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236 Publications

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    10/24/14 | A giant fibre bypass for the fly.
    Zwart M
    Journal of Experimental Biology. 2014 Oct 24;217(17):2988-89. doi: 10.1242/​jeb.095000
    Gonen Lab
    10/24/14 | High thermodynamic stability of parametrically designed helical bundles.
    Huang P, Oberdorfer G, Xu C, Pei XY, Nannenga BL, Rogers JM, DiMaio F, Gonen T, Luisi B, Baker D
    Science. 2014 Oct 24;346(6208):481-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1257481

    We describe a procedure for designing proteins with backbones produced by varying the parameters in the Crick coiled coil-generating equations. Combinatorial design calculations identify low-energy sequences for alternative helix supercoil arrangements, and the helices in the lowest-energy arrangements are connected by loop building. We design an antiparallel monomeric untwisted three-helix bundle with 80-residue helices, an antiparallel monomeric right-handed four-helix bundle, and a pentameric parallel left-handed five-helix bundle. The designed proteins are extremely stable (extrapolated ΔGfold > 60 kilocalories per mole), and their crystal structures are close to those of the design models with nearly identical core packing between the helices. The approach enables the custom design of hyperstable proteins with fine-tuned geometries for a wide range of applications.

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    10/24/14 | Lattice light-sheet microscopy: imaging molecules to embryos at high spatiotemporal resolution.
    Chen B, Legant WR, Wang K, Shao L, Milkie DE, Davidson MW, Janetopoulos C, Wu XS, Hammer JA, Liu Z, English BP, Mimori-Kiyosue Y, Romero DP, Ritter AT, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Fritz-Laylin L, Mullins RD, Mitchell DM, Bembenek JN, Reymann A, Böhme R, Grill SW, Wang JT, Seydoux G, Tulu US, Kiehart DP, Betzig E
    Science. 2014 Oct 24;346(6208):1257998. doi: 10.1126/science.1257998

    Although fluorescence microscopy provides a crucial window into the physiology of living specimens, many biological processes are too fragile, are too small, or occur too rapidly to see clearly with existing tools. We crafted ultrathin light sheets from two-dimensional optical lattices that allowed us to image three-dimensional (3D) dynamics for hundreds of volumes, often at subsecond intervals, at the diffraction limit and beyond. We applied this to systems spanning four orders of magnitude in space and time, including the diffusion of single transcription factor molecules in stem cell spheroids, the dynamic instability of mitotic microtubules, the immunological synapse, neutrophil motility in a 3D matrix, and embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. The results provide a visceral reminder of the beauty and the complexity of living systems.

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    Svoboda Lab
    10/23/14 | Thorough GABAergic innervation of the entire axon initial segment revealed by an optogenetic 'laserspritzer'.
    Wang X, Hooks BM, Sun Q
    Journal of Physiology - London. 2014 Oct 1;592(Pt 19):4257-76. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2014.275719

    GABAergic terminals of chandelier cells exclusively innervate the axon initial segment (AIS) of excitatory neurons. Although the anatomy of these synapses has been well-studied in several brain areas, relatively little is known about their physiological properties. Using vesicular γ-aminobutyric acid transporter-channelrhodopsin 2-enhanced yellow fluorescence protein (VGAT-ChR2-YFP)-expressing mice and a novel fibreoptic 'laserspritzer' approach that we developed, we investigated the physiological properties of axo-axonic synapses (AASs) in brain slices from the piriform cortex (PC) of mice. AASs were in close proximity to voltage-gated Na(+) (NaV) channels located at the AIS. AASs were selectively activated by a 5 μm laserspritzer placed in close proximity to the AIS. Under a minimal laser stimulation condition and using whole-cell somatic voltage-clamp recordings, the amplitudes and kinetics of IPSCs mediated by AASs were similar to those mediated by perisomatic inhibitions. Results were further validated with channelrhodopsin 2-assisted circuit mapping (CRACM) of the entire inhibitory inputs map. For the first time, we revealed that the laserspritzer-induced AAS-IPSCs persisted in the presence of TTX and TEA but not 4-AP. Next, using gramicidin-based perforated patch recordings, we found that the GABA reversal potential (EGABA) was -73.6 ± 1.2 mV when induced at the AIS and -72.8 ± 1.1 mV when induced at the perisomatic site. Our anatomical and physiological results lead to the novel conclusions that: (1) AASs innervate the entire length of the AIS, as opposed to forming a highly concentrated cartridge, (2) AAS inhibition suppresses action potentials and epileptiform activity more robustly than perisomatic inhibitions, and (3) AAS activation alone can be sufficient to inhibit action potential generation and epileptiform activities in vitro.

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    10/21/14 | Oscillatory activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens correlates with impulsivity and reward outcome.
    Donnelly NA, Holtzman T, Rich PD, Nevado-Holgado AJ, Fernando AB, Van Dijck G, Holzhammer T, Paul O, Ruther P, Paulsen O, Robbins TW, Dalley JW
    PLoS One. 2014 Oct 21;9(10):e111300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111300

    Actions expressed prematurely without regard for their consequences are considered impulsive. Such behaviour is governed by a network of brain regions including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAcb) and is prevalent in disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and drug addiction. However, little is known of the relationship between neural activity in these regions and specific forms of impulsive behaviour. In the present study we investigated local field potential (LFP) oscillations in distinct sub-regions of the PFC and NAcb on a 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT), which measures sustained, spatially-divided visual attention and action restraint. The main findings show that power in gamma frequency (50-60 Hz) LFP oscillations transiently increases in the PFC and NAcb during both the anticipation of a cue signalling the spatial location of a nose-poke response and again following correct responses. Gamma oscillations were coupled to low-frequency delta oscillations in both regions; this coupling strengthened specifically when an error response was made. Theta (7-9 Hz) LFP power in the PFC and NAcb increased during the waiting period and was also related to response outcome. Additionally, both gamma and theta power were significantly affected by upcoming premature responses as rats waited for the visual cue to respond. In a subgroup of rats showing persistently high levels of impulsivity we found that impulsivity was associated with increased error signals following a nose-poke response, as well as reduced signals of previous trial outcome during the waiting period. Collectively, these in-vivo neurophysiological findings further implicate the PFC and NAcb in anticipatory impulsive responses and provide evidence that abnormalities in the encoding of rewarding outcomes may underlie trait-like impulsive behaviour.

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    10/17/14 | Novel cell-based odorant sensor elements based on insect odorant receptors.
    Mitsuno H, Sakurai T, Namiki S, Mitsuhashi H, Kanzaki R
    Biosensors & Bioelectronics. 2014 Oct 17;65C:287-294. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2014.10.026

    Development of cell-based odorant sensor elements combined not only high degree of sensitivity and selectivity but also long-term stability is crucial for their practical applications. Here we report the development of a novel cell-based odorant sensor element that sensitively and selectively detects odorants and displays increased fluorescent intensities over a long period of time. Our odorant sensor elements, based on Sf21 cell lines expressing insect odorant receptors, are sensitive to the level of several tens of parts per billion in solution, can selectively distinguish between different types of odorants based on the odorant selectivity intrinsic to the expressed receptors, and have response times of approximately 13s. Specifically, with the use of Sf21 cells and insect odorant receptors, we demonstrated that the established cell lines stably expressing insect odorant receptors are able to detect odorants with consistent responsiveness for at least 2 months, thus exceeding the short life-span normally associated with cell-based sensors. We also demonstrated the development of a compact odorant sensor chip by integrating the established insect cell lines into a microfluidic chip. The methodology we established in this study, in conjunction with the large repertoire of insect odorant receptors, will aid in the development of practical cell-based odorant sensors for various applications, including food administration and health management.

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    Gonen Lab
    10/17/14 | Structure of catalase determined by MicroED.
    Nannenga BL, Shi D, Hattne J, Reyes FE, Gonen T
    eLife. 2014 Oct 17;3:e03600. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03600

    MicroED is a recently developed method that uses electron diffraction for structure determination from very small three-dimensional crystals of biological material. Previously we used a series of still diffraction patterns to determine the structure of lysozyme at 2.9 Å resolution with MicroED (Shi et al., 2013). Here we present the structure of bovine liver catalase determined from a single crystal at 3.2 Å resolution by MicroED. The data were collected by continuous rotation of the sample under constant exposure and were processed and refined using standard programs for X-ray crystallography. The ability of MicroED to determine the structure of bovine liver catalase, a protein that has long resisted atomic analysis by traditional electron crystallography, demonstrates the potential of this method for structure determination.

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    10/15/14 | The PAR complex controls the spatiotemporal dynamics of F-actin and the MTOC in directionally migrating leukocytes.
    Crespo C, Vernieri C, Keller PJ, Garrè M, Bender JR, Wittbrodt J, Pardi R
    Journal of Cell Science. 2014 Oct 15;127(Pt 20):4381-95. doi: 10.1242/jcs.146217

    Inflammatory cells acquire a polarized phenotype to migrate towards sites of infection or injury. A conserved polarity complex comprising PAR-3, PAR-6 and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) relays extracellular polarizing cues to control cytoskeletal and signaling networks affecting morphological and functional polarization. However, there is no evidence that myeloid cells use PAR signaling to migrate vectorially in three-dimensional (3D) environments in vivo. Using genetically encoded bioprobes and high-resolution live imaging, we reveal the existence of F-actin oscillations in the trailing edge and constant repositioning of the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) to direct leukocyte migration in wounded medaka fish larvae (Oryzias latipes). Genetic manipulation in live myeloid cells demonstrates that the catalytic activity of aPKC and the regulated interaction with PAR-3 and PAR-6 are required for consistent F-actin oscillations, MTOC perinuclear mobility, aPKC repositioning and wound-directed migration upstream of Rho kinase (also known as ROCK or ROK) activation. We propose that the PAR complex coordinately controls cytoskeletal changes affecting both the generation of traction force and the directionality of leukocyte migration to sites of injury.

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    10/15/14 | Unilateral whisker trimming in newborn rats alters neuronal coincident discharge among mature barrel cortex neurons.
    Ghoshal A, Lustig B, Popescu M, Ebner F, Pouget P
    Journal of neurophysiology. 2014 Oct 15;112(8):1925-35. doi: 10.1152/jn.00562.2013

    It is known that sensory deprivation, including postnatal whisker trimming, can lead to severe deficits in the firing rate properties of cortical neurons. Recent results indicate that development of synchronous discharge among cortical neurons is also activity influenced, and that correlated discharge is significantly impaired following loss of bilateral sensory input in rats. Here we investigate whether unilateral whisker trimming (unilateral deprivation or UD) after birth interferes in the same way with the development of synchronous discharge in cortex. We measured the coincidence of spikes among pairs of neurons recorded under urethane anesthesia in one whisker barrel field deprived by trimming all contralateral whiskers for 60 days after birth (UD), and in untrimmed controls (CON). In the septal columns around barrels, UD significantly increased the coincident discharge among cortical neurons compared with CON, most notably in layers II/III. In contrast, synchronous discharge was normal between layer IV UD barrel neurons: i.e., not different from CON. Thus, while bilateral whisker deprivation (BD) produced a global deficit in the development of synchrony in layer IV, UD did not block the development of synchrony between neurons in layer IV barrels and increased synchrony within septal circuits. We conclude that changes in synchronous discharge after UD are unexpectedly different from those recorded after BD, and we speculate that this effect may be due to the driven activity from active commissural inputs arising from the contralateral hemisphere that received normal activity levels during postnatal development.

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    10/14/14 | Word length effect in free recall of randomly assembled word lists.
    Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2014 Oct 14;8:129. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2014.00129

    In serial recall experiments, human subjects are requested to retrieve a list of words in the same order as they were presented. In a classical study, participants were reported to recall more words from study lists composed of short words compared to lists of long words, the word length effect. The world length effect was also observed in free recall experiments, where subjects can retrieve the words in any order. Here we analyzed a large dataset from free recall experiments of unrelated words, where short and long words were randomly mixed, and found a seemingly opposite effect: long words are recalled better than the short ones. We show that our recently proposed mechanism of associative retrieval can explain both these observations. Moreover, the direction of the effect depends solely on the way study lists are composed.

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