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106 Publications

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    07/01/07 | Modulation of neuronal voltage-activated calcium and sodium channels by polyamines and pH.
    Chen W, Harnett MT, Smith SM
    Channels . 2007 Jul-Aug;1(4):281-90

    The endogenous polyamines spermine, spermidine and putrescine are present at high concentrations inside neurons and can be released into the extracellular space where they have been shown to modulate ion channels. Here, we have examined polyamine modulation of voltage-activated Ca(2+) channels (VACCs) and voltage-activated Na(+) channels (VANCs) in rat superior cervical ganglion neurons using whole-cell voltage-clamp at physiological divalent concentrations. Polyamines inhibited VACCs in a concentration-dependent manner with IC(50)s for spermine, spermidine, and putrescine of 4.7 +/- 0.7, 11.2 +/- 1.4 and 90 +/- 36 mM, respectively. Polyamines caused inhibition by shifting the VACC half-activation voltage (V(0.5)) to depolarized potentials and by reducing total VACC permeability. The shift was described by Gouy-Chapman-Stern theory with a surface charge density of 0.120 +/- 0.005 e(-) nm(-2) and a surface potential of -19 mV. Attenuation of spermidine and spermine inhibition of VACC at decreased pH was explained by H(+) titration of surface charge. Polyamine-mediated effects also decreased at elevated pH due to the inhibitors having lower valence and being less effective at screening surface charge. Polyamines affected VANC currents indirectly by reducing TTX inhibition of VANCs at high pH. This may reflect surface charge induced decreases in the local TTX concentration or polyamine-TTX interactions. In conclusion, polyamines inhibit neuronal VACCs via complex interactions with extracellular H(+) and Ca. Many of the observed effects can be explained by a model incorporating polyamine binding, H(+) binding and surface charge screening.

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    Gonen Lab
    07/01/07 | Tension applied through the Dam1 complex promotes microtubule elongation providing a direct mechanism for length control in mitosis.
    Franck AD, Powers AF, Gestaut DR, Gonen T, Davis TN, Asbury CL
    Nature Cell Biology. 2007 Jul;9(7):832-7. doi: 10.1038/ncb1609

    In dividing cells, kinetochores couple chromosomes to the tips of growing and shortening microtubule fibres and tension at the kinetochore-microtubule interface promotes fibre elongation. Tension-dependent microtubule fibre elongation is thought to be essential for coordinating chromosome alignment and separation, but the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Using optical tweezers, we applied tension to a model of the kinetochore-microtubule interface composed of the yeast Dam1 complex bound to individual dynamic microtubule tips. Higher tension decreased the likelihood that growing tips would begin to shorten, slowed shortening, and increased the likelihood that shortening tips would resume growth. These effects are similar to the effects of tension on kinetochore-attached microtubule fibres in many cell types, suggesting that we have reconstituted a direct mechanism for microtubule-length control in mitosis.

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    07/01/07 | Thermoelectric manipulation of aqueous droplets in microfluidic devices.
    Sgro AE, Allen PB, Chiu DT
    Anal Chem. 07/2007;79(13):4845-51. doi: 10.1021/ac062458a

    This article describes a method for manipulating the temperature inside aqueous droplets, utilizing a thermoelectric cooler to control the temperature of select portions of a microfluidic chip. To illustrate the adaptability of this approach, we have generated an "ice valve" to stop fluid flow in a microchannel. By taking advantage of the vastly different freezing points for aqueous solutions and immiscible oils, we froze a stream of aqueous droplets that were formed on-chip. By integrating this technique with cell encapsulation into aqueous droplets, we were also able to freeze single cells encased in flowing droplets. Using a live-dead stain, we confirmed the viability of cells was not adversely affected by the process of freezing in aqueous droplets provided cryoprotectants were utilized. When combined with current droplet methodologies, this technology has the potential to both selectively heat and cool portions of a chip for a variety of droplet-related applications, such as freezing, temperature cycling, sample archiving, and controlling reaction kinetics.

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    07/01/07 | Variation in fiber number of a male-specific muscle between Drosophila species: a genetic and developmental analysis.
    Orgogozo V, Muro NM, Stern DL
    Evol Dev. 2007 Jul-Aug;9(4):368-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2007.00174.x

    We characterize a newly discovered morphological difference between species of the Drosophila melanogaster subgroup. The muscle of Lawrence (MOL) contains about four to five fibers in D. melanogaster and Drosophila simulans and six to seven fibers in Drosophila mauritiana and Drosophila sechellia. The same number of nuclei per fiber is present in these species but their total number of MOL nuclei differs. This suggests that the number of muscle precursor cells has changed during evolution. Our comparison of MOL development indicates that the species difference appears during metamorphosis. We mapped the quantitative trait loci responsible for the change in muscle fiber number between D. sechellia and D. simulans to two genomic regions on chromosome 2. Our data eliminate the possibility of evolving mutations in the fruitless gene and suggest that a change in the twist might be partly responsible for this evolutionary change.

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    06/20/07 | Specific Drosophila Dscam juxtamembrane variants control dendritic elaboration and axonal arborization.
    Shi L, Yu H, Yang JS, Lee T
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2007 Jun 20;27(25):6723-8. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1517-07.2007

    Drosophila Dscam isoforms are derived from two alternative transmembrane/juxtamembrane domains (TMs) in addition to thousands of ectodomain variants. Using a microRNA-based RNA interference technology, we selectively knocked down different subsets of Dscams containing either the exon 17.1- or exon 17.2-encoding TM. Eliminating Dscam[TM1] reduced Dscam expression but minimally affected postembryonic axonal morphogenesis. In contrast, depleting Dscam[TM2] blocked axon arborization. Further removal of Dscam[TM1] enhanced the loss-of-Dscam[TM2] axonal phenotypes. However, Dscam[TM1] primarily regulates dendritic development, as evidenced by the observations that removing Dscam[TM1] alone impeded elaboration of dendrites and that transgenic Dscam[TM1], but not Dscam[TM2], effectively rescued Dscam mutant dendritic phenotypes in mosaic organisms. These distinct Dscam functions can be attributed to the juxtamembrane regions of TMs that govern dendritic versus axonal targeting of Dscam as well. Together, we suggest that specific Drosophila Dscam juxtamembrane variants control dendritic elaboration and axonal arborization.

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    06/19/07 | Data-driven decomposition for multi-class classification.
    Zhou J, Peng H, Suen CY
    Pattern Recognition. 2007 Jun 19;41:67-76. doi: 10.1016/j.patcog.2007.05.020

    This paper presents a new study on a method of designing a multi-class classifier: Data-driven Error Correcting Output Coding (DECOC). DECOC is based on the principle of Error Correcting Output Coding (ECOC), which uses a code matrix to decompose a multi-class problem into multiple binary problems. ECOC for multi-class classification hinges on the design of the code matrix. We propose to explore the distribution of data classes and optimize both the composition and the number of base learners to design an effective and compact code matrix. Two real world applications are studied: (1) the holistic recognition (i.e., recognition without segmentation) of touching handwritten numeral pairs and (2) the classification of cancer tissue types based on microarray gene expression data. The results show that the proposed DECOC is able to deliver competitive accuracy compared with other ECOC methods, using parsimonious base learners than the pairwise coupling (one-vs-one) decomposition scheme. With a rejection scheme defined by a simple robustness measure, high reliabilities of around 98% are achieved in both applications.

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    06/01/07 | IL-33 and ST2 comprise a critical biomechanically induced and cardioprotective signaling system.
    Sanada S, Hakuno D, Higgins LJ, Schreiter ER, McKenzie AN, Lee RT
    The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2007 Jun;117(6):1538-49. doi: 10.1172/JCI30634

    ST2 is an IL-1 receptor family member with transmembrane (ST2L) and soluble (sST2) isoforms. sST2 is a mechanically induced cardiomyocyte protein, and serum sST2 levels predict outcome in patients with acute myocardial infarction or chronic heart failure. Recently, IL-33 was identified as a functional ligand of ST2L, allowing exploration of the role of ST2 in myocardium. We found that IL-33 was a biomechanically induced protein predominantly synthesized by cardiac fibroblasts. IL-33 markedly antagonized angiotensin II- and phenylephrine-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Although IL-33 activated NF-kappaB, it inhibited angiotensin II- and phenylephrine-induced phosphorylation of inhibitor of NF-kappa B alpha (I kappa B alpha) and NF-kappaB nuclear binding activity. sST2 blocked antihypertrophic effects of IL-33, indicating that sST2 functions in myocardium as a soluble decoy receptor. Following pressure overload by transverse aortic constriction (TAC), ST2(-/-) mice had more left ventricular hypertrophy, more chamber dilation, reduced fractional shortening, more fibrosis, and impaired survival compared with WT littermates. Furthermore, recombinant IL-33 treatment reduced hypertrophy and fibrosis and improved survival after TAC in WT mice, but not in ST2(-/-) littermates. Thus, IL-33/ST2 signaling is a mechanically activated, cardioprotective fibroblast-cardiomyocyte paracrine system, which we believe to be novel. IL-33 may have therapeutic potential for beneficially regulating the myocardial response to overload.

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    06/01/07 | Response profiles to amino acid odorants of olfactory glomeruli in larval Xenopus laevis.
    Manzini I, Brase C, Chen T, Schild D
    The Journal of Physiology. 2007 Jun 1;581(Pt 2):567-79. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2007.130518

    Glomeruli in the vertebrate olfactory bulb (OB) appear as anatomically discrete modules receiving direct input from the olfactory epithelium (OE) via axons of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). The response profiles with respect to amino acids (AAs) of a large number of ORNs in larval Xenopus laevis have been recently determined and analysed. Here we report on Ca(2+) imaging experiments in a nose-brain preparation of the same species at the same developmental stages. We recorded responses to AAs of glomeruli in the OB and determined the response profiles to AAs of individual glomeruli. We describe the general features of AA-responsive glomeruli and compare their response profiles to AAs with those of ORNs obtained in our previous study. A large number of past studies have focused either on odorant responses in the OE or on odorant-induced responses in the OB. However, a thorough comparison of odorant-induced responses of both stages, ORNs and glomeruli of the same species is as yet lacking. The glomerular response profiles reported herein markedly differ from the previously obtained response profiles of ORNs in that glomeruli clearly have narrower selectivity profiles than ORNs. We discuss possible explanations for the different selectivity profiles of glomeruli and ORNs in the context of the development of the olfactory map.

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    06/01/07 | Sex in flies: what ’body–mind’ dichotomy?
    Shirangi TR, McKeown M
    Developmental Biology. 2007 Jun 1;306(1):10-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.03.022

    Sexual behavior in Drosophila results from interactions of multiple neural and genetic pathways. Male-specific fruitless (fruM) is a major component inducing male behaviors, but recent work indicates key roles for other sex-specific and sex-non-specific components. Notably, male-like courtship by retained (retn) mutant females reveals an intrinsic pathway for male behavior independent of fruM, while behavioral differences between males and females with equal levels of fruM expression indicate involvement of another sex-specific component. Indeed, sex-specific products of doublesex (dsxF and dsxM), that control sexual differentiation of the body, also contribute to sexual behavior and neural development of both sexes. In addition, the single product of the dissatisfaction (dsf) gene is needed for appropriate behavior in both sexes, implying additional complexities and levels of control. The genetic mechanisms controlling sexual behavior are similar to those controlling body sexual development, suggesting biological advantages of modifying an intermediate intrinsic pathway in generation of two substantially different behavioral or morphological states.

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    Fetter Lab
    05/18/07 | An innexin-dependent cell network establishes left-right neuronal asymmetry in C. elegans.
    Chuang C, Vanhoven MK, Fetter RD, Verselis VK, Bargmann CI
    Cell. 2007 May 18;129(4):787-99. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.02.052

    Gap junctions are widespread in immature neuronal circuits, but their functional significance is poorly understood. We show here that a transient network formed by the innexin gap-junction protein NSY-5 coordinates left-right asymmetry in the developing nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans. nsy-5 is required for the left and right AWC olfactory neurons to establish stochastic, asymmetric patterns of gene expression during embryogenesis. nsy-5-dependent gap junctions in the embryo transiently connect the AWC cell bodies with those of numerous other neurons. Both AWCs and several other classes of nsy-5-expressing neurons participate in signaling that coordinates left-right AWC asymmetry. The right AWC can respond to nsy-5 directly, but the left AWC requires nsy-5 function in multiple cells of the network. NSY-5 forms hemichannels and intercellular gap-junction channels in Xenopus oocytes, consistent with a combination of cell-intrinsic and network functions. These results provide insight into gap-junction activity in developing circuits.

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