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92 Publications

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    02/01/06 | A novel spectroscopic probe for molecular chirality.
    Ji N, Shen Y
    Chirality. 2006 Feb;18(3):146-58. doi: 10.1002/chir.20238

    Recent advances in developing sum frequency generation (SFG) as a novel spectroscopic probe for molecular chirality are reviewed. The basic principle underlying the technique is briefly described, in comparison with circular dichroism (CD). The significantly better sensitivity of the technique than CD is pointed out, and the reason is discussed. Bi-naphthol (BN) and amino acids are used as representatives for two different types of chiral molecules; the measured chirality in their electronic transitions can be understood by two different molecular models, respectively, that are extensions of models developed earlier for CD. Optically active or chiral SFG from vibrational transitions are weaker, but with the help of electronic-vibrational double resonance, the vibrational spectrum of a monolayer of BN has been obtained. Generally, optically active SFG is sufficiently sensitive to be employed to probe in-situ chirality of chiral monolayers and thin films.

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    02/01/06 | Hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih) is an ethanol target in midbrain dopamine neurons of mice.
    Okamoto T, Harnett MT, Morikawa H
    Journal of Neurophysiology. 2006 Feb;95:619-26. doi: 10.1152/jn.00682.2005

    Ethanol stimulates the firing activity of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, leading to enhanced dopaminergic transmission in the mesolimbic system. This effect is thought to underlie the behavioral reinforcement of alcohol intake. Ethanol has been shown to directly enhance the intrinsic pacemaker activity of DA neurons, yet the cellular mechanism mediating this excitation remains poorly understood. The hyperpolarization-activated cation current, Ih, is known to contribute to the pacemaker firing of DA neurons. To determine the role of Ih in ethanol excitation of DA neurons, we performed patch-clamp recordings in acutely prepared mouse midbrain slices. Superfusion of ethanol increased the spontaneous firing frequency of DA neurons in a reversible fashion. Treatment with ZD7288, a blocker of Ih, irreversibly depressed basal firing frequency and significantly attenuated the stimulatory effect of ethanol on firing. Furthermore, ethanol reversibly augmented Ih amplitude and accelerated its activation kinetics. This effect of ethanol was accompanied by a shift in the voltage dependence of Ih activation to more depolarized potentials and an increase in the maximum Ih conductance. Cyclic AMP mediated the depolarizing shift in Ih activation but not the increase in the maximum conductance. Finally, repeated ethanol treatment in vivo induced downregulation of Ih density in DA neurons and an accompanying reduction in the magnitude of ethanol stimulation of firing. These results suggest an important role of Ih in the reinforcing actions of ethanol and in the neuroadaptations underlying escalation of alcohol consumption associated with alcoholism.

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    02/01/06 | Life sciences require the third dimension.
    Keller PJ, Pampaloni F, Stelzer EH
    Current Opinion in Cell Biology. 2006 Feb;18(1):117-24. doi: 10.1016/

    Novel technologies are required for three-dimensional cell biology and biophysics. By three-dimensional we refer to experimental conditions that essentially try to avoid hard and flat surfaces and favour unconstrained sample dynamics. We believe that light-sheet-based microscopes are particularly well suited to studies of sensitive three-dimensional biological systems. The application of such instruments can be illustrated with examples from the biophysics of microtubule dynamics and three-dimensional cell cultures. Our experience leads us to suggest that three-dimensional approaches reveal new aspects of a system and enable experiments to be performed in a more physiological and hence clinically more relevant context.

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    Magee Lab
    02/01/06 | Sleep deprivation-induced alterations in excitatory synaptic transmission in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus.
    McDermott CM, Hardy MN, Bazan NG, Magee JC
    The Journal of Physiology. 2006 Feb 1;570(Pt 3):553-65. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Although the function of sleep remains elusive, there is compelling evidence to suggest that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. A number of studies have now shown that sleep deprivation (SD) results in significant impairment of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. In this study, we have attempted to determine the mechanisms responsible for this impairment. After 72 h SD using the multiple-platform technique, we observed a reduction in the whole-cell recorded NMDA/AMPA ratio of CA1 pyramidal cells in response to Schaffer collateral stimulation. This impairment was specific to sleep deprivation as rats placed over a single large platform, which allowed sleep, had a normal NMDA/AMPA ratio. mEPSCs evoked by local application of a high osmolarity solution revealed no differences in the AMPA receptor function. NMDA currents recorded from outside-out patches excised from the distal dendrites of CA1 cells displayed a reduction in amplitude after SD. While there were no alterations in the glutamate sensitivity, channel open probability or the single channel conductance of the receptor, a crosslinking assay demonstrated that the NR1 and NR2A subunits of NMDA receptors were preferentially retained in the cytoplasm after SD, indicating that SD alters NMDAR surface expression. In summary, we have identified a potential mechanism underlying SD-induced LTP impairment. This synaptic alteration may underlie the cognitive deficits seen following sleep deprivation and could represent a target for future intervention studies.

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    01/11/06 | Functional dissection of a neuronal network required for cuticle tanning and wing expansion in Drosophila.
    Luan H, Lemon WC, Peabody NC, Pohl JB, Zelensky PK, Wang D, Nitabach MN, Holmes TC, White BH
    The Journal of Neuroscience The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2006 Jan 11;26(2):573-84. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3916-05.2006

    A subset of Drosophila neurons that expresses crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) has been shown previously to make the hormone bursicon, which is required for cuticle tanning and wing expansion after eclosion. Here we present evidence that CCAP-expressing neurons (NCCAP) consist of two functionally distinct groups, one of which releases bursicon into the hemolymph and the other of which regulates its release. The first group, which we call NCCAP-c929, includes 14 bursicon-expressing neurons of the abdominal ganglion that lie within the expression pattern of the enhancer-trap line c929-Gal4. We show that suppression of activity within this group blocks bursicon release into the hemolymph together with tanning and wing expansion. The second group, which we call NCCAP-R, consists of NCCAP neurons outside the c929-Gal4 pattern. Because suppression of synaptic transmission and protein kinase A (PKA) activity throughout NCCAP, but not in NCCAP-c929, also blocks tanning and wing expansion, we conclude that neurotransmission and PKA are required in NCCAP-R to regulate bursicon secretion from NCCAP-c929. Enhancement of electrical activity in NCCAP-R by expression of the bacterial sodium channel NaChBac also blocks tanning and wing expansion and leads to depletion of bursicon from central processes. NaChBac expression in NCCAP-c929 is without effect, suggesting that the abdominal bursicon-secreting neurons are likely to be silent until stimulated to release the hormone. Our results suggest that NCCAP form an interacting neuronal network responsible for the regulation and release of bursicon and suggest a model in which PKA-mediated stimulation of inputs to normally quiescent bursicon-expressing neurons activates release of the hormone.

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    01/10/06 | Division accuracy in a stochastic model of Min oscillations in Escherichia coli.
    Kerr RA, Levine H, Sejnowski TJ, Rappel W
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006 Jan 10;103(2):347-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0505825102

    Accurate cell division in Escherichia coli requires the Min proteins MinC, MinD, and MinE as well as the presence of nucleoids. MinD and MinE exhibit spatial oscillations, moving from pole to pole of the bacterium, resulting in an average MinD concentration that is low at the center of the cell and high at the poles. This concentration minimum is thought to signal the site of cell division. Deterministic models of the Min oscillations reproduce many observed features of the system, including the concentration minimum of MinD. However, there are only a few thousand Min proteins in a bacterium, so stochastic effects are likely to play an important role. Here, we show that Monte Carlo simulations with a large number of proteins agree well with the results from a deterministic treatment of the equations. The location of minimum local MinD concentration is too variable to account for cell division accuracy in wild type but is consistent with the accuracy of cell division in cells without nucleoids. This finding confirms the need to include additional mechanisms, such as reciprocal interactions with the cell division ring or positioning of the nucleoids, to explain wild-type accuracy.

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    Magee Lab
    01/06/06 | Direct, androgen receptor-mediated regulation of the FKBP5 gene via a distal enhancer element.
    Magee JA, Chang L, Stormo GD, Milbrandt J
    Endocrinology. 2006 Jan 6;147(1):590-8. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Androgen signaling via the androgen receptor (AR) transcription factor is crucial to normal prostate homeostasis and prostate tumorigenesis. Current models of AR function are predominantly based on studies of prostate-specific antigen regulation in androgen-responsive cell lines. To expand on these in vitro paradigms, we used the mouse prostate to elucidate the mechanisms through which AR regulates another direct target, FKBP5, in vivo. FKBP5 encodes an immunophilin that has been previously implicated in glucocorticoid and progestin signaling pathways and that likely influences prostate physiology in the presence of androgens. In this work, we show that androgens directly regulate FKBP5 via an interaction between the AR and a distal enhancer located 65 kb downstream of the transcription start site in the fifth intron of the FKBP5 gene. We have found that AR selectively recruits cAMP response element-binding protein to this enhancer. These interactions, in turn, result in chromatin remodeling that affects the enhancer proper but not the FKBP5 locus as a whole. Furthermore, in contrast to prostate-specific antigen-regulatory mechanisms, we show that transactivation of the FKBP5 gene does not rely on a single looping complex to mediate communication between the distal enhancer and proximal promoter. Rather, the distal enhancer complex and basal transcription apparatus communicate indirectly with one another, implicating a regulatory mechanism that has not been previously appreciated for AR target genes.

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    01/03/06 | Dendritic patch-clamp recording.
    Davie JT, Kole MH, Letzkus JJ, Rancz EA, Spruston N, Stuart GJ, Häusser M
    Nature Protocols. 2006;1(3):1235-47. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.164

    The patch-clamp technique allows investigation of the electrical excitability of neurons and the functional properties and densities of ion channels. Most patch-clamp recordings from neurons have been made from the soma, the largest structure of individual neurons, while their dendrites, which form the majority of the surface area and receive most of the synaptic input, have been relatively neglected. This protocol describes techniques for recording from the dendrites of neurons in brain slices under direct visual control. Although the basic technique is similar to that used for somatic patching, we describe refinements and optimizations of slice quality, microscope optics, setup stability and electrode approach that are required for maximizing the success rate for dendritic recordings. Using this approach, all configurations of the patch-clamp technique (cell-attached, inside-out, whole-cell, outside-out and perforated patch) can be achieved, even for relatively distal dendrites, and simultaneous multiple-electrode dendritic recordings are also possible. The protocol--from the beginning of slice preparation to the end of the first successful recording--can be completed in 3 h.

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    01/01/06 | A framework for feature selection for background subtraction.
    Parag T, Elgammal A, Mittal A
    IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. 2006:
    01/01/06 | Image diffusion using saliency bilateral filter.
    Xie J, Heng P, Ho SS, Shah M
    Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention. 2006;9:67-75

    Image diffusion can smooth away noise and small-scale structures while retaining important features, thereby enhancing the performances of many image processing algorithms such as image compression, segmentation and recognition. In this paper, we present a novel diffusion algorithm for which the filtering kernels vary according to the perceptual saliency of boundaries in the input images. The boundary saliency is estimated through a saliency measure which is generally determined by curvature changes, intensity gradient and the interaction of neighboring vectors. The connection between filtering kernels and perceptual saliency makes it possible to remove small-scale structures and preserves significant boundaries adaptively. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is validated by experiments on various medical images including the color Chinese Visible Human data set and gray MRI brain images.

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