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236 Publications

Showing 201-210 of 236 results
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    02/03/14 | Wiring economy can account for cell body placement across species and brain areas.
    Rivera-Alba M, Peng H, de Polavieja GG, Chklovskii DB
    Current biology : CB. 2014 Feb 3;24:R109-10. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.012

    The placement of neuronal cell bodies relative to the neuropile differs among species and brain areas. Cell bodies can be either embedded as in mammalian cortex or segregated as in invertebrates and some other vertebrate brain areas. Why are there such different arrangements? Here we suggest that the observed arrangements may simply be a reflection of wiring economy, a general principle that tends to reduce the total volume of the neuropile and hence the volume of the inclusions in it. Specifically, we suggest that the choice of embedded versus segregated arrangement is determined by which neuronal component - the cell body or the neurite connecting the cell body to the arbor - has a smaller volume. Our quantitative predictions are in agreement with existing and new measurements.

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    02/01/14 | Optimized ratiometric calcium sensors for functional in vivo imaging of neurons and T lymphocytes.
    Thestrup T, Litzlbauer J, Bartholomäus I, Mues M, Russo L, Dana H, Kovalchuk Y, Liang Y, Kalamakis G, Laukat Y, Becker S, Witte G, Geiger A, Allen T, Rome LC, Chen T, Kim DS, Garaschuk O, Griesinger C, Griesbeck O
    Nature Methods. 2014 Feb;11(2):175-82. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2773

    The quality of genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) has improved dramatically in recent years, but high-performing ratiometric indicators are still rare. Here we describe a series of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based calcium biosensors with a reduced number of calcium binding sites per sensor. These ’Twitch’ sensors are based on the C-terminal domain of Opsanus troponin C. Their FRET responses were optimized by a large-scale functional screen in bacterial colonies, refined by a secondary screen in rat hippocampal neuron cultures. We tested the in vivo performance of the most sensitive variants in the brain and lymph nodes of mice. The sensitivity of the Twitch sensors matched that of synthetic calcium dyes and allowed visualization of tonic action potential firing in neurons and high resolution functional tracking of T lymphocytes. Given their ratiometric readout, their brightness, large dynamic range and linear response properties, Twitch sensors represent versatile tools for neuroscience and immunology.

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    01/31/14 | EGFR and FGFR pathways have distinct roles in Drosophila mushroom body development and ethanol-induced behavior.
    King IF, Eddison M, Kaun KR, Heberlein U
    PLoS One. 2014 Jan 31;9(1):e87714. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087714

    Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signaling has a conserved role in ethanol-induced behavior in flies and mice, affecting ethanol-induced sedation in both species. However it is not known what other effects EGFR signaling may have on ethanol-induced behavior, or what roles other Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) pathways may play in ethanol induced behaviors. We examined the effects of both the EGFR and Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) RTK signaling pathways on ethanol-induced enhancement of locomotion, a behavior distinct from sedation that may be associated with the rewarding effects of ethanol. We find that both EGFR and FGFR genes influence ethanol-induced locomotion, though their effects are opposite - EGFR signaling suppresses this behavior, while FGFR signaling promotes it. EGFR signaling affects development of the Drosophila mushroom bodies in conjunction with the JNK MAP kinase basket (bsk), and with the Ste20 kinase tao, and we hypothesize that the EGFR pathway affects ethanol-induced locomotion through its effects on neuronal development. We find, however, that FGFR signaling most likely affects ethanol-induced behavior through a different mechanism, possibly through acute action in adult neurons.

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    01/31/14 | Population genomics of the honey bee reveals strong signatures of positive selection on worker traits.
    Harpur BA, Kent CF, Molodtsova D, Lebon JM, Alqarni AS, Owayss AA, Zayed A
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014 Jan 31;111(7):2614-19. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315506111

    Most theories used to explain the evolution of eusociality rest upon two key assumptions: mutations affecting the phenotype of sterile workers evolve by positive selection if the resulting traits benefit fertile kin, and that worker traits provide the primary mechanism allowing social insects to adapt to their environment. Despite the common view that positive selection drives phenotypic evolution of workers, we know very little about the prevalence of positive selection acting on the genomes of eusocial insects. We mapped the footprints of positive selection in Apis mellifera through analysis of 40 individual genomes, allowing us to identify thousands of genes and regulatory sequences with signatures of adaptive evolution over multiple timescales. We found Apoidea- and Apis-specific genes to be enriched for signatures of positive selection, indicating that novel genes play a disproportionately large role in adaptive evolution of eusocial insects. Worker-biased proteins have higher signatures of adaptive evolution relative to queen-biased proteins, supporting the view that worker traits are key to adaptation. We also found genes regulating worker division of labor to be enriched for signs of positive selection. Finally, genes associated with worker behavior based on analysis of brain gene expression were highly enriched for adaptive protein and cis-regulatory evolution. Our study highlights the significant contribution of worker phenotypes to adaptive evolution in social insects, and provides a wealth of knowledge on the loci that influence fitness in honey bees.

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    01/28/14 | Single-molecule tracking of the transcription cycle by sub-second RNA detection.
    Zhang Z, Revyakin A, Grimm JB, Lavis LD, Tjian R
    eLife. 2014 Jan 28;3:e01775. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01775

    Transcription is an inherently stochastic, noisy, and multi-step process, in which fluctuations at every step can cause variations in RNA synthesis, and affect physiology and differentiation decisions in otherwise identical cells. However, it has been an experimental challenge to directly link the stochastic events at the promoter to transcript production. Here we established a fast fluorescence in situ hybridization (fastFISH) method that takes advantage of intrinsically unstructured nucleic acid sequences to achieve exceptionally fast rates of specific hybridization (\~{}10e7 M(-1)s(-1)), and allows deterministic detection of single nascent transcripts. Using a prototypical RNA polymerase, we demonstrated the use of fastFISH to measure the kinetic rates of promoter escape, elongation, and termination in one assay at the single-molecule level, at sub-second temporal resolution. The principles of fastFISH design can be used to study stochasticity in gene regulation, to select targets for gene silencing, and to design nucleic acid nanostructures. DOI:

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    Ji Lab
    01/27/14 | Direct phase measurement in zonal wavefront reconstruction using multidither coherent optical adaptive technique.
    Liu R, Milkie DE, Kerlin A, Maclennan B, Ji N
    Optics Express. 2014 Jan 27;22(2):1619-28. doi: 10.1364/OE.22.001619

    In traditional zonal wavefront sensing for adaptive optics, after local wavefront gradients are obtained, the entire wavefront can be calculated by assuming that the wavefront is a continuous surface. Such an approach will lead to sub-optimal performance in reconstructing wavefronts which are either discontinuous or undersampled by the zonal wavefront sensor. Here, we report a new method to reconstruct the wavefront by directly measuring local wavefront phases in parallel using multidither coherent optical adaptive technique. This method determines the relative phases of each pupil segment independently, and thus produces an accurate wavefront for even discontinuous wavefronts. We implemented this method in an adaptive optical two-photon fluorescence microscopy and demonstrated its superior performance in correcting large or discontinuous aberrations.

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    01/26/14 | Correlative super-resolution fluorescence and metal-replica transmission electron microscopy.
    Sochacki KA, Shtengel G, Van Engelenburg SB, Hess HF, Taraska JW
    Nature Methods. 2014 Jan 26;11(3):305-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2816

    We combine super-resolution localization fluorescence microscopy with transmission electron microscopy of metal replicas to locate proteins on the landscape of the cellular plasma membrane at the nanoscale. We validate robust correlation on the scale of 20 nm by imaging endogenous clathrin (in two and three dimensions) and apply the method to find the previously unknown three-dimensional position of the endocytic protein epsin on clathrin-coated structures at the plasma membrane.

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    Singer Lab
    01/24/14 | Single β-actin mRNA detection in neurons reveals a mechanism for regulating its translatability.
    Buxbaum AR, Wu B, Singer RH
    Science. 2014 Jan 24;343(6169):419-22. doi: 10.1126/science.1242939

    The physical manifestation of learning and memory formation in the brain can be expressed by strengthening or weakening of synaptic connections through morphological changes. Local actin remodeling underlies some forms of plasticity and may be facilitated by local β-actin synthesis, but dynamic information is lacking. In this work, we use single-molecule in situ hybridization to demonstrate that dendritic β-actin messenger RNA (mRNA) and ribosomes are in a masked, neuron-specific form. Chemically induced long-term potentiation prompts transient mRNA unmasking, which depends on factors active during synaptic activity. Ribosomes and single β-actin mRNA motility increase after stimulation, indicative of release from complexes. Hence, the single-molecule assays we developed allow for the quantification of activity-induced unmasking and availability for active translation. Further, our work demonstrates that β-actin mRNA and ribosomes are in a masked state that is alleviated by stimulation.

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    01/24/14 | Visualization of dynamics of single endogenous mRNA labeled in live mouse.
    Park HY, Lim H, Yoon YJ, Follenzi A, Nwokafor C, Lopez-Jones M, Meng X, Singer RH
    Science. 2014 Jan 24;343(6169):422-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1239200

    The transcription and transport of messenger RNA (mRNA) are critical steps in regulating the spatial and temporal components of gene expression, but it has not been possible to observe the dynamics of endogenous mRNA in primary mammalian tissues. We have developed a transgenic mouse in which all β-actin mRNA is fluorescently labeled. We found that β-actin mRNA in primary fibroblasts localizes predominantly by diffusion and trapping as single mRNAs. In cultured neurons and acute brain slices, we found that multiple β-actin mRNAs can assemble together, travel by active transport, and disassemble upon depolarization by potassium chloride. Imaging of brain slices revealed immediate early induction of β-actin transcription after depolarization. Studying endogenous mRNA in live mouse tissues provides insight into its dynamic regulation within the context of the cellular and tissue microenvironment.

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    01/22/14 | Adaptation to background light enables contrast coding at rod bipolar cell synapses.
    Ke J, Wang YV, Borghuis BG, Cembrowski MS, Riecke H, Kath WL, Demb JB, Singer JH
    Neuron. 2014 Jan 22;81(2):388-401. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.054

    Rod photoreceptors contribute to vision over an ∼ 6-log-unit range of light intensities. The wide dynamic range of rod vision is thought to depend upon light intensity-dependent switching between two parallel pathways linking rods to ganglion cells: a rod → rod bipolar (RB) cell pathway that operates at dim backgrounds and a rod → cone → cone bipolar cell pathway that operates at brighter backgrounds. We evaluated this conventional model of rod vision by recording rod-mediated light responses from ganglion and AII amacrine cells and by recording RB-mediated synaptic currents from AII amacrine cells in mouse retina. Contrary to the conventional model, we found that the RB pathway functioned at backgrounds sufficient to activate the rod → cone pathway. As background light intensity increased, the RB's role changed from encoding the absorption of single photons to encoding contrast modulations around mean luminance. This transition is explained by the intrinsic dynamics of transmission from RB synapses.

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