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187 Publications

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    Cui Lab
    10/22/12 | Parallel wavefront measurements in ultrasound pulse guided digital phase conjugation.
    Fiolka R, Si K, Cui M
    Optics Express. 2012 Oct 22;20(22):24827-34. doi:

    Ultrasound pulse guided digital phase conjugation has emerged to realize fluorescence imaging inside random scattering media. Its major limitation is the slow imaging speed, as a new wavefront needs to be measured for each voxel. Therefore 3D or even 2D imaging can be time consuming. For practical applications on biological systems, we need to accelerate the imaging process by orders of magnitude. Here we propose and experimentally demonstrate a parallel wavefront measurement scheme towards such a goal. Multiple focused ultrasound pulses of different carrier frequencies can be simultaneously launched inside a scattering medium. Heterodyne interferometry is used to measure all of the wavefronts originating from every sound focus in parallel. We use these wavefronts in sequence to rapidly excite fluorescence at all the voxels defined by the focused ultrasound pulses. In this report, we employed a commercially available sound transducer to generate two sound foci in parallel, doubled the wavefront measurement speed, and reduced the mechanical scanning steps of the sound transducer to half.

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    10/18/12 | Drosophila CPEB Orb2A mediates memory independent of Its RNA-binding domain.
    Krüttner S, Stepien B, Noordermeer JN, Mommaas MA, Mechtler K, Dickson BJ, Keleman K
    Neuron. 2012 Oct 18;76(2):383-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.08.028

    Long-term memory and synaptic plasticity are thought to require the synthesis of new proteins at activated synapses. The CPEB family of RNA binding proteins, including Drosophila Orb2, has been implicated in this process. The precise mechanism by which these molecules regulate memory formation is however poorly understood. We used gene targeting and site-specific transgenesis to specifically modify the endogenous orb2 gene in order to investigate its role in long-term memory formation. We show that the Orb2A and Orb2B isoforms, while both essential, have distinct functions in memory formation. These two isoforms have common glutamine-rich and RNA-binding domains, yet Orb2A uniquely requires the former and Orb2B the latter. We further show that Orb2A induces Orb2 complexes in a manner dependent upon both its glutamine-rich region and neuronal activity. We propose that Orb2B acts as a conventional CPEB to regulate transport and/or translation of specific mRNAs, whereas Orb2A acts in an unconventional manner to form stable Orb2 complexes that are essential for memory to persist.

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    Looger Lab
    10/18/12 | Imaging neural activity using Thy1-GCaMP transgenic mice.
    Chen Q, Cichon J, Wang W, Qiu L, Lee SR, Campbell NR, DeStefino N, Fu Z, Yasuda R, Looger LL, Arenkiel BR, Gan W, Feng G
    Neuron. 2012 Oct 18;76(2):297-308. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.07.011

    The ability to chronically monitor neuronal activity in the living brain is essential for understanding the organization and function of the nervous system. The genetically encoded green fluorescent protein based calcium sensor GCaMP provides a powerful tool for detecting calcium transients in neuronal somata, processes, and synapses that are triggered by neuronal activities. Here we report the generation and characterization of transgenic mice that express improved GCaMPs in various neuronal subpopulations under the control of the Thy1 promoter. In vitro and in vivo studies show that calcium transients induced by spontaneous and stimulus-evoked neuronal activities can be readily detected at the level of individual cells and synapses in acute brain slices, as well as in awake behaving animals. These GCaMP transgenic mice allow investigation of activity patterns in defined neuronal populations in the living brain, and will greatly facilitate dissecting complex structural and functional relationships of neural networks.

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    10/12/12 | Deletion of the γ-aminobutyric acid transporter 2 (GAT2 and SLC6A13) gene in mice leads to changes in liver and brain taurine contents.
    Zhou Y, Holmseth S, Guo C, Hassel B, Höfner G, Huitfeldt HS, Wanner KT, Danbolt NC
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2012 Oct 12;287(42):35733-46. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.368175

    The GABA transporters (GAT1, GAT2, GAT3, and BGT1) have mostly been discussed in relation to their potential roles in controlling the action of transmitter GABA in the nervous system. We have generated the first mice lacking the GAT2 (slc6a13) gene. Deletion of GAT2 (both mRNA and protein) neither affected growth, fertility, nor life span under nonchallenging rearing conditions. Immunocytochemistry showed that the GAT2 protein was predominantly expressed in the plasma membranes of periportal hepatocytes and in the basolateral membranes of proximal tubules in the renal cortex. This was validated by processing tissue from wild-type and knockout mice in parallel. Deletion of GAT2 reduced liver taurine levels by 50%, without affecting the expression of the taurine transporter TAUT. These results suggest an important role for GAT2 in taurine uptake from portal blood into liver. In support of this notion, GAT2-transfected HEK293 cells transported [(3)H]taurine. Furthermore, most of the uptake of [(3)H]GABA by cultured rat hepatocytes was due to GAT2, and this uptake was inhibited by taurine. GAT2 was not detected in brain parenchyma proper, excluding a role in GABA inactivation. It was, however, expressed in the leptomeninges and in a subpopulation of brain blood vessels. Deletion of GAT2 increased brain taurine levels by 20%, suggesting a taurine-exporting role for GAT2 in the brain.

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    10/10/12 | Illuminating vertebrate olfactory processing.
    Spors H, Albeanu DF, Murthy VN, Rinberg D, Uchida N, Wachowiak M, Friedrich RW
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2012 Oct 10;32(41):14102-8. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3328-12.2012

    The olfactory system encodes information about molecules by spatiotemporal patterns of activity across distributed populations of neurons and extracts information from these patterns to control specific behaviors. Recent studies used in vivo recordings, optogenetics, and other methods to analyze the mechanisms by which odor information is encoded and processed in the olfactory system, the functional connectivity within and between olfactory brain areas, and the impact of spatiotemporal patterning of neuronal activity on higher-order neurons and behavioral outputs. The results give rise to a faceted picture of olfactory processing and provide insights into fundamental mechanisms underlying neuronal computations. This review focuses on some of this work presented in a Mini-Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in 2012.

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    10/08/12 | The bHLH repressor Deadpan regulates the self-renewal and specification of Drosophila larval neural stem cells independently of Notch.
    Zhu S, Wildonger J, Barshow S, Younger S, Huang Y, Lee T
    PLoS One. 2012 Oct 8;7(10):e46724. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046724

    Neural stem cells (NSCs) are able to self-renew while giving rise to neurons and glia that comprise a functional nervous system. However, how NSC self-renewal is maintained is not well understood. Using the Drosophila larval NSCs called neuroblasts (NBs) as a model, we demonstrate that the Hairy and Enhancer-of-Split (Hes) family protein Deadpan (Dpn) plays important roles in NB self-renewal and specification. The loss of Dpn leads to the premature loss of NBs and truncated NB lineages, a process likely mediated by the homeobox protein Prospero (Pros). Conversely, ectopic/over-expression of Dpn promotes ectopic self-renewing divisions and maintains NB self-renewal into adulthood. In type II NBs, which generate transit amplifying intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) like mammalian NSCs, the loss of Dpn results in ectopic expression of type I NB markers Asense (Ase) and Pros before these type II NBs are lost at early larval stages. Our results also show that knockdown of Notch leads to ectopic Ase expression in type II NBs and the premature loss of type II NBs. Significantly, dpn expression is unchanged in these transformed NBs. Furthermore, the loss of Dpn does not inhibit the over-proliferation of type II NBs and immature INPs caused by over-expression of activated Notch. Our data suggest that Dpn plays important roles in maintaining NB self-renewal and specification of type II NBs in larval brains and that Dpn and Notch function independently in regulating type II NB proliferation and specification.

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    10/05/12 | Network resets in medial prefrontal cortex mark the onset of behavioral uncertainty.
    Karlsson MP, Tervo DG, Karpova AY
    Science. 2012 Oct 5;338:135-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1226518

    Regions within the prefrontal cortex are thought to process beliefs about the world, but little is known about the circuit dynamics underlying the formation and modification of these beliefs. Using a task that permits dissociation between the activity encoding an animal’s internal state and that encoding aspects of behavior, we found that transient increases in the volatility of activity in the rat medial prefrontal cortex accompany periods when an animal’s belief is modified after an environmental change. Activity across the majority of sampled neurons underwent marked, abrupt, and coordinated changes when prior belief was abandoned in favor of exploration of alternative strategies. These dynamics reflect network switches to a state of instability, which diminishes over the period of exploration as new stable representations are formed.

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    10/03/12 | Optimization of a GCaMP calcium indicator for neural activity imaging.
    Akerboom J, Chen T, Wardill TJ, Marvin JS, Mutlu S, Carreras Caldero N, Esposti F, Borghuis BG, Sun XR, Gordus A, Orger MB, Portugues R, Engert F, Macklin JJ, Filosa A, Aggarwal A, Kerr R, Takagi R, Kracun S, Shigetomi E, Khakh BS, Baier H, Lagnado L, Wang SS, Bargmann C, Kimmel B, Jayaraman V, Svoboda K, Kim DS, Schreiter ER, Looger LL
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2012 Oct 3;32:13819-40. doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.2601-12.2012

    Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are powerful tools for systems neuroscience. Recent efforts in protein engineering have significantly increased the performance of GECIs. The state-of-the art single-wavelength GECI, GCaMP3, has been deployed in a number of model organisms and can reliably detect three or more action potentials in short bursts in several systems in vivo . Through protein structure determination, targeted mutagenesis, high-throughput screening, and a battery of in vitro assays, we have increased the dynamic range of GCaMP3 by severalfold, creating a family of “GCaMP5” sensors. We tested GCaMP5s in several systems: cultured neurons and astrocytes, mouse retina, and in vivo in Caenorhabditis chemosensory neurons, Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction and adult antennal lobe, zebrafish retina and tectum, and mouse visual cortex. Signal-to-noise ratio was improved by at least 2- to 3-fold. In the visual cortex, two GCaMP5 variants detected twice as many visual stimulus-responsive cells as GCaMP3. By combining in vivo imaging with electrophysiology we show that GCaMP5 fluorescence provides a more reliable measure of neuronal activity than its predecessor GCaMP3.GCaMP5allows more sensitive detection of neural activity in vivo andmayfind widespread applications for cellular imaging in general.

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    10/01/12 | A battery-free multichannel digital neural/EMG telemetry system for flying insects.
    Thomas SJ, Harrison RR, Leonardo A, Reynolds MS
    IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems. 2012 Oct;6(5):424-36. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2012.2222881

    This paper presents a digital neural/EMG telemetry system small enough and lightweight enough to permit recording from insects in flight. It has a measured flight package mass of only 38 mg. This system includes a single-chip telemetry integrated circuit (IC) employing RF power harvesting for battery-free operation, with communication via modulated backscatter in the UHF (902-928 MHz) band. An on-chip 11-bit ADC digitizes 10 neural channels with a sampling rate of 26.1 kSps and 4 EMG channels at 1.63 kSps, and telemeters this data wirelessly to a base station. The companion base station transceiver includes an RF transmitter of +36 dBm (4 W) output power to wirelessly power the telemetry IC, and a digital receiver with a sensitivity of -70 dBm for 10⁻⁵ BER at 5.0 Mbps to receive the data stream from the telemetry IC. The telemetry chip was fabricated in a commercial 0.35 μ m 4M1P (4 metal, 1 poly) CMOS process. The die measures 2.36 × 1.88 mm, is 250 μm thick, and is wire bonded into a flex circuit assembly measuring 4.6 × 6.8 mm.

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    10/01/12 | An intra-cerebral drug delivery system for freely moving animals.
    Spieth S, Schumacher A, Holtzman T, Rich PD, Theobald DE, Dalley JW, Nouna R, Messner S, Zengerle R
    Biomed Microdevices. 2012 Oct 01;14(5):799-809. doi: 10.1007/s10544-012-9659-2

    Microinfusions of drugs directly into the central nervous system of awake animals represent a widely used means of unravelling brain functions related to behaviour. However, current approaches generally use tethered liquid infusion systems and a syringe pump to deliver drugs into the brain, which often interfere with behaviour. We address this shortfall with a miniaturised electronically-controlled drug delivery system (20 × 17.5 × 5 mm³) designed to be skull-mounted in rats. The device features a micropump connected to two 8-mm-long silicon microprobes with a cross section of 250 × 250 μm² and integrated fluid microchannels. Using an external electronic control unit, the device allows infusion of 16 metered doses (0.25 μL each, 8 per silicon shaft). Each dosage requires 3.375 Ws of electrical power making the device additionally compatible with state-of-the-art wireless headstages. A dosage precision of 0.25 ± 0.01 μL was determined in vitro before in vivo tests were carried out in awake rats. No passive leakage from the loaded devices into the brain could be detected using methylene blue dye. Finally, the device was used to investigate the effects of the NMDA-receptor antagonist 3-((R)-2-Carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid, (R)-CPP, administered directly into the prefrontal cortex of rats during performance on a task to assess visual attention and impulsivity. In agreement with previous findings using conventional tethered infusion systems, acute (R)-CPP administration produced a marked increase in impulsivity.

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