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187 Publications

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    12/18/12 | Acute ethanol responses in Drosophila are sexually dimorphic.
    Devineni AV, Heberlein U
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 Dec 18;109(51):21087-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218850110

    In mammalian and insect models of ethanol intoxication, low doses of ethanol stimulate locomotor activity whereas high doses induce sedation. Sex differences in acute ethanol responses, which occur in humans, have not been characterized in Drosophila. In this study, we find that male flies show increased ethanol hyperactivity and greater resistance to ethanol sedation compared with females. We show that the sex determination gene transformer (tra) acts in the developing nervous system, likely through regulation of fruitless (fru), to at least partially mediate the sexual dimorphism in ethanol sedation. Although pharmacokinetic differences may contribute to the increased sedation sensitivity of females, neuronal tra expression regulates ethanol sedation independently of ethanol pharmacokinetics. We also show that acute activation of fru-expressing neurons affects ethanol sedation, further supporting a role for fru in regulating this behavior. Thus, we have characterized previously undescribed sex differences in behavioral responses to ethanol, and implicated fru in mediating a subset of these differences.

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    12/18/12 | Visual neuroscience: a moving story of neuromodulation.
    Jayaraman V
    Current Biology. 2012 Dec 18;22(24):R1057-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.041

    The visual neurons of many animals process sensory input differently depending on the animal’s state of locomotion. Now, new work in Drosophila melanogaster shows that neuromodulatory neurons active during flight boost responses of neurons in the visual system.

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    12/17/14 | A genetic screen for olfactory habituation mutations in Drosophila: analysis of novel foraging alleles and an underlying neural circuit.
    Eddison M, Belay AT, Sokolowski MB, Heberlein U
    PLoS One. 2012 Dec 17;7(12):e51684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051684

    Habituation is a form of non-associative learning that enables animals to reduce their reaction to repeated harmless stimuli. When exposed to ethanol vapor, Drosophila show an olfactory-mediated startle response characterized by a transient increase in locomotor activity. Upon repeated exposures, this olfactory startle attenuates with the characteristics of habituation. Here we describe the results of a genetic screen to identify olfactory startle habituation (OSH) mutants. One mutation is a transcript specific allele of foraging (for) encoding a cGMP-dependent kinase. We show this allele of for reduces expression of a for-T1 isoform expressed in the head and functions normally to inhibit OSH. We localize for-T1 function to a limited set of neurons that include olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) and the mushroom body (MB). Overexpression of for-T1 in ORNs inhibits OSH, an effect also seen upon synaptic silencing of the ORNs; for-T1 may therefore function in ORNs to decrease synaptic release upon repeated exposure to ethanol vapor. Overall, this work contributes to our understanding of the genes and neurons underlying olfactory habituation in Drosophila.

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    Singer Lab
    12/14/12 | Nuclear pore component Nup98 is a potential tumor suppressor and regulates posttranscriptional expression of select p53 target genes.
    Singer S, Zhao R, Barsotti AM, Ouwehand A, Fazollahi M, Coutavas E, Breuhahn K, Neumann O, Longerich T, Pusterla T, Powers MA, Giles KM, Leedman PJ, Hess J, Grunwald D, Bussemaker HJ, Singer RH, Schirmacher P, Prives C
    Molecular Cell. 2012 Dec 14;48(5):799-810. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.09.020

    The p53 tumor suppressor utilizes multiple mechanisms to selectively regulate its myriad target genes, which in turn mediate diverse cellular processes. Here, using conventional and single-molecule mRNA analyses, we demonstrate that the nucleoporin Nup98 is required for full expression of p21, a key effector of the p53 pathway, but not several other p53 target genes. Nup98 regulates p21 mRNA levels by a posttranscriptional mechanism in which a complex containing Nup98 and the p21 mRNA 3'UTR protects p21 mRNA from degradation by the exosome. An in silico approach revealed another p53 target (14-3-3σ) to be similarly regulated by Nup98. The expression of Nup98 is reduced in murine and human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and correlates with p21 expression in HCC patients. Our study elucidates a previously unrecognized function of wild-type Nup98 in regulating select p53 target genes that is distinct from the well-characterized oncogenic properties of Nup98 fusion proteins.

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    Kainmueller Lab
    12/14/12 | Omnidirectional displacements for deformable surfaces.
    Kainmueller D, Lamecker H, Heller MO, Weber B, Hege H, Zachow S
    Medical image analysis. 2013 May;17(4):429-41. doi: 10.1016/

    Deformable surface models are often represented as triangular meshes in image segmentation applications. For a fast and easily regularized deformation onto the target object boundary, the vertices of the mesh are commonly moved along line segments (typically surface normals). However, in case of high mesh curvature, these lines may not intersect with the target boundary at all. Consequently, certain deformations cannot be achieved. We propose omnidirectional displacements for deformable surfaces (ODDS) to overcome this limitation. ODDS allow each vertex to move not only along a line segment but within the volumetric inside of a surrounding sphere, and achieve globally optimal deformations subject to local regularization constraints. However, allowing a ball-shaped instead of a linear range of motion per vertex significantly increases runtime and memory. To alleviate this drawback, we propose a hybrid approach, fastODDS, with improved runtime and reduced memory requirements. Furthermore, fastODDS can also cope with simultaneous segmentation of multiple objects. We show the theoretical benefits of ODDS with experiments on synthetic data, and evaluate ODDS and fastODDS quantitatively on clinical image data of the mandible and the hip bones. There, we assess both the global segmentation accuracy as well as local accuracy in high curvature regions, such as the tip-shaped mandibular coronoid processes and the ridge-shaped acetabular rims of the hip bones.

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    Svoboda LabMagee Lab
    12/13/12 | Nonlinear dendritic integration of sensory and motor input during an active sensing task.
    Xu N, Harnett MT, Williams SR, Huber D, O’Connor DH, Svoboda K, Magee JC
    Nature. 2012 Dec 13;492:247-51. doi: 10.1038/nature11601

    Active dendrites provide neurons with powerful processing capabilities. However, little is known about the role of neuronal dendrites in behaviourally related circuit computations. Here we report that a novel global dendritic nonlinearity is involved in the integration of sensory and motor information within layer 5 pyramidal neurons during an active sensing behaviour. Layer 5 pyramidal neurons possess elaborate dendritic arborizations that receive functionally distinct inputs, each targeted to spatially separate regions. At the cellular level, coincident input from these segregated pathways initiates regenerative dendritic electrical events that produce bursts of action potential output and circuits featuring this powerful dendritic nonlinearity can implement computations based on input correlation. To examine this in vivo we recorded dendritic activity in layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the barrel cortex using two-photon calcium imaging in mice performing an object-localization task. Large-amplitude, global calcium signals were observed throughout the apical tuft dendrites when active touch occurred at particular object locations or whisker angles. Such global calcium signals are produced by dendritic plateau potentials that require both vibrissal sensory input and primary motor cortex activity. These data provide direct evidence of nonlinear dendritic processing of correlated sensory and motor information in the mammalian neocortex during active sensation.

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    12/11/12 | Visualizing cell structure and function with point-localization superresolution imaging.
    Sengupta P, van Engelenburg S, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Developmental cell. 2012 Dec 11;23(6):1092-102. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.09.022

    Fundamental to the success of cell and developmental biology is the ability to tease apart molecular organization in cells and tissues by localizing specific proteins with respect to one another in a native cellular context. However, many key cellular structures (from mitochondrial cristae to nuclear pores) lie below the diffraction limit of visible light, precluding analysis of their organization by conventional approaches. Point-localization superresolution microscopy techniques, such as PALM and STORM, are poised to resolve, with unprecedented clarity, the organizational principles of macromolecular complexes within cells, thus leading to deeper insights into cellular function in both health and disease.

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    12/07/12 | Noninvasive imaging beyond the diffraction limit of 3D dynamics in thickly fluorescent specimens.
    Gao L, Shao L, Higgins CD, Poulton JS, Peifer M, Davidson MW, Wu X, Goldstein B, Betzig E
    Cell. 2012 Dec 7;151(6):1370-85. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.10.008

    Optical imaging of the dynamics of living specimens involves tradeoffs between spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and phototoxicity, made more difficult in three dimensions. Here, however, we report that rapid three-dimensional (3D) dynamics can be studied beyond the diffraction limit in thick or densely fluorescent living specimens over many time points by combining ultrathin planar illumination produced by scanned Bessel beams with super-resolution structured illumination microscopy. We demonstrate in vivo karyotyping of chromosomes during mitosis and identify different dynamics for the actin cytoskeleton at the dorsal and ventral surfaces of fibroblasts. Compared to spinning disk confocal microscopy, we demonstrate substantially reduced photodamage when imaging rapid morphological changes in D. discoideum cells, as well as improved contrast and resolution at depth within developing C. elegans embryos. Bessel beam structured plane illumination thus promises new insights into complex biological phenomena that require 4D subcellular spatiotemporal detail in either a single or multicellular context.

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    12/05/12 | JNK pathway activation is controlled by Tao/TAOK3 to modulate ethanol sensitivity.
    Kapfhamer D, King I, Zou ME, Lim JP, Heberlein U, Wolf FW
    PLoS One. 2012 Dec 5;7(12):e50594. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050594

    Neuronal signal transduction by the JNK MAP kinase pathway is altered by a broad array of stimuli including exposure to the widely abused drug ethanol, but the behavioral relevance and the regulation of JNK signaling is unclear. Here we demonstrate that JNK signaling functions downstream of the Sterile20 kinase family gene tao/Taok3 to regulate the behavioral effects of acute ethanol exposure in both the fruit fly Drosophila and mice. In flies tao is required in neurons to promote sensitivity to the locomotor stimulant effects of acute ethanol exposure and to establish specific brain structures. Reduced expression of key JNK pathway genes substantially rescued the structural and behavioral phenotypes of tao mutants. Decreasing and increasing JNK pathway activity resulted in increased and decreased sensitivity to the locomotor stimulant properties of acute ethanol exposure, respectively. Further, JNK expression in a limited pattern of neurons that included brain regions implicated in ethanol responses was sufficient to restore normal behavior. Mice heterozygous for a disrupted allele of the homologous Taok3 gene (Taok3Gt) were resistant to the acute sedative effects of ethanol. JNK activity was constitutively increased in brains of Taok3Gt/+ mice, and acute induction of phospho-JNK in brain tissue by ethanol was occluded in Taok3Gt/+ mice. Finally, acute administration of a JNK inhibitor conferred resistance to the sedative effects of ethanol in wild-type but not Taok3Gt/+ mice. Taken together, these data support a role of a TAO/TAOK3-JNK neuronal signaling pathway in regulating sensitivity to acute ethanol exposure in flies and in mice.

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    12/03/12 | Learning visual motion in recurrent neural networks.
    Pachitariu M, Sahani M
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2012). 12/2003:

    We present a dynamic nonlinear generative model for visual motion based on a latent representation of binary-gated Gaussian variables. Trained on sequences of images, the model learns to represent different movement directions in different variables. We use an online approximate-inference scheme that can be mapped to the dynamics of networks of neurons. Probed with drifting grating stimuli and moving bars of light, neurons in the model show patterns of responses analogous to those of direction-selective simple cells in primary visual cortex. Most model neurons also show speed tuning and respond equally well to a range of motion directions and speeds aligned to the constraint line of their respective preferred speed. We show how these computations are enabled by a specific pattern of recurrent connections learned by the model.

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