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192 Publications

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    04/14/19 | Theoretical modeling on CRISPR-coded cell lineages: efficient encoding and optimal reconstruction
    Sugino K, Garcia-Marques J, Espinosa-Medina I, Lee T
    bioRxiv. 04/2019:. doi: 10.1101/538488

    Delineating cell lineages is a prerequisite for interrogating the genesis of cell types. CRISPR/Cas9 can edit genomic sequence during development which enables to trace cell lineages. Recent studies have demonstrated the feasibility of this idea. However, the optimality of the encoding or reconstruction processes has not been adequately addressed. Here, we surveyed a multitude of reconstruction algorithms and found hierarchical clustering, with a metric based on the number of shared Cas9 edits, delivers the best reconstruction. However, the trackable depth is ultimately limited by the number of available coding units that typically decrease exponentially across cell generations. To overcome this limit, we established two strategies that better sustain the coding capacity. One involves controlling target availability via use of parallel gRNA cascades, whereas the other strategy exploits adjustable Cas9/gRNA editing rates. In summary, we provide a theoretical basis in understanding, designing, and analyzing robust CRISPR barcodes for dense reconstruction of protracted cell lineages.

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    09/19/22 | Structural Diversity within the Endoplasmic Reticulum-From the Microscale to the Nanoscale.
    Obara CJ, Moore AS, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. 2022 Sep 19:. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a041259

    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a continuous, highly dynamic membrane compartment that is crucial for numerous basic cellular functions. The ER stretches from the nuclear envelope to the outer periphery of all living eukaryotic cells. This ubiquitous organelle shows remarkable structural complexity, adopting a range of shapes, curvatures, and length scales. Canonically, the ER is thought to be composed of two simple membrane elements: sheets and tubules. However, recent advances in superresolution light microscopy and three-dimensional electron microscopy have revealed an astounding diversity of nanoscale ER structures, greatly expanding our view of ER organization. In this review, we describe these diverse ER structures, focusing on what is known of their regulation and associated functions in mammalian cells.

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    09/19/22 | The evolutionary dynamics of extrachromosomal DNA in human cancers.
    Lange JT, Rose JC, Chen CY, Pichugin Y, Xie L, Tang J, Hung KL, Yost KE, Shi Q, Erb ML, Rajkumar U, Wu S, Taschner-Mandl S, Bernkopf M, Swanton C, Liu Z, Huang W, Chang HY, Bafna V, Henssen AG, Werner B, Mischel PS
    Nature Genetics. 2022 Sep 19:. doi: 10.1038/s41588-022-01177-x

    Oncogene amplification on extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is a common event, driving aggressive tumor growth, drug resistance and shorter survival. Currently, the impact of nonchromosomal oncogene inheritance-random identity by descent-is poorly understood. Also unclear is the impact of ecDNA on somatic variation and selection. Here integrating theoretical models of random segregation, unbiased image analysis, CRISPR-based ecDNA tagging with live-cell imaging and CRISPR-C, we demonstrate that random ecDNA inheritance results in extensive intratumoral ecDNA copy number heterogeneity and rapid adaptation to metabolic stress and targeted treatment. Observed ecDNAs benefit host cell survival or growth and can change within a single cell cycle. ecDNA inheritance can predict, a priori, some of the aggressive features of ecDNA-containing cancers. These properties are facilitated by the ability of ecDNA to rapidly adapt genomes in a way that is not possible through chromosomal oncogene amplification. These results show how the nonchromosomal random inheritance pattern of ecDNA contributes to poor outcomes for patients with cancer.

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    09/22/22 | Tracking by Weakly-Supervised Learning and Graph Optimization for Whole-Embryo C. elegans lineages
    Wang L, Dou Q, Fletcher PT, Speidel S, Li S
    International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention. 2022 Sep 16:. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-16440-8

    Tracking all nuclei of an embryo in noisy and dense fluorescence microscopy data is a challenging task. We build upon a recent method for nuclei tracking that combines weakly-supervised learning from a small set of nuclei center point annotations with an integer linear program (ILP) for optimal cell lineage extraction. Our work specifically addresses the following challenging properties of C. elegans embryo recordings: (1) Many cell divisions as compared to benchmark recordings of other organisms, and (2) the presence of polar bodies that are easily mistaken as cell nuclei. To cope with (1), we devise and incorporate a learnt cell division detector. To cope with (2), we employ a learnt polar body detector. We further propose automated ILP weights tuning via a structured SVM, alleviating the need for tedious manual set-up of a respective grid search.

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    09/15/22 | Superresolution microscopy reveals actomyosin dynamics in medioapical arrays.
    Moore RP, Fogerson SM, Tulu US, Yu JW, Cox AH, Sican MA, Li D, Legant WR, Weigel AV, Crawford JM, Betzig E, Kiehart DP
    Molecular Biology of the Cell. 2022 Sep 15;33(11):ar94. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E21-11-0537

    Arrays of actin filaments (F-actin) near the apical surface of epithelial cells (medioapical arrays) contribute to apical constriction and morphogenesis throughout phylogeny. Here, superresolution approaches (grazing incidence structured illumination, GI-SIM, and lattice light sheet, LLSM) microscopy resolve individual, fluorescently labeled F-actin and bipolar myosin filaments that drive amnioserosa cell shape changes during dorsal closure in . In expanded cells, F-actin and myosin form loose, apically domed meshworks at the plasma membrane. The arrays condense as cells contract, drawing the domes into the plane of the junctional belts. As condensation continues, individual filaments are no longer uniformly apparent. As cells expand, arrays of actomyosin are again resolved-some F-actin turnover likely occurs, but a large fraction of existing filaments rearrange. In morphologically isotropic cells, actin filaments are randomly oriented and during contraction are drawn together but remain essentially randomly oriented. In anisotropic cells, largely parallel actin filaments are drawn closer to one another. Our images offer unparalleled resolution of F-actin in embryonic tissue, show that medioapical arrays are tightly apposed to the plasma membrane and are continuous with meshworks of lamellar F-actin. Medioapical arrays thereby constitute modified cell cortex. In concert with other tagged array components, superresolution imaging of live specimens will offer new understanding of cortical architecture and function.

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    09/14/22 | Learning of probabilistic punishment as a model of anxiety produces changes in action but not punisher encoding in the dmPFC and VTA.
    Jacobs DS, Allen MC, Park J, Moghaddam B
    eLife. 2022 Sep 14;11:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.78912

    Previously, we developed a novel model for anxiety during motivated behavior by training rats to perform a task where actions executed to obtain a reward were probabilistically punished and observed that after learning, neuronal activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) represent the relationship between action and punishment risk (Park & Moghaddam, 2017). Here we used male and female rats to expand on the previous work by focusing on neural changes in the dmPFC and VTA that were associated with the learning of probabilistic punishment, and anxiolytic treatment with diazepam after learning. We find that adaptive neural responses of dmPFC and VTA during the learning of anxiogenic contingencies are independent from the punisher experience and occur primarily during the peri-action and reward period. Our results also identify peri-action ramping of VTA neural calcium activity, and VTA-dmPFC correlated activity, as potential markers for the anxiolytic properties of diazepam.

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    09/06/22 | A sensitive and specific genetically encoded potassium ion biosensor for in vivo applications across the tree of life.
    Wu S, Wen Y, Serre NB, Laursen CC, Dietz AG, Taylor BR, Drobizhev M, Molina RS, Abhi Aggarwal , Rancic V, Becker M, Ballanyi K, Podgorski K, Hirase H, Nedergaard M, Fendrych M, Lemieux MJ, Eberl DF, Kay AR, Campbell RE, Shen Y
    PLoS Biology. 2022 Sep 06;20(9):e3001772. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001772

    Potassium ion (K+) plays a critical role as an essential electrolyte in all biological systems. Genetically encoded fluorescent K+ biosensors are promising tools to further improve our understanding of K+-dependent processes under normal and pathological conditions. Here, we report the crystal structure of a previously reported genetically encoded fluorescent K+ biosensor, GINKO1, in the K+-bound state. Using structure-guided optimization and directed evolution, we have engineered an improved K+ biosensor, designated GINKO2, with higher sensitivity and specificity. We have demonstrated the utility of GINKO2 for in vivo detection and imaging of K+ dynamics in multiple model organisms, including bacteria, plants, and mice.

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    09/05/22 | Automated reconstruction of whole-embryo cell lineages by learning from sparse annotations.
    Malin-Mayor C, Hirsch P, Guignard L, McDole K, Wan Y, Lemon WC, Kainmueller D, Keller PJ, Preibisch S, Funke J
    Nat Biotechnology. 2022 Sep 05:. doi: 10.1038/s41587-022-01427-7

    We present a method to automatically identify and track nuclei in time-lapse microscopy recordings of entire developing embryos. The method combines deep learning and global optimization. On a mouse dataset, it reconstructs 75.8% of cell lineages spanning 1 h, as compared to 31.8% for the competing method. Our approach improves understanding of where and when cell fate decisions are made in developing embryos, tissues, and organs.

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    09/03/22 | Motion of single molecular tethers reveals dynamic subdomains at ER-mitochondria contact sites
    Christopher J. Obara , Jonathon Nixon-Abell , Andrew S. Moore , Federica Riccio , David P. Hoffman , Gleb Shtengel , C. Shan Xu , Kathy Schaefer , H. Amalia Pasolli , Jean-Baptiste Masson , Harald F. Hess , Christopher P. Calderon , Craig Blackstone , Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz
    bioRxiv. 2022 Sep 03:. doi: 10.1101/2022.09.03.505525

    To coordinate cellular physiology, eukaryotic cells rely on the inter-organelle transfer of molecules at specialized organelle-organelle contact sites1,2. Endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria contact sites (ERMCSs) are particularly vital communication hubs, playing key roles in the exchange of signaling molecules, lipids, and metabolites3. ERMCSs are maintained by interactions between complementary tethering molecules on the surface of each organelle4,5. However, due to the extreme sensitivity of these membrane interfaces to experimental perturbation6,7, a clear understanding of their nanoscale structure and regulation is still lacking. Here, we combine 3D electron microscopy with high-speed molecular tracking of a model organelle tether, VAPB, to map the structure and diffusion landscape of ERMCSs. From EM reconstructions, we identified subdomains within the contact site where ER membranes dramatically deform to match local mitochondrial curvature. In parallel live cell experiments, we observed that the VAPB tethers that mediate this interface were not immobile, but rather highly dynamic, entering and leaving the site in seconds. These subdomains enlarged during nutrient stress, indicating ERMCSs can readily remodel under different physiological conditions. An ALS-associated mutation in VAPB altered the normal fluidity of contact sites, likely perturbing effective communication across the contact site and preventing remodeling. These results establish high speed single molecule imaging as a new tool for mapping the structure of contact site interfaces and suggest that the diffusion landscape of VAPB is a crucial component of ERMCS homeostasis.

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    09/01/22 | Leveraging the model-experiment loop: Examples from cellular slime mold chemotaxis.
    Zhu X, Hager ER, Huyan C, Sgro AE
    Exp Cell Res. 09/2022;418(1):113218. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2022.113218

    Interplay between models and experimental data advances discovery and understanding in biology, particularly when models generate predictions that allow well-designed experiments to distinguish between alternative mechanisms. To illustrate how this feedback between models and experiments can lead to key insights into biological mechanisms, we explore three examples from cellular slime mold chemotaxis. These examples include studies that identified chemotaxis as the primary mechanism behind slime mold aggregation, discovered that cells likely measure chemoattractant gradients by sensing concentration differences across cell length, and tested the role of cell-associated chemoattractant degradation in shaping chemotactic fields. Although each study used a different model class appropriate to their hypotheses - qualitative, mathematical, or simulation-based - these examples all highlight the utility of modeling to formalize assumptions and generate testable predictions. A central element of this framework is the iterative use of models and experiments, specifically: matching experimental designs to the models, revising models based on mismatches with experimental data, and validating critical model assumptions and predictions with experiments. We advocate for continued use of this interplay between models and experiments to advance biological discovery.

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