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192 Publications

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    06/16/20 | Comprehensive imaging of sensory-evoked activity of entire neurons within the awake developing brain using ultrafast AOD-based random-access two-photon microscopy.
    Sakaki KD, Podgorski K, Dellazizzo Toth TA, Coleman P, Haas K
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 2020 Jun 16;14:33. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2020.00033

    Determining how neurons transform synaptic input and encode information in action potential (AP) firing output is required for understanding dendritic integration, neural transforms and encoding. Limitations in the speed of imaging 3D volumes of brain encompassing complex dendritic arbors using conventional galvanometer mirror-based laser-scanning microscopy has hampered fully capturing fluorescent sensors of activity throughout an individual neuron's entire complement of synaptic inputs and somatic APs. To address this problem, we have developed a two-photon microscope that achieves high-speed scanning by employing inertia-free acousto-optic deflectors (AODs) for laser beam positioning, enabling random-access sampling of hundreds to thousands of points-of-interest restricted to a predetermined neuronal structure, avoiding wasted scanning of surrounding extracellular tissue. This system is capable of comprehensive imaging of the activity of single neurons within the intact and awake vertebrate brain. Here, we demonstrate imaging of tectal neurons within the brains of albino tadpoles labeled using single-cell electroporation for expression of a red space-filling fluorophore to determine dendritic arbor morphology, and either the calcium sensor jGCaMP7s or the glutamate sensor iGluSnFR as indicators of neural activity. Using discrete, point-of-interest scanning we achieve sampling rates of 3 Hz for saturation sampling of entire arbors at 2 μm resolution, 6 Hz for sequentially sampling 3 volumes encompassing the dendritic arbor and soma, and 200-250 Hz for scanning individual planes through the dendritic arbor. This system allows investigations of sensory-evoked information input-output relationships of neurons within the intact and awake brain.

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    Cardona Lab
    06/08/20 | The corazonin-PTTH neuronal axis controls systemic body growth by regulating basal ecdysteroid biosynthesis in Drosophila melanogaster.
    Imura E, Shimada-Niwa Y, Nishimura T, Hückesfeld S, Schlegel P, Ohhara Y, Kondo S, Tanimoto H, Cardona A, Pankratz MJ, Niwa R
    Current Biology. 2020 Jun 8;30(11):2156-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.050

    Steroid hormones play key roles in development, growth, and reproduction in various animal phyla [1]. The insect steroid hormone, ecdysteroid, coordinates growth and maturation, represented by molting and metamorphosis [2]. In Drosophila melanogaster, the prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH)-producing neurons stimulate peak levels of ecdysteroid biosynthesis for maturation [3]. Additionally, recent studies on PTTH signaling indicated that basal levels of ecdysteroid negatively affect systemic growth prior to maturation [4-8]. However, it remains unclear how PTTH signaling is regulated for basal ecdysteroid biosynthesis. Here, we report that Corazonin (Crz)-producing neurons regulate basal ecdysteroid biosynthesis by affecting PTTH neurons. Crz belongs to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) superfamily, implying an analogous role in growth and maturation [9]. Inhibition of Crz neuronal activity increased pupal size, whereas it hardly affected pupariation timing. This phenotype resulted from enhanced growth rate and a delay in ecdysteroid elevation during the mid-third instar larval (L3) stage. Interestingly, Crz receptor (CrzR) expression in PTTH neurons was higher during the mid- than the late-L3 stage. Silencing of CrzR in PTTH neurons increased pupal size, phenocopying the inhibition of Crz neuronal activity. When Crz neurons were optogenetically activated, a strong calcium response was observed in PTTH neurons during the mid-L3, but not the late-L3, stage. Furthermore, we found that octopamine neurons contact Crz neurons in the subesophageal zone (SEZ), transmitting signals for systemic growth. Together, our results suggest that the Crz-PTTH neuronal axis modulates ecdysteroid biosynthesis in response to octopamine, uncovering a regulatory neuroendocrine system in the developmental transition from growth to maturation.

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    06/04/20 | First occurrence of the pest Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in the Comoros Archipelago (Western Indian Ocean)
    Hassani I, Behrman E, Prigent S, Gidaszewski N, Ravaomanarivo LR, Suwalski A, Debat V, David J, Yassin A
    African Entomology. 2020 Jun 04;28(1):78. doi: 10.4001/003.028.0078

    Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura, 1931) is an Asian pest of grapes and other soft fruits that has invaded North America and Europe during the last decade. Here we report its recent occurrence on two islands of the Comoros archipelago in the Mozambique Channel, namely Mayotte and Ngazidja (Grande Comore), in April 2017 and November 2018, respectively. We also document its absence from other African islands in the Mozambique Channel and the Western Indian Ocean including Mayotte until 2013. Drosophila ashburneriTsacas, 1984 is the only member of the suzukii species subgroup known from the Comoros, but it is morphologically distinct and likely distantly related to DsuzukiiDrosophila suzukii has likely been recently introduced to the Comoros archipelago, perhaps from La Réunion island where it first appeared in November 2013. On all of these tropical islands, Dsuzukii was found in high-altitude habitats in agreement with its adaptation to cold environments. These results suggest the high susceptibility of highlands in eastern and southern Africa to be infested by this pest in the near future.

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    06/02/20 | Chloroplast Sec14-like 1 (CPSFL1) is essential for normal chloroplast development and affects carotenoid accumulation in Chlamydomonas.
    García-Cerdán JG, Schmid EM, Takeuchi T, McRae I, McDonald KL, Yordduangjun N, Hassan AM, Grob P, Xu CS, Hess HF, Fletcher DA, Nogales E, Niyogi KK
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U S A. 2020 Jun 2;117(22):1-12. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1916948117

    Plastid isoprenoid-derived carotenoids serve essential roles in chloroplast development and photosynthesis. Although nearly all enzymes that participate in the biosynthesis of carotenoids in plants have been identified, the complement of auxiliary proteins that regulate synthesis, transport, sequestration, and degradation of these molecules and their isoprenoid precursors have not been fully described. To identify such proteins that are necessary for the optimal functioning of oxygenic photosynthesis, we screened a large collection of nonphotosynthetic (acetate-requiring) DNA insertional mutants of and isolated The mutant is extremely light-sensitive and susceptible to photoinhibition and photobleaching. The gene encodes a CRAL-TRIO hydrophobic ligand-binding (Sec14) domain protein. Proteins containing this domain are limited to eukaryotes, but some may have been retargeted to function in organelles of endosymbiotic origin. The mutant showed decreased accumulation of plastidial isoprenoid-derived pigments, especially carotenoids, and whole-cell focused ion-beam scanning-electron microscopy revealed a deficiency of carotenoid-rich chloroplast structures (e.g., eyespot and plastoglobules). The low carotenoid content resulted from impaired biosynthesis at a step prior to phytoene, the committed precursor to carotenoids. The CPSFL1 protein bound phytoene and β-carotene when expressed in and phosphatidic acid in vitro. We suggest that CPSFL1 is involved in the regulation of phytoene synthesis and carotenoid transport and thereby modulates carotenoid accumulation in the chloroplast.

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    Looger Lab
    06/01/20 | Nanoscopic visualization of restricted nonvolume cholinergic and monoaminergic transmission with genetically encoded sensors.
    Zhu PK, Zheng WS, Zhang P, Jing M, Borden PM, Ali F, Guo K, Feng J, Marvin JS, Wang Y, Wan J, Gan L, Kwan AC, Lin L, Looger LL, Li Y, Zhang Y
    Nano Letters. 2020 Jun;20(6):4073-83. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b04877

    How neuromodulatory transmitters diffuse into the extracellular space remains an unsolved fundamental biological question, despite wide acceptance of the volume transmission model. Here, we report development of a method combining genetically encoded fluorescent sensors with high-resolution imaging and analysis algorithms which permits the first direct visualization of neuromodulatory transmitter diffusion at various neuronal and non-neuronal cells. Our analysis reveals that acetylcholine and monoamines diffuse at individual release sites with a spread length constant of ∼0.75 μm. These transmitters employ varied numbers of release sites, and when spatially close-packed release sites coactivate they can spillover into larger subcellular areas. Our data indicate spatially restricted (i.e., nonvolume) neuromodulatory transmission to be a prominent intercellular communication mode, reshaping current thinking of control and precision of neuromodulation crucial for understanding behaviors and diseases.

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    05/28/20 | Enhanced Golic+: Highly effective CRISPR gene targeting and transgene HACKing in .
    Chen H, Yao X, Ren Q, Chang C, Liu L, Miyares RL, Lee T
    Development. 2020 May 28:. doi: 10.1242/dev.181974

    Gene targeting is an incredibly valuable technique. Sometimes however, it can also be extremely challenging for various intrinsic reasons (e.g. low target accessibility or nature/extent of gene modification). To bypass these barriers, we designed a transgene-based system in Drosophila that increases the number of independent gene targeting events while at the same time enriching for correctly targeted progeny. Unfortunately, with particularly challenging gene targeting experiments, our original design yielded numerous false positives. Here we deliver a much-improved technique named Enhanced Golic+ (E-Golic+). E-Golic+ incorporates genetic modifications to tighten lethality-based selection while simultaneously boosting efficiency. With E-Golic+, we easily achieve previously unattainable gene targeting. Additionally, we built an E-Golic+ based, high-efficiency genetic pipeline for transgene swapping. We demonstrate its utility by transforming GAL4 enhancer-trap lines into tissue-specific Cas9-expressing lines. Given the superior efficiency, specificity and scalability, E-Golic+ promises to expedite development of additional sophisticated genetic/genomic tools in .

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    05/26/20 | Live-cell imaging in the era of too many microscopes.
    Lemon WC, McDole K
    Current Opinion in Cell Biology. 2020 May 26;66:34-42. doi: 10.1016/

    At the time of this writing, searching Google Scholar for 'light-sheet microscopy' returns almost 8500 results; over three-quarters of which were published in the last 5 years alone. Searching for other advanced imaging methods in the last 5 years yields similar results: 'super-resolution microscopy' (>16 000), 'single-molecule imaging' (almost 10 000), SPIM (Single Plane Illumination Microscopy, 5000), and 'lattice light-sheet' (1300). The explosion of new imaging methods has also produced a dizzying menagerie of acronyms, with over 100 different species of 'light-sheet' alone, from SPIM to UM (Ultra microscopy) to SiMView (Simultaneous MultiView) to iSPIM (inclined SPIM, not to be confused with iSPIM, inverted SPIM). How then is the average biologist, without an advanced degree in physics, optics, or computer science supposed to make heads or tails of which method is best suited for their needs? Let us also not forget the plight of the optical physicist, who at best might need help with obtaining healthy samples and keeping them that way, or at worst may not realize the impact their newest technique could have for biologists. This review will not attempt to solve all these problems, but instead highlight some of the most recent, successful mergers between biology and advanced imaging technologies, as well as hopefully provide some guidance for anyone interested in journeying into the world of live-cell imaging.

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    05/25/20 | jYCaMP: an optimized calcium indicator for two-photon imaging at fiber laser wavelengths.
    Mohr MA, Bushey D, Aggarwal A, Marvin JS, Kim JJ, Marquez EJ, Liang Y, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Lee C, Tsang A, Tsegaye G, Ahrens AM, Chen JL, Kim DS, Wong AM, Looger LL, Schreiter ER, Podgorski K
    Nature Methods. 2020 May 25;17(1):694-97. doi: 10.1038/s41592-020-0835-7

    Femtosecond lasers at fixed wavelengths above 1,000 nm are powerful, stable and inexpensive, making them promising sources for two-photon microscopy. Biosensors optimized for these wavelengths are needed for both next-generation microscopes and affordable turn-key systems. Here we report jYCaMP1, a yellow variant of the calcium indicator jGCaMP7 that outperforms its parent in mice and flies at excitation wavelengths above 1,000 nm and enables improved two-color calcium imaging with red fluorescent protein-based indicators.

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    05/22/20 | Super-Resolution Fluorescence Imaging Reveals That Serine Incorporator Protein 5 Inhibits Human Immunodeficiency Virus Fusion by Disrupting Envelope Glycoprotein Clusters.
    Chen Y, Sood C, Marin M, Aaron J, Gratton E, Salaita K, Melikyan GB
    ACS Nano. 2020 May 22:. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.0c02699

    Serine incorporator protein 5 (SERINC5) is the host anti-retroviral factor that reduces HIV-1 infectivity by incorporating into virions and inhibiting the envelope glycoprotein (Env) mediated virus fusion with target cells. We and others have shown that SERINC5 incorporation into virions alters the Env structure and sensitizes the virus to broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting cryptic Env epitopes. We have also found that SERINC5 accelerates the loss of Env function over time compared to control viruses. However, the exact mechanism by which SERINC5 inhibits HIV-1 fusion is not understood. Here, we utilized 2D and 3D super-resolution microscopy to examine the effect of SERINC5 on the distribution of Env glycoproteins on single HIV-1 particles. We find that, in agreement with a previous report, Env glycoproteins form clusters on the surface of mature virions. Importantly, incorporation of SERINC5, but not SERINC2, which lacks antiviral activity, disrupted Env clusters without affecting the overall Env content. We also show that SERINC5 and SERINC2 also form clusters on single virions. Unexpectedly, Env and SERINCs molecules exhibited poor co-distribution on virions, as evidenced by much greater Env-SERINC pairwise distances compare to Env-Env distances. This observation is inconsistent with the previously reported interaction between Env and SERINC5 and suggests an indirect effect of SERINC5 on Env cluster formation. Collectively, our results reveal a multifaceted mechanism of SERINC5-mediated restriction of HIV-1 fusion that, aside from the effects on individual Env trimers, involves disruption of Env clusters, which likely serve as sites of viral fusion with target cells.

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    05/19/20 | mRNA stem-loops can pause the ribosome by hindering A-site tRNA binding.
    Bao C, Loerch S, Ling C, Korostelev AA, Grigorieff N, Ermolenko DN
    eLife. 2020 May 19;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.55799

    Although the elongating ribosome is an efficient helicase, certain mRNA stem-loop structures are known to impede ribosome movement along mRNA and stimulate programmed ribosome frameshifting via mechanisms that are not well understood. Using biochemical and single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) experiments, we studied how frameshift-inducing stem-loops from mRNA and the transcript of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) perturb translation elongation. We find that upon encountering the ribosome, the stem-loops strongly inhibit A-site tRNA binding and ribosome intersubunit rotation that accompanies translation elongation. Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) reveals that the HIV stem-loop docks into the A site of the ribosome. Our results suggest that mRNA stem-loops can transiently escape the ribosome helicase by binding to the A site. Thus, the stem-loops can modulate gene expression by sterically hindering tRNA binding and inhibiting translation elongation.

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