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249 Publications

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    10/26/15 | Whole-animal functional and developmental imaging with isotropic spatial resolution
    Chhetri RK, Amat F, Wan Y, Höckendorf B, Lemon WC, Keller PJ
    Nature Methods. 2015 Oct 26;12(12):1171-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3632

    Imaging fast cellular dynamics across large specimens requires high resolution in all dimensions, high imaging speeds, good physical coverage and low photo-damage. To meet these requirements, we developed isotropic multiview (IsoView) light-sheet microscopy, which rapidly images large specimens via simultaneous light-sheet illumination and fluorescence detection along four orthogonal directions. Combining these four views by means of high-throughput multiview deconvolution yields images with high resolution in all three dimensions. We demonstrate whole-animal functional imaging of Drosophila larvae at a spatial resolution of 1.1-2.5 μm and temporal resolution of 2 Hz for several hours. We also present spatially isotropic whole-brain functional imaging in Danio rerio larvae and spatially isotropic multicolor imaging of fast cellular dynamics across gastrulating Drosophila embryos. Compared with conventional light-sheet microscopy, IsoView microscopy improves spatial resolution at least sevenfold and decreases resolution anisotropy at least threefold. Compared with existing high-resolution light-sheet techniques, IsoView microscopy effectively doubles the penetration depth and provides subsecond temporal resolution for specimens 400-fold larger than could previously be imaged.

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    10/24/15 | Nonlinear circuits for naturalistic visual motion estimation.
    Fitzgerald JE, Clark DA
    eLife. 2015 Oct 24;4:e09123. doi: 10.7554/eLife.09123

    Many animals use visual signals to estimate motion. Canonical models suppose that animals estimate motion by cross-correlating pairs of spatiotemporally separated visual signals, but recent experiments indicate that humans and flies perceive motion from higher-order correlations that signify motion in natural environments. Here we show how biologically plausible processing motifs in neural circuits could be tuned to extract this information. We emphasize how known aspects of Drosophila's visual circuitry could embody this tuning and predict fly behavior. We find that segregating motion signals into ON/OFF channels can enhance estimation accuracy by accounting for natural light/dark asymmetries. Furthermore, a diversity of inputs to motion detecting neurons can provide access to more complex higher-order correlations. Collectively, these results illustrate how non-canonical computations improve motion estimation with naturalistic inputs. This argues that the complexity of the fly's motion computations, implemented in its elaborate circuits, represents a valuable feature of its visual motion estimator.

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    Branson LabFreeman Lab
    10/22/15 | Imaging the neural basis of locomotion.
    Branson K, Freeman J
    Cell. 2015 Oct 22;163(3):541-2. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.014

    To investigate the fundamental question of how nervous systems encode, organize, and sequence behaviors, Kato et al. imaged neural activity with cellular resolution across the brain of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Locomotion behavior seems to be continuously represented by cyclical patterns of distributed neural activity that are present even in immobilized animals.

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    Cardona LabTruman LabFetter Lab
    10/21/15 | Even-Skipped(+) interneurons are core components of a sensorimotor circuit that maintains left-right symmetric muscle contraction amplitude.
    Heckscher ES, Zarin AA, Faumont S, Clark MQ, Manning L, Fushiki A, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Zwart MF, Landgraf M, Cardona A, Lockery SR, Doe CQ
    Neuron. 2015 Oct 21;88(2):314-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.009

    Bilaterally symmetric motor patterns-those in which left-right pairs of muscles contract synchronously and with equal amplitude (such as breathing, smiling, whisking, and locomotion)-are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the underlying neural circuits. We performed a thermogenetic screen to identify neurons required for bilaterally symmetric locomotion in Drosophila larvae and identified the evolutionarily conserved Even-skipped(+) interneurons (Eve/Evx). Activation or ablation of Eve(+) interneurons disrupted bilaterally symmetric muscle contraction amplitude, without affecting the timing of motor output. Eve(+) interneurons are not rhythmically active and thus function independently of the locomotor CPG. GCaMP6 calcium imaging of Eve(+) interneurons in freely moving larvae showed left-right asymmetric activation that correlated with larval behavior. TEM reconstruction of Eve(+) interneuron inputs and outputs showed that the Eve(+) interneurons are at the core of a sensorimotor circuit capable of detecting and modifying body wall muscle contraction.

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    10/21/15 | Neural encoding of odors during active sampling and in turbulent plumes.
    Huston SJ, Stopfer M, Cassenaer S, Aldworth ZN, Laurent G
    Neuron. 2015 Oct 21;88(2):403-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.007

    Sensory inputs are often fluctuating and intermittent, yet animals reliably utilize them to direct behavior. Here we ask how natural stimulus fluctuations influence the dynamic neural encoding of odors. Using the locust olfactory system, we isolated two main causes of odor intermittency: chaotic odor plumes and active sampling behaviors. Despite their irregularity, chaotic odor plumes still drove dynamic neural response features including the synchronization, temporal patterning, and short-term plasticity of spiking in projection neurons, enabling classifier-based stimulus identification and activating downstream decoders (Kenyon cells). Locusts can also impose odor intermittency through active sampling movements with their unrestrained antennae. Odors triggered immediate, spatially targeted antennal scanning that, paradoxically, weakened individual neural responses. However, these frequent but weaker responses were highly informative about stimulus location. Thus, not only are odor-elicited dynamic neural responses compatible with natural stimulus fluctuations and important for stimulus identification, but locusts actively increase intermittency, possibly to improve stimulus localization.

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    10/19/15 | Drosophila Lgr3 couples organ growth with maturation and ensures developmental stability.
    Colombani J, Andersen DS, Boulan L, Boone E, Romero N, Virolle V, Texada M, Léopold P
    Current biology : CB. 2015 Oct 19;25(20):2723-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.020

    Early transplantation and grafting experiments suggest that body organs follow autonomous growth programs [1-3], therefore pointing to a need for coordination mechanisms to produce fit individuals with proper proportions. We recently identified Drosophila insulin-like peptide 8 (Dilp8) as a relaxin and insulin-like molecule secreted from growing tissues that plays a central role in coordinating growth between organs and coupling organ growth with animal maturation [4, 5]. Deciphering the function of Dilp8 in growth coordination relies on the identification of the receptor and tissues relaying Dilp8 signaling. We show here that the orphan receptor leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 3 (Lgr3), a member of the highly conserved family of relaxin family peptide receptors (RXFPs), mediates the checkpoint function of Dilp8 for entry into maturation. We functionally identify two Lgr3-positive neurons in each brain lobe that are required to induce a developmental delay upon overexpression of Dilp8. These neurons are located in the pars intercerebralis, an important neuroendocrine area in the brain, and make physical contacts with the PTTH neurons that ultimately control the production and release of the molting steroid ecdysone. Reducing Lgr3 levels in these neurons results in adult flies exhibiting increased fluctuating bilateral asymmetry, therefore recapitulating the phenotype of dilp8 mutants. Our work reveals a novel Dilp8/Lgr3 neuronal circuitry involved in a feedback mechanism that ensures coordination between organ growth and developmental transitions and prevents developmental variability.

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    10/19/15 | Free RNA polymerase in Escherichia coli.
    Patrick M, Dennis PP, Ehrenberg M, Bremer H
    Biochimie. 2015 Oct 19;119:80-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2015.10.015

    The frequencies of transcription initiation of regulated and constitutive genes depend on the concentration of free RNA polymerase holoenzyme [Rf] near their promoters. Although RNA polymerase is largely confined to the nucleoid, it is difficult to determine absolute concentrations of [Rf] at particular locations within the nucleoid structure. However, relative concentrations of free RNA polymerase at different growth rates, [Rf]rel, can be estimated from the activities of constitutive promoters. Previous studies indicated that the rrnB P2 promoter is constitutive and that [Rf]rel in the vicinity of rrnB P2 increases with increasing growth rate. Recently it has become possible to directly visualize Rf in growing Escherichia coli cells. Here we examine some of the important issues relating to gene expression based on these new observations. We conclude that: (i) At a growth rate of 2 doublings/h, there are about 1000 free and 2350 non-specifically DNA-bound RNA polymerase molecules per average cell (12 and 28%, respectively, of 8400 total) which are in rapid equilibrium. (ii) The reversibility of the non-specific binding generates more than 1000 free RNA polymerase molecules every second in the immediate vicinity of the DNA. Of these, most rebind non-specifically to the DNA within a few ms; the frequency of non-specific binding is at least two orders of magnitude greater than specific binding and transcript initiation. (iii) At a given amount of RNA polymerase per cell, [Rf] and the density of non-specifically DNA-bound RNA polymerase molecules along the DNA both vary reciprocally with the amount of DNA in the cell. (iv) At 2 doublings/h an E. coli cell contains, on the average, about 1 non-specifically bound RNA polymerase per 9 kbp of DNA and 1 free RNA polymerase per 20 kbp of DNA. However some DNA regions (i.e. near active rRNA operons) may have significantly higher than average [Rf].

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    10/19/15 | Variable primary coordination environments of Cd(II) binding to three helix bundles provide a pathway for rapid metal exchange.
    Tebo AG, Hemmingsen L, Pecoraro VL
    Metallomics. 10/2015;7:1555 – 1561. doi: 10.1039/c5mt00228a

    Members of the ArsR/SmtB family of transcriptional repressors, such as CadC, regulate the intracellular levels of heavy metals like Cd(II), Hg(II), and Pb(II). These metal sensing proteins bind their target metals with high specificity and affinity, however, a lack of structural information about these proteins makes defining the coordination sphere of the target metal difficult. Lingering questions as to the identity of Cd(II) coordination in CadC are addressed via protein design techniques. Two designed peptides with tetrathiolate metal binding sites were prepared and characterized, revealing fast exchange between CdS3O and CdS4 coordination spheres. Correlation of (111m)Cd PAC spectroscopy and (113)Cd NMR spectroscopy suggests that Cd(II) coordinated to CadC is in fast exchange between CdS3O and CdS4 forms, which may provide a mechanism for rapid sensing of heavy metal contaminants by this regulatory protein.

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    10/16/15 | Opposing intrinsic temporal gradients guide neural stem cell production of varied neuronal fates.
    Liu Z, Yang C, Sugino K, Fu C, Liu L, Yao X, Lee LP, Lee T
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 2015 Oct 16;350(6258):317-20. doi: 10.1126/science.aad1886

    Neural stem cells show age-dependent developmental potentials, as evidenced by their production of distinct neuron types at different developmental times. Drosophila neuroblasts produce long, stereotyped lineages of neurons. We searched for factors that could regulate neural temporal fate by RNA-sequencing lineage-specific neuroblasts at various developmental times. We found that two RNA-binding proteins, IGF-II mRNA-binding protein (Imp) and Syncrip (Syp), display opposing high-to-low and low-to-high temporal gradients with lineage-specific temporal dynamics. Imp and Syp promote early and late fates, respectively, in both a slowly progressing and a rapidly changing lineage. Imp and Syp control neuronal fates in the mushroom body lineages by regulating the temporal transcription factor Chinmo translation. Together, the opposing Imp/Syp gradients encode stem cell age, specifying multiple cell fates within a lineage.

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    10/14/15 | The 2015 super-resolution microscopy roadmap.
    Hell SW, Sahl SJ, Bates M, Zhuang X, Heintzmann R, Booth MJ, Bewersdorf J, Shtengel G, Hess HF, Tinnefeld P
    Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. 2015 Oct 14;48:443001. doi: 10.1088/0022-3727/48/44/443001

    Far-field optical microscopy using focused light is an important tool in a number of scientific disciplines including chemical, (bio)physical and biomedical research, particularly with respect to the study of living cells and organisms. Unfortunately, the applicability of the optical microscope is limited, since the diffraction of light imposes limitations on the spatial resolution of the image. Consequently the details of, for example, cellular protein distributions, can be visualized only to a certain extent. Fortunately, recent years have witnessed the development of 'super-resolution' far-field optical microscopy (nanoscopy) techniques such as stimulated emission depletion (STED), ground state depletion (GSD), reversible saturated optical (fluorescence) transitions (RESOLFT), photoactivation localization microscopy (PALM), stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), structured illumination microscopy (SIM) or saturated structured illumination microscopy (SSIM), all in one way or another addressing the problem of the limited spatial resolution of far-field optical microscopy. While SIM achieves a two-fold improvement in spatial resolution compared to conventional optical microscopy, STED, RESOLFT, PALM/STORM, or SSIM have all gone beyond, pushing the limits of optical image resolution to the nanometer scale. Consequently, all super-resolution techniques open new avenues of biomedical research. Because the field is so young, the potential capabilities of different super-resolution microscopy approaches have yet to be fully explored, and uncertainties remain when considering the best choice of methodology. Thus, even for experts, the road to the future is sometimes shrouded in mist. The super-resolution optical microscopy roadmap of Journal of Physics D: Applied Physicsaddresses this need for clarity. It provides guidance to the outstanding questions through a collection of short review articles from experts in the field, giving a thorough discussion on the concepts underlying super-resolution optical microscopy, the potential of different approaches, the importance of label optimization (such as reversible photoswitchable proteins) and applications in which these methods will have a significant impact.

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