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192 Publications

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    12/01/13 | Integration of the olfactory code across dendritic claws of single mushroom body neurons.
    Gruntman E, Turner GC
    Nature Neuroscience. 2013 Dec;16(12):1821-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3547

    In the olfactory system, sensory inputs are arranged in different glomerular channels, which respond in combinatorial ensembles to the various chemical features of an odor. We investigated where and how this combinatorial code is read out deeper in the brain. We exploited the unique morphology of neurons in the Drosophila mushroom body, which receive input on large dendritic claws. Imaging odor responses of these dendritic claws revealed that input channels with distinct odor tuning converge on individual mushroom body neurons. We determined how these inputs interact to drive the cell to spike threshold using intracellular recordings to examine mushroom body responses to optogenetically controlled input. Our results provide an elegant explanation for the characteristic selectivity of mushroom body neurons: these cells receive different types of input and require those inputs to be coactive to spike. These results establish the mushroom body as an important site of integration in the fly olfactory system.

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    Druckmann Lab
    12/01/13 | Mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity.
    Yook C, Druckmann S, Kim J
    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences: CMLS. 2013 Dec;70(24):4747-57. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1417-y

    Mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity has long been an important goal of neuroscientists since it is considered crucial for explaining human perception and behavior. Yet, despite enormous efforts, the overwhelming complexity of the neural circuitry and the lack of appropriate techniques to unravel it have limited the success of efforts to map connectivity. However, recent technological advances designed to overcome the limitations of conventional methods for connectivity mapping may bring about a turning point. Here, we address the promises and pitfalls of these new mapping technologies.

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    12/01/13 | Quantitative characterization of electron detectors for transmission electron microscopy.
    Ruskin RS, Yu Z, Grigorieff N
    Journal of Structural Biology. 2013 Dec;184(3):385-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2013.10.016

    A new generation of direct electron detectors for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) promises significant improvement over previous detectors in terms of their modulation transfer function (MTF) and detective quantum efficiency (DQE). However, the performance of these new detectors needs to be carefully monitored in order to optimize imaging conditions and check for degradation over time. We have developed an easy-to-use software tool, FindDQE, to measure MTF and DQE of electron detectors using images of a microscope’s built-in beam stop. Using this software, we have determined the DQE curves of four direct electron detectors currently available: the Gatan K2 Summit, the FEI Falcon I and II, and the Direct Electron DE-12, under a variety of total dose and dose rate conditions. We have additionally measured the curves for the Gatan US4000 and TVIPS TemCam-F416 scintillator-based cameras. We compare the results from our new method with published curves.

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    11/26/13 | Imaging the transcriptome.
    Lionnet T
    Molecular Systems Biology. 2013 Nov 26;9:710. doi: 10.1038/msb.2013.67
    Svoboda Lab
    11/19/13 | Tapered whiskers are required for active tactile sensation.
    Hires SA, Pammer L, Svoboda K, Golomb D
    eLife. 2013 Nov 19;2:e01350. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01350

    Many mammals forage and burrow in dark constrained spaces. Touch through facial whiskers is important during these activities, but the close quarters makes whisker deployment challenging. The diverse shapes of facial whiskers reflect distinct ecological niches. Rodent whiskers are conical, often with a remarkably linear taper. Here we use theoretical and experimental methods to analyze interactions of mouse whiskers with objects. When pushed into objects, conical whiskers suddenly slip at a critical angle. In contrast, cylindrical whiskers do not slip for biologically plausible movements. Conical whiskers sweep across objects and textures in characteristic sequences of brief sticks and slips, which provide information about the tactile world. In contrast, cylindrical whiskers stick and remain stuck, even when sweeping across fine textures. Thus the conical whisker structure is adaptive for sensor mobility in constrained environments and in feature extraction during active haptic exploration of objects and surfaces. DOI:

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    Gonen Lab
    11/19/13 | Three-dimensional electron crystallography of protein microcrystals.
    Shi D, Nannenga BL, Iadanza MG, Gonen T
    eLife. 2013 Nov 19;2:01345. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01345

    We demonstrate that it is feasible to determine high-resolution protein structures by electron crystallography of three-dimensional crystals in an electron cryo-microscope (CryoEM). Lysozyme microcrystals were frozen on an electron microscopy grid, and electron diffraction data collected to 1.7 Å resolution. We developed a data collection protocol to collect a full-tilt series in electron diffraction to atomic resolution. A single tilt series contains up to 90 individual diffraction patterns collected from a single crystal with tilt angle increment of 0.1–1° and a total accumulated electron dose less than 10 electrons per angstrom squared. We indexed the data from three crystals and used them for structure determination of lysozyme by molecular replacement followed by crystallographic refinement to 2.9 Å resolution. This proof of principle paves the way for the implementation of a new technique, which we name ‘MicroED’, that may have wide applicability in structural biology.

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    11/14/13 | Motor control of Drosophila courtship song.
    Shirangi TR, Stern DL, Truman JW
    Cell Reports. 2013 Nov 14;5:678-86. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.09.039

    Many animals utilize acoustic signals-or songs-to attract mates. During courtship, Drosophila melanogaster males vibrate a wing to produce trains of pulses and extended tone, called pulse and sine song, respectively. Courtship songs in the genus Drosophila are exceedingly diverse, and different song features appear to have evolved independently of each other. How the nervous system allows such diversity to evolve is not understood. Here, we identify a wing muscle in D. melanogaster (hg1) that is uniquely male-enlarged. The hg1 motoneuron and the sexually dimorphic development of the hg1 muscle are required specifically for the sine component of the male song. In contrast, the motoneuron innervating a sexually monomorphic wing muscle, ps1, is required specifically for a feature of pulse song. Thus, individual wing motor pathways can control separate aspects of courtship song and may provide a "modular" anatomical substrate for the evolution of diverse songs.

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    Svoboda LabHarris LabFetter Lab
    11/12/13 | Thalamocortical input onto layer 5 pyramidal neurons measured using quantitative large-scale array tomography.
    Rah J, Bas E, Colonell J, Mishchenko Y, Karsh B, Fetter RD, Myers EW, Chklovskii DB, Svoboda K, Harris TD, Isaac JT
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 2013;7:177. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00177

    The subcellular locations of synapses on pyramidal neurons strongly influences dendritic integration and synaptic plasticity. Despite this, there is little quantitative data on spatial distributions of specific types of synaptic input. Here we use array tomography (AT), a high-resolution optical microscopy method, to examine thalamocortical (TC) input onto layer 5 pyramidal neurons. We first verified the ability of AT to identify synapses using parallel electron microscopic analysis of TC synapses in layer 4. We then use large-scale array tomography (LSAT) to measure TC synapse distribution on L5 pyramidal neurons in a 1.00 × 0.83 × 0.21 mm(3) volume of mouse somatosensory cortex. We found that TC synapses primarily target basal dendrites in layer 5, but also make a considerable input to proximal apical dendrites in L4, consistent with previous work. Our analysis further suggests that TC inputs are biased toward certain branches and, within branches, synapses show significant clustering with an excess of TC synapse nearest neighbors within 5-15 μm compared to a random distribution. Thus, we show that AT is a sensitive and quantitative method to map specific types of synaptic input on the dendrites of entire neurons. We anticipate that this technique will be of wide utility for mapping functionally-relevant anatomical connectivity in neural circuits.

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    Magee Lab
    11/06/13 | Imaging neuronal populations in behaving rodents: paradigms for studying neural circuits underlying behavior in the mammalian cortex.
    Chen JL, Andermann ML, Keck T, Xu N, Ziv Y
    The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2013 Nov 6;33(45):17631-40. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3255-13.2013

    Understanding the neural correlates of behavior in the mammalian cortex requires measurements of activity in awake, behaving animals. Rodents have emerged as a powerful model for dissecting the cortical circuits underlying behavior attributable to the convergence of several methods. Genetically encoded calcium indicators combined with viral-mediated or transgenic tools enable chronic monitoring of calcium signals in neuronal populations and subcellular structures of identified cell types. Stable one- and two-photon imaging of neuronal activity in awake, behaving animals is now possible using new behavioral paradigms in head-fixed animals, or using novel miniature head-mounted microscopes in freely moving animals. This mini-symposium will highlight recent applications of these methods for studying sensorimotor integration, decision making, learning, and memory in cortical and subcortical brain areas. We will outline future prospects and challenges for identifying the neural underpinnings of task-dependent behavior using cellular imaging in rodents.

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    Gonen Lab
    11/05/13 | Intrinsic disorder within an AKAP-protein kinase A complex guides local substrate phosphorylation.
    Smith FD, Reichow SL, Esseltine JL, Shi D, Langeberg LK, Scott JD, Gonen T
    eLife. 2013 Nov 5;2:e01319. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01319

    Anchoring proteins sequester kinases with their substrates to locally disseminate intracellular signals and avert indiscriminate transmission of these responses throughout the cell. Mechanistic understanding of this process is hampered by limited structural information on these macromolecular complexes. A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) spatially constrain phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinases (PKA). Electron microscopy and three-dimensional reconstructions of type-II PKA-AKAP18γ complexes reveal hetero-pentameric assemblies that adopt a range of flexible tripartite configurations. Intrinsically disordered regions within each PKA regulatory subunit impart the molecular plasticity that affords an \~{}16 nanometer radius of motion to the associated catalytic subunits. Manipulating flexibility within the PKA holoenzyme augmented basal and cAMP responsive phosphorylation of AKAP-associated substrates. Cell-based analyses suggest that the catalytic subunit remains within type-II PKA-AKAP18γ complexes upon cAMP elevation. We propose that the dynamic movement of kinase sub-structures, in concert with the static AKAP-regulatory subunit interface, generates a solid-state signaling microenvironment for substrate phosphorylation. DOI:

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