E, Bures J
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):2094-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0438002100

    The present study describes a task testing the ability of rats to trigger operant behavior by their relative spatial position to inaccessible rotating objects. Rats were placed in a Skinner box with a transparent front wall through which they could observe one or two adjacent objects fixed on a slowly rotating arena (d = 1 m) surrounded by an immobile black cylinder. The direction of arena rotation was alternated at a sequence of different time intervals. Rats were reinforced for the first bar-press that was emitted when a radius separating the two adjacent objects or dividing a single object into two halves (pointing radius) entered a 60 degrees sector of its circular trajectory defined with respect to the stationary Skinner box (reward sector). Well trained rats emitted 62.1 +/- 3.6% of responses in a 60 degrees sector preceding the reward sector and in the first 30 degrees of the reward sector. Response rate increased only when the pointing radius was approaching the reward sector, regardless of the time elapsed from the last reward. In the extinction session, when no reward was delivered, rats responded during the whole passage of the pointing radius through the former reward sector and spontaneously decreased responding after the pointing radius left this area. This finding suggests that rats perceived the reward sector as a continuous single region. The same results were obtained when the Skinner box with the rat was orbiting around the immobile scene. It is concluded that rats can recognize and anticipate their position relative to movable objects.

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    02/15/03 | A comparison of parthenogenetic and sexual embryogenesis of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea).
    Miura T, Braendle C, Shingleton A, Sisk G, Kambhampati S, Stern DL
    J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol. 2003 Feb 15;295(1):59-81. doi: 10.1002/jez.b.3

    Aphids exhibit divergent modes of embryogenesis during the sexual and asexual phases of the life cycle. To explore how a single genome can give rise to these alternative developmental modes, we have initiated embryological studies of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Here we present a detailed description of parthenogenetic, viviparous embryonic development in the pea aphid. We compare and contrast development of the parthenogenetic embryo with that of the embryo resulting from sexual reproduction. The primary difference between the embryos is the scale on which development occurs: early parthenogenetic development occurs in a volume approximately three orders of magnitude smaller than the sexual egg, largely because of the apparent absence of yolk in the parthenogenetic egg. This results in a drastically different duration of syncytial energid cleavage and, presumably, patterning processes in the two embryos must act at scales that differ by orders of magnitude. The eggs also develop on time scales that differ approximately by an order of magnitude and the timing of the embryonic movements, collectively called blastokinesis, have temporally shifted relative to growth of the embryo. In addition, the endosymbiotic bacteria are transferred from mother to embryo in different ways in the two embryos. Finally, the function of the serosa has diverged greatly in the two embryos: in the sexual egg the serosa deposits a thick cuticle that protects the egg, whereas the serosa of the parthenogenetic embryo is greatly reduced and its function is unclear. The pea aphid is a useful model system for examining how a single genome has evolved to allow divergent modes of development.

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    Zuker Lab
    02/07/03 | Coding of sweet, bitter, and umami tastes: different receptor cells sharing similar signaling pathways.
    Zhang Y, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Mueller KL, Cook B, Wu D, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ
    Cell. 2003 Feb 7;112(3):293-301

    Mammals can taste a wide repertoire of chemosensory stimuli. Two unrelated families of receptors (T1Rs and T2Rs) mediate responses to sweet, amino acids, and bitter compounds. Here, we demonstrate that knockouts of TRPM5, a taste TRP ion channel, or PLCbeta2, a phospholipase C selectively expressed in taste tissue, abolish sweet, amino acid, and bitter taste reception, but do not impact sour or salty tastes. Therefore, despite relying on different receptors, sweet, amino acid, and bitter transduction converge on common signaling molecules. Using PLCbeta2 taste-blind animals, we then examined a fundamental question in taste perception: how taste modalities are encoded at the cellular level. Mice engineered to rescue PLCbeta2 function exclusively in bitter-receptor expressing cells respond normally to bitter tastants but do not taste sweet or amino acid stimuli. Thus, bitter is encoded independently of sweet and amino acids, and taste receptor cells are not broadly tuned across these modalities.

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    02/07/03 | TGF-beta signaling activates steroid hormone receptor expression during neuronal remodeling in the Drosophila brain.
    Zheng X, Wang J, Haerry TE, Wu AY, Martin J, O’Connor MB, Lee CJ, Lee T
    Cell. 2003 Feb 7;112(3):303-15

    Metamorphosis of the Drosophila brain involves pruning of many larval-specific dendrites and axons followed by outgrowth of adult-specific processes. From a genetic mosaic screen, we recovered two independent mutations that block neuronal remodeling in the mushroom bodies (MBs). These phenotypically indistinguishable mutations affect Baboon function, a Drosophila TGF-beta/activin type I receptor, and dSmad2, its downstream transcriptional effector. We also show that Punt and Wit, two type II receptors, act redundantly in this process. In addition, knocking out dActivin around the mid-third instar stage interferes with remodeling. Binding of the insect steroid hormone ecdysone to distinct ecdysone receptor isoforms induces different metamorphic responses in various larval tissues. Interestingly, expression of the ecdysone receptor B1 isoform (EcR-B1) is reduced in activin pathway mutants, and restoring EcR-B1 expression significantly rescues remodeling defects. We conclude that the Drosophila Activin signaling pathway mediates neuronal remodeling in part by regulating EcR-B1 expression.

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