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202 Publications

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    Svoboda LabDruckmann LabScientific Computing Software
    01/15/19 | An orderly single-trial organization of population dynamics in premotor cortex predicts behavioral variability.
    Wei Z, Inagaki H, Li N, Svoboda K, Druckmann S
    Nature Communications. 2019 Jan 15;10(1):216. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-08141-6

    Animals are not simple input-output machines. Their responses to even very similar stimuli are variable. A key, long-standing question in neuroscience is to understand the neural correlates of such behavioral variability. To reveal these correlates, behavior and neural population activity must be related to one another on single trials. Such analysis is challenging due to the dynamical nature of brain function (e.g., in decision making), heterogeneity across neurons and limited sampling of the relevant neural population. By analyzing population recordings from mouse frontal cortex in perceptual decision-making tasks, we show that an analysis approach tailored to the coarse grain features of the dynamics is able to reveal previously unrecognized structure in the organization of population activity. This structure is similar on error and correct trials, suggesting dynamics that may be constrained by the underlying circuitry, is able to predict multiple aspects of behavioral variability and reveals long time-scale modulation of population activity.

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    01/15/19 | Characterization of neurite dystrophy after trauma by high speed structured illumination microscopy and lattice light sheet microscopy.
    Phillips JK, Sherman SA, Cotton KY, Heddleston JM, Taylor AB, Finan JD
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2019 Jan 15;312:154-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.12.005

    BACKGROUND: Unbiased screening studies have repeatedly identified actin-related proteins as one of the families of proteins most influenced by neurotrauma. Nevertheless, the status quo model of cytoskeletal reorganization after neurotrauma excludes actin and incorporates only changes in microtubules and intermediate filaments. Actin is excluded in part because it is difficult to image with conventional techniques. However, recent innovations in fluorescent microscopy provide an opportunity to image the actin cytoskeleton at super-resolution resolution in living cells. This study applied these innovations to an in vitro model of neurotrauma.

    NEW METHOD: New methods are introduced for traumatizing neurons before imaging them with high speed structured illumination microscopy or lattice light sheet microscopy. Also, methods for analyzing structured illumination microscopy images to quantify post-traumatic neurite dystrophy are presented.

    RESULTS: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons exhibited actin organization typical of immature neurons. Neurite dystrophy increased after trauma but was not influenced by jasplakinolide treatment. The F-actin content of dystrophies varied greatly from one dystrophy to another.

    COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: In contrast to fixation dependent methods, these methods capture the evolution of the actin cytoskeleton over time in a living cell. In contrast to prior methods based on counting dystrophies, this quantification scheme parameterizes the severity of a given dystrophy as it evolves from a local swelling to an almost-perfect spheroid that threatens to transect the neurite.

    CONCLUSIONS: These methods can be used to investigate genetic factors and therapeutic interventions that modulate the course of neurite dystrophy after trauma.

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    Cardona Lab
    01/15/19 | Developmentally arrested precursors of pontine neurons establish an embryonic blueprint of the Drosophila central complex.
    Andrade IV, Riebli N, Nguyen BM, Omoto JJ, Cardona A, Hartenstein V
    Current Biology : CB. 2019 Jan 15;29(3):412-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.012

    Serial electron microscopic analysis shows that the Drosophila brain at hatching possesses a large fraction of developmentally arrested neurons with a small soma, heterochromatin-rich nucleus, and unbranched axon lacking synapses. We digitally reconstructed all 802 "small undifferentiated" (SU) neurons and assigned them to the known brain lineages. By establishing the coordinates and reconstructing trajectories of the SU neuron tracts, we provide a framework of landmarks for the ongoing analyses of the L1 brain circuitry. To address the later fate of SU neurons, we focused on the 54 SU neurons belonging to the DM1-DM4 lineages, which generate all columnar neurons of the central complex. Regarding their topologically ordered projection pattern, these neurons form an embryonic nucleus of the fan-shaped body ("FB pioneers"). Fan-shaped body pioneers survive into the adult stage, where they develop into a specific class of bi-columnar elements, the pontine neurons. Later born, unicolumnar DM1-DM4 neurons fasciculate with the fan-shaped body pioneers. Selective ablation of the fan-shaped body pioneers altered the architecture of the larval fan-shaped body primordium but did not result in gross abnormalities of the trajectories of unicolumnar neurons, indicating that axonal pathfinding of the two systems may be controlled independently. Our comprehensive spatial and developmental analysis of the SU neurons adds to our understanding of the establishment of neuronal circuitry.

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    01/10/19 | Cryo-EM of retinoschisin branched networks suggests an intercellular adhesive scaffold in the retina.
    Heymann JB, Vijayasarathy C, Huang RK, Dearborn AD, Sieving PA, Steven AC
    The Journal of Cell Biology. 2019 Jan 10;218(3):1027-38. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201806148

    Mutations in the retinal protein retinoschisin (RS1) cause progressive loss of vision in young males, a form of macular degeneration called X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS). We previously solved the structure of RS1, a 16-mer composed of paired back-to-back octameric rings. Here, we show by cryo-electron microscopy that RS1 16-mers can assemble into extensive branched networks. We classified the different configurations, finding four types of interaction between the RS1 molecules. The predominant configuration is a linear strand with a wavy appearance. Three less frequent types constitute the branch points of the network. In all cases, the "spikes" around the periphery of the double rings are involved in these interactions. In the linear strand, a loop (usually referred to as spike 1) occurs on both sides of the interface between neighboring molecules. Mutations in this loop suppress secretion, indicating the possibility of intracellular higher-order assembly. These observations suggest that branched networks of RS1 may play a stabilizing role in maintaining the integrity of the retina.

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    01/03/19 | High-throughput synapse-resolving two-photon fluorescence microendoscopy for deep-brain volumetric imaging .
    Meng G, Liang Y, Sarsfield S, Jiang W, Lu R, Dudman JT, Aponte Y, Ji N
    eLife. 2019 Jan 03;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40805

    Optical imaging has become a powerful tool for studying brains . The opacity of adult brains makes microendoscopy, with an optical probe such as a gradient index (GRIN) lens embedded into brain tissue to provide optical relay, the method of choice for imaging neurons and neural activity in deeply buried brain structures. Incorporating a Bessel focus scanning module into two-photon fluorescence microendoscopy, we extended the excitation focus axially and improved its lateral resolution. Scanning the Bessel focus in 2D, we imaged volumes of neurons at high-throughput while resolving fine structures such as synaptic terminals. We applied this approach to the volumetric anatomical imaging of dendritic spines and axonal boutons in the mouse hippocampus, and functional imaging of GABAergic neurons in the mouse lateral hypothalamus .

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    01/09/19 | Comparisons between the ON- and OFF-edge motion pathways in the brain.
    Shinomiya K, Huang G, Lu Z, Parag T, Xu CS, Aniceto R, Ansari N, Cheatham N, Lauchie S, Neace E, Ogundeyi O, Ordish C, Peel D, Shinomiya A, Smith C, Takemura S, Talebi I, Rivlin PK, Nern A, Scheffer LK, Plaza SM, Meinertzhagen IA
    eLife. 2019 Jan 09;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40025

    Understanding the circuit mechanisms behind motion detection is a long-standing question in visual neuroscience. In , recent synapse-level connectomes in the optic lobe, particularly in ON-pathway (T4) receptive-field circuits, in concert with physiological studies, suggest an increasingly intricate motion model compared with the ubiquitous Hassenstein-Reichardt model, while our knowledge of OFF-pathway (T5) has been incomplete. Here we present a conclusive and comprehensive connectome that for the first time integrates detailed connectivity information for inputs to both T4 and T5 pathways in a single EM dataset covering the entire optic lobe. With novel reconstruction methods using automated synapse prediction suited to such a large connectome, we successfully corroborate previous findings in the T4 pathway and comprehensively identify inputs and receptive fields for T5. While the two pathways are likely evolutionarily linked and indeed exhibit many similarities, we uncover interesting differences and interactions that may underlie their distinct functional properties.

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    01/09/19 | Nuclear transcriptomes of the seven neuronal cell types that constitute the mushroom bodies.
    Shih MM, Davis FP, Henry GL, Dubnau J
    G3 (Bethesda, Md.). 2019 Jan 09;9(1):81-94. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200726

    The insect mushroom body (MB) is a conserved brain structure that plays key roles in a diverse array of behaviors. The MB is the primary invertebrate model of neural circuits related to memory formation and storage, and its development, morphology, wiring, and function has been extensively studied. MBs consist of intrinsic Kenyon Cells that are divided into three major neuron classes (γ, α'/β' and α/β) and 7 cell subtypes (γd, γm, α'/β'ap, α'/β'm, α/βp, α/βs and α/βc) based on their birth order, morphology, and connectivity. These subtypes play distinct roles in memory processing, however the underlying transcriptional differences are unknown. Here, we used RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to profile the nuclear transcriptomes of each MB neuronal cell subtypes. We identified 350 MB class- or subtype-specific genes, including the widely used α/β class marker and the α'/β' class marker Immunostaining corroborates the RNA-seq measurements at the protein level for several cases. Importantly, our data provide a full accounting of the neurotransmitter receptors, transporters, neurotransmitter biosynthetic enzymes, neuropeptides, and neuropeptide receptors expressed within each of these cell types. This high-quality, cell type-level transcriptome catalog for the MB provides a valuable resource for the fly neuroscience community.

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    01/07/19 | Quantitative Super-Resolution Microscopy of the Mammalian Glycocalyx
    Möckl L, Pedram K, Roy AR, Krishnan V, Gustavsson A, Dorigo O, Bertozzi CR, Moerner W
    Developmental Cell. Jan-07-2019;50(1):57 - 72.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.04.035

    The mammalian glycocalyx is a heavily glycosylated extramembrane compartment found on nearly every cell. Despite its relevance in both health and disease, studies of the glycocalyx remain hampered by a paucity of methods to spatially classify its components. We combine metabolic labeling, bioorthogonal chemistry, and super-resolution localization microscopy to image two constituents of cell-surface glycans, N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) and sialic acid, with 10–20 nm precision in 2D and 3D. This approach enables two measurements: glycocalyx height and the distribution of individual sugars distal from the membrane. These measurements show that the glycocalyx exhibits nanoscale organization on both cell lines and primary human tumor cells. Additionally, we observe enhanced glycocalyx height in response to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and to oncogenic KRAS activation. In the latter case, we trace increased height to an effector gene, GALNT7. These data highlight the power of advanced imaging methods to provide molecular and functional insights into glycocalyx biology.

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    01/07/19 | Threshold-based ordering of sequential actions during Drosophila courtship.
    McKellar CE, Lillvis JL, Bath DE, Fitzgerald JE, Cannon JG, Simpson JH, Dickson BJ
    Current Biology : CB. 2019 Jan 07;29(3):426-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.019

    Goal-directed animal behaviors are typically composed of sequences of motor actions whose order and timing are critical for a successful outcome. Although numerous theoretical models for sequential action generation have been proposed, few have been supported by the identification of control neurons sufficient to elicit a sequence. Here, we identify a pair of descending neurons that coordinate a stereotyped sequence of engagement actions during Drosophila melanogaster male courtship behavior. These actions are initiated sequentially but persist cumulatively, a feature not explained by existing models of sequential behaviors. We find evidence consistent with a ramp-to-threshold mechanism, in which increasing neuronal activity elicits each action independently at successively higher activity thresholds.

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