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191 Publications

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    11/05/20 | Hypothesis-driven quantitative fluorescence microscopy - the importance of reverse-thinking in experimental design.
    Wait EC, Reiche MA, Chew T
    Journal of Cell Science. 2020 Nov 05;133(21):. doi: 10.1242/jcs.250027

    One of the challenges in modern fluorescence microscopy is to reconcile the conventional utilization of microscopes as exploratory instruments with their emerging and rapidly expanding role as a quantitative tools. The contribution of microscopy to observational biology will remain enormous owing to the improvements in acquisition speed, imaging depth, resolution and biocompatibility of modern imaging instruments. However, the use of fluorescence microscopy to facilitate the quantitative measurements necessary to challenge hypotheses is a relatively recent concept, made possible by advanced optics, functional imaging probes and rapidly increasing computational power. We argue here that to fully leverage the rapidly evolving application of microscopes in hypothesis-driven biology, we not only need to ensure that images are acquired quantitatively but must also re-evaluate how microscopy-based experiments are designed. In this Opinion, we present a reverse logic that guides the design of quantitative fluorescence microscopy experiments. This unique approach starts from identifying the results that would quantitatively inform the hypothesis and map the process backward to microscope selection. This ensures that the quantitative aspects of testing the hypothesis remain the central focus of the entire experimental design.

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    11/04/20 | Metabolic determinants of cellular fitness dependent on mitochondrial reactive oxygen species.
    Kong H, Reczek CR, McElroy GS, Steinert EM, Wang T, Sabatini DM, Chandel NS
    Science Advances. 2020 Nov 04;6(45):. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb7272

    Mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (mROS) are required for the survival, proliferation, and metastasis of cancer cells. The mechanism by which mitochondrial metabolism regulates mROS levels to support cancer cells is not fully understood. To address this, we conducted a metabolism-focused CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screen and uncovered that loss of genes encoding subunits of mitochondrial complex I was deleterious in the presence of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant mito-vitamin E (MVE). Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of mitochondrial complex I in combination with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidants, MVE or MitoTEMPO, induced a robust integrated stress response (ISR) and markedly diminished cell survival and proliferation in vitro. This was not observed following inhibition of mitochondrial complex III. Administration of MitoTEMPO in combination with the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor phenformin decreased the leukemic burden in a mouse model of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Thus, mitochondrial complex I is a dominant metabolic determinant of mROS-dependent cellular fitness.

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    11/03/20 | Cell types and neuronal circuitry underlying female aggression in Drosophila.
    Schretter CE, Aso Y, Robie AA, Dreher M, Dolan M, Chen N, Ito M, Yang T, Parekh R, Branson KM, Rubin GM
    eLife. 2020 Nov 03;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.58942

    Aggressive social interactions are used to compete for limited resources and are regulated by complex sensory cues and the organism's internal state. While both sexes exhibit aggression, its neuronal underpinnings are understudied in females. Here, we identify a population of sexually dimorphic aIPg neurons in the adult central brain whose optogenetic activation increased, and genetic inactivation reduced, female aggression. Analysis of GAL4 lines identified in an unbiased screen for increased female chasing behavior revealed the involvement of another sexually dimorphic neuron, pC1d, and implicated aIPg and pC1d neurons as core nodes regulating female aggression. Connectomic analysis demonstrated that aIPg neurons and pC1d are interconnected and suggest that aIPg neurons may exert part of their effect by gating the flow of visual information to descending neurons. Our work reveals important regulatory components of the neuronal circuitry that underlies female aggressive social interactions and provides tools for their manipulation.

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    11/01/20 | A community for Black chemists.
    Beyene AG, Panescu P
    Nature Chemistry. 2020 Nov 01;12(11):988-989. doi: 10.1038/s41557-020-00572-3
    11/01/20 | Dense and pleiotropic regulatory information in a developmental enhancer.
    Fuqua T, Jordan J, van Breugel ME, Halavatyi A, Tischer C, Polidoro P, Abe N, Tsai A, Mann RS, Stern DL, Crocker J
    Nature. 2020 Nov 01;587(7833):235-39. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2816-5

    Changes in gene regulation underlie much of phenotypic evolution. However, our understanding of the potential for regulatory evolution is biased, because most evidence comes from either natural variation or limited experimental perturbations. Using an automated robotics pipeline, we surveyed an unbiased mutation library for a developmental enhancer in Drosophila melanogaster. We found that almost all mutations altered gene expression and that parameters of gene expression-levels, location, and state-were convolved. The widespread pleiotropic effects of most mutations may constrain the evolvability of developmental enhancers. Consistent with these observations, comparisons of diverse Drosophila larvae revealed apparent biases in the phenotypes influenced by the enhancer. Developmental enhancers may encode a higher density of regulatory information than has been appreciated previously, imposing constraints on regulatory evolution.

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    11/01/20 | Mechanisms of procollagen and HSP47 sorting during ER-to-Golgi trafficking
    Omari S, Makareeva E, Gorrell L, Jarnik M, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Leikin S
    Matrix Biology. 2020 Nov 01;93:79-94. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2020.06.002

    Efficient quality control and export of procollagen from the cell is crucial for extracellular matrix homeostasis, yet it is still incompletely understood. One of the debated questions is the role of a collagen-specific ER chaperone HSP47 in these processes. Most ER chaperones preferentially bind to unfolded polypeptide chains, enabling selective export of natively folded proteins from the ER after chaperone release. In contrast, HSP47 preferentially binds to the natively folded procollagen and is believed to be released only in the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) or cis-Golgi. HSP47 colocalization with procollagen in punctate structures observed by immunofluorescence imaging of fixed cells has thus been interpreted as evidence for HSP47 export from the ER together with procollagen in transport vesicles destined for ERGIC or Golgi. To understand the mechanism of this co-trafficking and its physiological significance, we imaged the dynamics of fluorescently tagged type I procollagen and HSP47 punctate structures in live MC3T3 murine osteoblasts with up to 120 nm spatial and 500 ms time resolution. Contrary to the prevailing model, we discovered that most bona fide carriers delivering procollagen from ER exit sites (ERESs) to Golgi contained no HSP47, unless the RDEL signal for ER retention in HSP47 was deleted or mutated. These transport intermediates exhibited characteristic rapid, directional motion along microtubules, while puncta with colocalized HSP47 and procollagen similar to the ones described before had only limited, stochastic motion. Live cell imaging and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching revealed that the latter puncta (including the ones induced by ARF1 inhibition) were dilated regions of ER lumen, ERESs, or autophagic structures surrounded by lysosomal membranes. Procollagen was colocalized with HSP47 and ERGIC53 at ERESs. It was colocalized with ERGIC53 but not HSP47 in Golgi-bound transport intermediates. Our results suggest that procollagen and HSP47 sorting occurs at ERES before procollagen is exported from the ER in Golgi-bound transport intermediates, providing new insights into mechanisms of procollagen trafficking.

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    10/29/20 | The Statistical Structure of the Hippocampal Code for Space as a Function of Time, Context, and Value.
    Lee JS, Briguglio JJ, Cohen JD, Romani S, Lee AK
    Cell. 2020 Oct 29;183(3):620-35. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.024

    Hippocampal activity represents many behaviorally important variables, including context, an animal's location within a given environmental context, time, and reward. Using longitudinal calcium imaging in mice, multiple large virtual environments, and differing reward contingencies, we derived a unified probabilistic model of CA1 representations centered on a single feature-the field propensity. Each cell's propensity governs how many place fields it has per unit space, predicts its reward-related activity, and is preserved across distinct environments and over months. Propensity is broadly distributed-with many low, and some very high, propensity cells-and thus strongly shapes hippocampal representations. This results in a range of spatial codes, from sparse to dense. Propensity varied ∼10-fold between adjacent cells in salt-and-pepper fashion, indicating substantial functional differences within a presumed cell type. Intracellular recordings linked propensity to cell excitability. The stability of each cell's propensity across conditions suggests this fundamental property has anatomical, transcriptional, and/or developmental origins.

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    10/23/20 | A post-invasion role for type III effector TarP in modulating the dynamics and organization of host cell focal adhesions.
    Pedrosa AT, Murphy KN, Nogueira AT, Brinkworth AJ, Thwaites TR, Aaron J, Chew T, Carabeo RA
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2020 Oct 23;295(43):14763-14779. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.015219

    The human pathogen targets epithelial cells lining the genital mucosa. We observed that infection of various cell types, including fibroblasts and epithelial cells resulted in the formation of unusually stable and mature focal adhesions that resisted disassembly induced by the myosin II inhibitor, blebbistatin. Super-resolution microscopy revealed in infected cells the vertical displacement of paxillin and FAK from the signaling layer of focal adhesions; while vinculin remained in its normal position within the force transduction layer. The candidate type III effector TarP which localized to focal adhesions during infection and when expressed ectopically, was sufficient to mimic both the reorganization and blebbistatin-resistant phenotypes. These effects of TarP, including its localization to focal adhesions, required a post-invasion interaction with the host protein vinculin through a specific domain at the C-terminus of TarP. This interaction is repurposed from an actin-recruiting and -remodeling complex to one that mediates nano-architectural and dynamic changes of focal adhesions. The consequence of -stabilized focal adhesions was restricted cell motility and enhanced attachment to the extracellular matrix. Thus, via a novel mechanism, inserts TarP within focal adhesions to alter their organization and stability.

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    10/23/20 | Brain-wide, scale-wide physiology underlying behavioral flexibility in zebrafish.
    Mu Y, Narayan S, Mensh BD, Ahrens MB
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2020 Oct 19;64:151-160. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.08.013

    The brain is tasked with choosing actions that maximize an animal's chances of survival and reproduction. These choices must be flexible and informed by the current state of the environment, the needs of the body, and the outcomes of past actions. This information is physiologically encoded and processed across different brain regions on a wide range of spatial scales, from molecules in single synapses to networks of brain areas. Uncovering these spatially distributed neural interactions underlying behavior requires investigations that span a similar range of spatial scales. Larval zebrafish, given their small size, transparency, and ease of genetic access, are a good model organism for such investigations, allowing the use of modern microscopy, molecular biology, and computational techniques. These approaches are yielding new insights into the mechanistic basis of behavioral states, which we review here and compare to related studies in mammalian species.

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    Turaga LabSternson Lab
    10/16/20 | Behavioral state coding by molecularly defined paraventricular hypothalamic cell type ensembles.
    Xu S, Yang H, Menon V, Lemire AL, Wang L, Henry FE, Turaga SC, Sternson SM
    Science. 2020 Oct 16;370(6514):. doi: 10.1126/science.abb2494

    Brains encode behaviors using neurons amenable to systematic classification by gene expression. The contribution of molecular identity to neural coding is not understood because of the challenges involved with measuring neural dynamics and molecular information from the same cells. We developed CaRMA (calcium and RNA multiplexed activity) imaging based on recording in vivo single-neuron calcium dynamics followed by gene expression analysis. We simultaneously monitored activity in hundreds of neurons in mouse paraventricular hypothalamus (PVH). Combinations of cell-type marker genes had predictive power for neuronal responses across 11 behavioral states. The PVH uses combinatorial assemblies of molecularly defined neuron populations for grouped-ensemble coding of survival behaviors. The neuropeptide receptor neuropeptide Y receptor type 1 (Npy1r) amalgamated multiple cell types with similar responses. Our results show that molecularly defined neurons are important processing units for brain function.

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