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249 Publications

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    11/03/15 | Exocyst-dependent membrane addition is required for anaphase cell elongation and cytokinesis in Drosophila.
    Giansanti MG, Vanderleest TE, Jewett CE, Sechi S, Frappaolo A, Fabian L, Robinett CC, Brill JA, Loerke D, Fuller MT, Blankenship JT
    PLoS Genetics. 2015 Nov 03;11(11):e1005632. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005632

    Mitotic and cytokinetic processes harness cell machinery to drive chromosomal segregation and the physical separation of dividing cells. Here, we investigate the functional requirements for exocyst complex function during cell division in vivo, and demonstrate a common mechanism that directs anaphase cell elongation and cleavage furrow progression during cell division. We show that onion rings (onr) and funnel cakes (fun) encode the Drosophila homologs of the Exo84 and Sec8 exocyst subunits, respectively. In onr and fun mutant cells, contractile ring proteins are recruited to the equatorial region of dividing spermatocytes. However, cytokinesis is disrupted early in furrow ingression, leading to cytokinesis failure. We use high temporal and spatial resolution confocal imaging with automated computational analysis to quantitatively compare wild-type versus onr and fun mutant cells. These results demonstrate that anaphase cell elongation is grossly disrupted in cells that are compromised in exocyst complex function. Additionally, we observe that the increase in cell surface area in wild type peaks a few minutes into cytokinesis, and that onr and fun mutant cells have a greatly reduced rate of surface area growth specifically during cell division. Analysis by transmission electron microscopy reveals a massive build-up of cytoplasmic astral membrane and loss of normal Golgi architecture in onr and fun spermatocytes, suggesting that exocyst complex is required for proper vesicular trafficking through these compartments. Moreover, recruitment of the small GTPase Rab11 and the PITP Giotto to the cleavage site depends on wild-type function of the exocyst subunits Exo84 and Sec8. Finally, we show that the exocyst subunit Sec5 coimmunoprecipitates with Rab11. Our results are consistent with the exocyst complex mediating an essential, coordinated increase in cell surface area that potentiates anaphase cell elongation and cleavage furrow ingression.

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    11/03/15 | Synaptic circuits and their variations within different columns in the visual system of Drosophila.
    Takemura S, Xu CS, Lu Z, Rivlin PK, Parag T, Olbris DJ, Plaza S, Zhao T, Katz WT, Umayam L, Weaver C, Hess HF, Horne JA, Nunez-Iglesias J, Aniceto R, Chang L, Lauchie S, Nasca A, Ogundeyi O, Sigmund C, Takemura S, Tran J, Langille C, Le Lacheur K, McLin S, Shinomiya A, Chklovskii DB, Meinertzhagen IA, Scheffer LK
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 Nov 3;112(44):13711-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1509820112

    We reconstructed the synaptic circuits of seven columns in the second neuropil or medulla behind the fly's compound eye. These neurons embody some of the most stereotyped circuits in one of the most miniaturized of animal brains. The reconstructions allow us, for the first time to our knowledge, to study variations between circuits in the medulla's neighboring columns. This variation in the number of synapses and the types of their synaptic partners has previously been little addressed because methods that visualize multiple circuits have not resolved detailed connections, and existing connectomic studies, which can see such connections, have not so far examined multiple reconstructions of the same circuit. Here, we address the omission by comparing the circuits common to all seven columns to assess variation in their connection strengths and the resultant rates of several different and distinct types of connection error. Error rates reveal that, overall, <1% of contacts are not part of a consensus circuit, and we classify those contacts that supplement (E+) or are missing from it (E-). Autapses, in which the same cell is both presynaptic and postsynaptic at the same synapse, are occasionally seen; two cells in particular, Dm9 and Mi1, form ≥20-fold more autapses than do other neurons. These results delimit the accuracy of developmental events that establish and normally maintain synaptic circuits with such precision, and thereby address the operation of such circuits. They also establish a precedent for error rates that will be required in the new science of connectomics.

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    11/02/15 | Stochastic electrotransport selectively enhances the transport of highly electromobile molecules.
    Kim S, Cho JH, Murray E, Bakh N, Choi H, Ohn K, Ruelas L, Hubbert A, McCue M, Vassallo SL, Keller PJ, Chung K
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 Nov 2;112(46):E6274-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510133112

    Nondestructive chemical processing of porous samples such as fixed biological tissues typically relies on molecular diffusion. Diffusion into a porous structure is a slow process that significantly delays completion of chemical processing. Here, we present a novel electrokinetic method termed stochastic electrotransport for rapid nondestructive processing of porous samples. This method uses a rotational electric field to selectively disperse highly electromobile molecules throughout a porous sample without displacing the low-electromobility molecules that constitute the sample. Using computational models, we show that stochastic electrotransport can rapidly disperse electromobile molecules in a porous medium. We apply this method to completely clear mouse organs within 1–3 days and to stain them with nuclear dyes, proteins, and antibodies within 1 day. Our results demonstrate the potential of stochastic electrotransport to process large and dense tissue samples that were previously infeasible in time when relying on diffusion.

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    11/01/15 | Automatic estimation and correction of anisotropic magnification distortion in electron microscopes.
    Grant T, Grigorieff N
    Journal of Structural Biology. 2015 Nov;192(2):204-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2015.08.006

    We demonstrate a significant anisotropic magnification distortion, found on an FEI Titan Krios microscope and affecting magnifications commonly used for data acquisition on a Gatan K2 Summit detector. We describe a program (mag_distortion_estimate) to automatically estimate anisotropic magnification distortion from a set of images of a standard gold shadowed diffraction grating. We also describe a program (mag_distortion_correct) to correct for the estimated distortion in collected images. We demonstrate that the distortion present on the Titan Krios microscope limits the resolution of a set of rotavirus VP6 images to ∼7 Å, which increases to ∼3 Å following estimation and correction of the distortion. We also use a 70S ribosome sample to demonstrate that in addition to affecting resolution, magnification distortion can also interfere with the classification of heterogeneous data.

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    11/01/15 | Minimally invasive microendoscopy system for in vivo functional imaging of deep nuclei in the mouse brain.
    Bocarsly ME, Jiang W, Wang C, Dudman JT, Ji N, Aponte Y
    Biomedical Optics Express. 2015 Nov 1;6(11):4546-56. doi: 10.1364/BOE.6.004546

    The ability to image neurons anywhere in the mammalian brain is a major goal of optical microscopy. Here we describe a minimally invasive microendoscopy system for studying the morphology and function of neurons at depth. Utilizing a guide cannula with an ultrathin wall, we demonstrated in vivo two-photon fluorescence imaging of deeply buried nuclei such as the striatum (2.5 mm depth), substantia nigra (4.4 mm depth) and lateral hypothalamus (5.0 mm depth) in mouse brain. We reported, for the first time, the observation of neuronal activity with subcellular resolution in the lateral hypothalamus and substantia nigra of head-fixed awake mice.

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    11/01/15 | Structural basis for the antipolymer activity of Hb ζ22βsζ2βs2 trapped in a tense conformation.
    Safo MK, Ko T, Schreiter ER, Russell JE
    Journal of Molecular Structure. 2015 Nov;1099:99-107. doi: 10.1016/j.molstruc.2015.06.047

    The phenotypical severity of sickle cell disease (SCD) can be mitigated by modifying mutant hemoglobin S (Hb S, Hb α2β2s) to contain embryonic ζ globin in place of adult α-globin subunits (Hb ζ2β2s). Crystallographical analyses of liganded Hb ζζ2β2s, though, demonstrate a tense (T-state) quaternary structure that paradoxically predicts its participation in--rather than its exclusion from--pathological deoxyHb S polymers. We resolved this structure-function conundrum by examining the effects of α → ζ exchange on the characteristics of specific amino acids that mediate sickle polymer assembly. Superposition analyses of the βs subunits of T-state deoxyHb α2β2s and T-state CO-liganded Hb ζ2β2s reveal significant displacements of both mutant βsVal6 and conserved β-chain contact residues, predicting weakening of corresponding polymer-stabilizing interactions. Similar comparisons of the α- and ζ-globin subunits implicate four amino acids that are either repositioned or undergo non-conservative substitution, abrogating critical polymer contacts. CO-Hb ζ2βs2 additionally exhibits a unique trimer-of-heterotetramers crystal packing that is sustained by novel intermolecular interactions involving the pathological βsVal6, contrasting sharply with the classical double-stranded packing of deoxyHb S. Finally, the unusually large buried solvent-accessible surface area for CO-Hb ζ2β2s suggests that it does not co-assemble with deoxyHb S in vivo  . In sum, the antipolymer activities of Hb ζ2β2s appear to arise from both repositioning and replacement of specific α- and βs-chain residues, favoring an alternate T-state solution structure that is excluded from pathological deoxyHb S polymers. These data account for the antipolymer activity of Hb ζ2β2s, and recommend the utility of SCD therapeutics that capitalize on α-globin exchange strategies.

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    11/01/15 | Vinculin is required for cell polarization, migration, and extracellular matrix remodeling in 3D collagen.
    Thievessen I, Fakhri N, Steinwachs J, Kraus V, McIsaac RS, Gao L, Chen B, Baird MA, Davidson MW, Betzig E, Oldenbourg R, Waterman CM, Fabry B
    FASEB Journal. 2015 Nov;29(11):4555-67. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-268235

    Vinculin is filamentous (F)-actin-binding protein enriched in integrin-based adhesions to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Whereas studies in 2-dimensional (2D) tissue culture models have suggested that vinculin negatively regulates cell migration by promoting cytoskeleton-ECM coupling to strengthen and stabilize adhesions, its role in regulating cell migration in more physiologic, 3-dimensional (3D) environments is unclear. To address the role of vinculin in 3D cell migration, we analyzed the morphodynamics, migration, and ECM remodeling of primary murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) with cre/loxP-mediated vinculin gene disruption in 3D collagen I cultures. We found that vinculin promoted 3D cell migration by increasing directional persistence. Vinculin was necessary for persistent cell protrusion, cell elongation, and stable cell orientation in 3D collagen, but was dispensable for lamellipodia formation, suggesting that vinculin-mediated cell adhesion to the ECM is needed to convert actin-based cell protrusion into persistent cell shape change and migration. Consistent with this finding, vinculin was necessary for efficient traction force generation in 3D collagen without affecting myosin II activity and promoted 3D collagen fiber alignment and macroscopical gel contraction. Our results suggest that vinculin promotes directionally persistent cell migration and tension-dependent ECM remodeling in complex 3D environments by increasing cell-ECM adhesion and traction force generation.-Thievessen, I., Fakhri, N., Steinwachs, J., Kraus, V., McIsaac, R. S., Gao, L., Chen, B.-C., Baird, M. A., Davidson, M. W., Betzig, E., Oldenbourg, R., Waterman, C., M., Fabry, B. Vinculin is required for cell polarization, migration, and extracellular matrix remodeling in 3D collagen.

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    Freeman Lab
    10/30/15 | Mapping nonlinear receptive field structure in primate retina at single cone resolution.
    Freeman J, Field GD, Li PH, Greschner M, Gunning DE, Mathieson K, Sher A, Litke AM, Paninski L, Simoncelli EP, Chichilnisky EJ
    eLife. 2015 Oct 30;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.05241

    The function of a neural circuit is shaped by the computations performed by its interneurons, which in many cases are not easily accessible to experimental investigation. Here, we elucidate the transformation of visual signals flowing from the input to the output of the primate retina, using a combination of large-scale multi-electrode recordings from an identified ganglion cell type, visual stimulation targeted at individual cone photoreceptors, and a hierarchical computational model. The results reveal nonlinear subunits in the circuity of OFF midget ganglion cells, which subserve high-resolution vision. The model explains light responses to a variety of stimuli more accurately than a linear model, including stimuli targeted to cones within and across subunits. The recovered model components are consistent with known anatomical organization of midget bipolar interneurons. These results reveal the spatial structure of linear and nonlinear encoding, at the resolution of single cells and at the scale of complete circuits.

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    10/28/15 | A major locus controls a genital shape difference involved in reproductive isolation between Drosophila yakuba and Drosophila santomea.
    Peluffo AE, Nuez I, Debat V, Savisaar R, Stern DL, Orgogozo V
    G3 (Bethesda, Md.). 2015 Oct 28;5(12):2893-901. doi: 10.1534/g3.115.023481

    Rapid evolution of genitalia shape, a widespread phenomenon in animals with internal fertilization, offers the opportunity to dissect the genetic architecture of morphological evolution linked to sexual selection and speciation. Most quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping studies of genitalia divergence have focused on Drosophila melanogaster and its three most closely related species, D. simulans, D. mauritiana, and D. sechellia, and have suggested that the genetic basis of genitalia evolution involves many loci. We report the first genetic study of male genitalia evolution between D. yakuba and D. santomea, two species of the D. melanogaster species subgroup. We focus on male ventral branches, which harm females during interspecific copulation. Using landmark-based geometric morphometrics, we characterized shape variation in parental species, F1 hybrids, and backcross progeny and show that the main axis of shape variation within the backcross population matches the interspecific variation between parental species. For genotyping, we developed a new molecular method to perform multiplexed shotgun genotyping (MSG), which allowed us to prepare genomic DNA libraries from 365 backcross individuals in a few days using little DNA. We detected only three QTL, one of which spans 2.7 Mb and exhibits a highly significant effect on shape variation that can be linked to the harmfulness of the ventral branches. We conclude that the genetic architecture of genitalia morphology divergence may not always be as complex as suggested by previous studies.

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    Sternson Lab
    10/26/15 | Hunger: The carrot and the stick.
    Sternson SM
    Molecular Metabolism. 2016 Jan;5(1):1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2015.10.002