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192 Publications

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    Riddiford Lab
    11/05/13 | Regulation of onset of female mating and sex pheromone production by juvenile hormone in Drosophila melanogaster.
    Bilen J, Atallah J, Azanchi R, Levine JD, Riddiford LM
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Nov 5;110:18321-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1318119110

    Juvenile hormone (JH) coordinates timing of female reproductive maturation in most insects. In Drosophila melanogaster, JH plays roles in both mating and egg maturation. However, very little is known about the molecular pathways associated with mating. Our behavioral analysis of females genetically lacking the corpora allata, the glands that produce JH, showed that they were courted less by males and mated later than control females. Application of the JH mimic, methoprene, to the allatectomized females just after eclosion rescued both the male courtship and the mating delay. Our studies of the null mutants of the JH receptors, Methoprene tolerant (Met) and germ cell-expressed (gce), showed that lack of Met in Met(27) females delayed the onset of mating, whereas lack of Gce had little effect. The Met(27) females were shown to be more attractive but less behaviorally receptive to copulation attempts. The behavioral but not the attractiveness phenotype was rescued by the Met genomic transgene. Analysis of the female cuticular hydrocarbon profiles showed that corpora allata ablation caused a delay in production of the major female-specific sex pheromones (the 7,11-C27 and -C29 dienes) and a change in the cuticular hydrocarbon blend. In the Met(27) null mutant, by 48 h, the major C27 diene was greatly increased relative to wild type. In contrast, the gce(2.5k) null mutant females were courted similarly to control females despite changes in certain cuticular hydrocarbons. Our findings indicate that JH acts primarily via Met to modulate the timing of onset of female sex pheromone production and mating.

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    Ji Lab

    Inherent aberrations of gradient index (GRIN) lenses used in fluorescence endomicroscopes deteriorate imaging performance. Using adaptive optics, we characterized and corrected the on-axis and off-axis aberrations of a GRIN lens with NA 0.8 at multiple focal planes. We demonstrated a rotational-transformation-based correction procedure, which enlarged the imaging area with diffraction-limited resolution with only two aberration measurements. 204.8 × 204.8 µm2 images of fluorescent beads and brain slices before and after AO corrections were obtained, with evident improvements in both image sharpness and brightness after AO correction. These results show great promises of applying adaptive optical two-photon fluorescence endomicroscope to three-dimensional (3D) imaging.

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    11/01/13 | Caged naloxone reveals opioid signaling deactivation kinetics.
    Banghart MR, Williams JT, Shah RC, Lavis LD, Sabatini BL
    Molecular Pharmacology. 2013 Nov;84(5):687-95. doi: 10.1124/mol.113.088096

    The spatiotemporal dynamics of opioid signaling in the brain remain poorly defined. Photoactivatable opioid ligands provide a means to quantitatively measure these dynamics and their underlying mechanisms in brain tissue. Although activation kinetics can be assessed using caged agonists, deactivation kinetics are obscured by slow clearance of agonist in tissue. To reveal deactivation kinetics of opioid signaling we developed a caged competitive antagonist that can be quickly photoreleased in sufficient concentrations to render agonist dissociation effectively irreversible. Carboxynitroveratryl-naloxone (CNV-NLX), a caged analog of the competitive opioid antagonist NLX, was readily synthesized from commercially available NLX in good yield and found to be devoid of antagonist activity at heterologously expressed opioid receptors. Photolysis in slices of rat locus coeruleus produced a rapid inhibition of the ionic currents evoked by multiple agonists of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR), but not of α-adrenergic receptors, which activate the same pool of ion channels. Using the high-affinity peptide agonist dermorphin, we established conditions under which light-driven deactivation rates are independent of agonist concentration and thus intrinsic to the agonist-receptor complex. Under these conditions, some MOR agonists yielded deactivation rates that are limited by G protein signaling, whereas others appeared limited by agonist dissociation. Therefore, the choice of agonist determines which feature of receptor signaling is unmasked by CNV-NLX photolysis.

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    Svoboda Lab
    10/30/13 | Distinct balance of excitation and inhibition in an interareal feedforward and feedback circuit of mouse visual cortex.
    Yang W, Carrasquillo Y, Hooks BM, Nerbonne JM, Burkhalter A
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Oct 30;33(44):17373-84. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2515-13.2013

    Mouse visual cortex is subdivided into multiple distinct, hierarchically organized areas that are interconnected through feedforward (FF) and feedback (FB) pathways. The principal synaptic targets of FF and FB axons that reciprocally interconnect primary visual cortex (V1) with the higher lateromedial extrastriate area (LM) are pyramidal cells (Pyr) and parvalbumin (PV)-expressing GABAergic interneurons. Recordings in slices of mouse visual cortex have shown that layer 2/3 Pyr cells receive excitatory monosynaptic FF and FB inputs, which are opposed by disynaptic inhibition. Most notably, inhibition is stronger in the FF than FB pathway, suggesting pathway-specific organization of feedforward inhibition (FFI). To explore the hypothesis that this difference is due to diverse pathway-specific strengths of the inputs to PV neurons we have performed subcellular Channelrhodopsin-2-assisted circuit mapping in slices of mouse visual cortex. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were obtained from retrobead-labeled FFV1→LM- and FBLM→V1-projecting Pyr cells, as well as from tdTomato-expressing PV neurons. The results show that the FFV1→LM pathway provides on average 3.7-fold stronger depolarizing input to layer 2/3 inhibitory PV neurons than to neighboring excitatory Pyr cells. In the FBLM→V1 pathway, depolarizing inputs to layer 2/3 PV neurons and Pyr cells were balanced. Balanced inputs were also found in the FFV1→LM pathway to layer 5 PV neurons and Pyr cells, whereas FBLM→V1 inputs to layer 5 were biased toward Pyr cells. The findings indicate that FFI in FFV1→LM and FBLM→V1 circuits are organized in a pathway- and lamina-specific fashion.

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    10/29/13 | Fast structural responses of gap junction membrane domains to AB5 toxins.
    Majoul IV, Gao L, Betzig E, Onichtchouk D, Butkevich E, Kozlov Y, Bukauskas F, Bennett MV, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Duden R
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Oct 29;110(44):E4125-33. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315850110

    Gap junctions (GJs) represent connexin-rich membrane domains that connect interiors of adjoining cells in mammalian tissues. How fast GJs can respond to bacterial pathogens has not been known previously. Using Bessel beam plane illumination and confocal spinning disk microscopy, we found fast ( 500 ms) formation of connexin-depleted regions (CDRs) inside GJ plaques between cells exposed to AB5 toxins. CDR formation appears as a fast redistribution of connexin channels within GJ plaques with minor changes in outline or geometry. CDR formation does not depend on membrane trafficking or submembrane cytoskeleton and has no effect on GJ conductance. However, CDR responses depend on membrane lipids, can be modified by cholesterol-clustering agents and extracellular K(+) ion concentration, and influence cAMP signaling. The CDR response of GJ plaques to bacterial toxins is a phenomenon observed for all tested connexin isoforms. Through signaling, the CDR response may enable cells to sense exposure to AB5 toxins. CDR formation may reflect lipid-phase separation events in the biological membrane of the GJ plaque, leading to increased connexin packing and lipid reorganization. Our data demonstrate very fast dynamics (in the millisecond-to-second range) within GJ plaques, which previously were considered to be relatively stable, long-lived structures.

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    10/29/13 | Fast structural responses of gap junction membrane domains to AB5 toxins.
    Majoul IV, Gao L, Betzig E, Onichtchouk D, Butkevich E, Kozlov Y, Bukauskas F, Bennett MV, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Duden R
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Oct 29;110(44):E4125-33. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315850110

    Gap junctions (GJs) represent connexin-rich membrane domains that connect interiors of adjoining cells in mammalian tissues. How fast GJs can respond to bacterial pathogens has not been known previously. Using Bessel beam plane illumination and confocal spinning disk microscopy, we found fast (~500 ms) formation of connexin-depleted regions (CDRs) inside GJ plaques between cells exposed to AB5 toxins. CDR formation appears as a fast redistribution of connexin channels within GJ plaques with minor changes in outline or geometry. CDR formation does not depend on membrane trafficking or submembrane cytoskeleton and has no effect on GJ conductance. However, CDR responses depend on membrane lipids, can be modified by cholesterol-clustering agents and extracellular K(+) ion concentration, and influence cAMP signaling. The CDR response of GJ plaques to bacterial toxins is a phenomenon observed for all tested connexin isoforms. Through signaling, the CDR response may enable cells to sense exposure to AB5 toxins. CDR formation may reflect lipid-phase separation events in the biological membrane of the GJ plaque, leading to increased connexin packing and lipid reorganization. Our data demonstrate very fast dynamics (in the millisecond-to-second range) within GJ plaques, which previously were considered to be relatively stable, long-lived structures.

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    10/25/13 | Correlative photoactivated localization and scanning electron microscopy.
    Kopek BG, Shtengel G, Grimm JB, Clayton DA, Hess HF
    PLoS One. 2013 Oct 25;8(10):e77209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077209

    The ability to localize proteins precisely within subcellular space is crucial to understanding the functioning of biological systems. Recently, we described a protocol that correlates a precise map of fluorescent fusion proteins localized using three-dimensional super-resolution optical microscopy with the fine ultrastructural context of three-dimensional electron micrographs. While it achieved the difficult simultaneous objectives of high photoactivated fluorophore preservation and ultrastructure preservation, it required a super-resolution optical and specialized electron microscope that is not available to many researchers. We present here a faster and more practical protocol with the advantage of a simpler two-dimensional optical (Photoactivated Localization Microscopy (PALM)) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) system that retains the often mutually exclusive attributes of fluorophore preservation and ultrastructure preservation. As before, cryosections were prepared using the Tokuyasu protocol, but the staining protocol was modified to be amenable for use in a standard SEM without the need for focused ion beam ablation. We show the versatility of this technique by labeling different cellular compartments and structures including mitochondrial nucleoids, peroxisomes, and the nuclear lamina. We also demonstrate simultaneous two-color PALM imaging with correlated electron micrographs. Lastly, this technique can be used with small-molecule dyes as demonstrated with actin labeling using phalloidin conjugated to a caged dye. By retaining the dense protein labeling expected for super-resolution microscopy combined with ultrastructural preservation, simplifying the tools required for correlative microscopy, and expanding the number of useful labels we expect this method to be accessible and valuable to a wide variety of researchers.

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    10/23/13 | Nonlinear dynamics support a linear population code in a retinal target-tracking circuit.
    Leonardo A, Meister M
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2013 Oct 23;33(43):16971-82. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2257-13.2013

    A basic task faced by the visual system of many organisms is to accurately track the position of moving prey. The retina is the first stage in the processing of such stimuli; the nature of the transformation here, from photons to spike trains, constrains not only the ultimate fidelity of the tracking signal but also the ease with which it can be extracted by other brain regions. Here we demonstrate that a population of fast-OFF ganglion cells in the salamander retina, whose dynamics are governed by a nonlinear circuit, serve to compute the future position of the target over hundreds of milliseconds. The extrapolated position of the target is not found by stimulus reconstruction but is instead computed by a weighted sum of ganglion cell outputs, the population vector average (PVA). The magnitude of PVA extrapolation varies systematically with target size, speed, and acceleration, such that large targets are tracked most accurately at high speeds, and small targets at low speeds, just as is seen in the motion of real prey. Tracking precision reaches the resolution of single photoreceptors, and the PVA algorithm performs more robustly than several alternative algorithms. If the salamander brain uses the fast-OFF cell circuit for target extrapolation as we suggest, the circuit dynamics should leave a microstructure on the behavior that may be measured in future experiments. Our analysis highlights the utility of simple computations that, while not globally optimal, are efficiently implemented and have close to optimal performance over a limited but ethologically relevant range of stimuli.

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    10/20/13 | Integration of the olfactory code across dendritic claws of single mushroom body neurons.
    Gruntman E, Turner GC
    Nature Neuroscience. 2013 Oct 20;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. Here we investigate where and how this combinatorial code is read out deeper in the brain. We exploit the unique morphology of neurons in the mushroom body (MB), which receive input on large dendritic claws. Imaging odor responses of these dendritic claws shows that input channels with distinct odor tuning converge on individual MB neurons. We determined how these inputs interact to drive the cell to spike threshold using intracellular recordings to examine MB responses to optogenetically controlled input. Our results provide an elegant explanation for the characteristic selectivity of MB neurons: these cells receive different types of input, and require those inputs to be coactive in order to spike. These results establish the MB as an important site of integration in the fly olfactory system.

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    10/19/13 | Biophysical mechanisms of computation in a looming sensitive neuron.
    Simon P. Peron
    The Computing Dendrite. 2013 Oct 19;11:277-293. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-8094-5_17

    The lobula giant movement detector (LGMD) is a large-field visual interneuron believed to be involved in collision avoidance and escape behaviors in orthopteran insects, such as locusts. Responses to approaching—or looming—stimuli are highly stereotypical, producing a peak that signals an angular size threshold. Over the past several decades, investigators have elucidated many of the mechanisms underpinning this response, demonstrating that the LGMD implements a multiplication in log-transformed coordinates. Furthermore, the LGMD possesses several mechanisms that preclude it responding to non-looming stimuli. This chapter explores these biophysical mechanisms, as well as highlighting insights the LGMD provides into general principles of dendritic integration.

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