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134 Publications

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    Looger Lab
    02/16/21 | Evaluation of multi-color genetically encoded Ca indicators in filamentous fungi.
    Kim H, Kim J, Hwangbo A, Akerboom J, Looger LL, Duncan R, Son H, Czymmek KJ, Kang S
    Fungal Genetics and Biology. 2021 Feb 16:103540. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2021.103540

    Genetically encoded Ca indicators (GECIs) enable long-term monitoring of cellular and subcellular dynamics of this second messenger in response to environmental and developmental cues without relying on exogenous dyes. Continued development and optimization in GECIs, combined with advances in gene manipulation, offer new opportunities for investigating the mechanism of Ca signaling in fungi, ranging from documenting Ca signatures under diverse conditions and genetic backgrounds to evaluating how changes in Ca signature impact calcium-binding proteins and subsequent cellular changes. Here, we attempted to express multi-color (green, yellow, blue, cyan, and red) circularly permuted fluorescent protein (FP)-based Ca indicators driven by multiple fungal promoters in Fusarium oxysporum, F. graminearum, and Neurospora crassa. Several variants were successfully expressed, with GCaMP5G driven by the Magnaporthe oryzae ribosomal protein 27 (P) and F. verticillioides elongation factor-1α (P) gene promoters being optimal for F. graminearum and F. oxysporum, respectively. Transformants expressing GCaMP5G were compared with those expressing YC3.60, a ratiometric Cameleon Ca indicator. Wild-type and three Ca signaling mutants of F. graminearum expressing GCaMP5G exhibited improved signal-to-noise and increased temporal and spatial resolution and are also more amenable to studies involving multiple FPs compared to strains expressing YC3.60.

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    Looger Lab
    11/15/20 | Extracellular glutamate and GABA transients at the transition from interictal spiking to seizures
    Yoshiteru Shimoda , Vincent Magloire , Jonathan S Marvin , Marco Leite , Loren L Looger , Dimitri M Kullmann
    bioRxiv. 2020 Nov 15:. doi: 10.1101/2020.11.13.381707

    Focal epilepsy is associated with intermittent brief population discharges (interictal spikes), which resemble sentinel spikes that often occur at the onset of seizures. Why interictal spikes self-terminate whilst seizures persist and propagate is incompletely understood. Here we use fluorescent glutamate and GABA sensors in an awake rodent model of neocortical seizures to resolve the spatiotemporal evolution of both neurotransmitters in the extracellular space. Interictal spikes are accompanied by brief glutamate transients which are maximal at the initiation site and rapidly propagate centrifugally. GABA transients last longer than glutamate transients and are maximal ~1.5 mm from the focus where they propagate centripetally. At the transition to seizures, GABA transients are attenuated, whilst glutamate transients increase in spatial extent. The data imply that an annulus of feed-forward GABA release intermittently collapses, allowing seizures to escape from local inhibitory restraint.

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    11/11/20 | Optimized Vivid-derived Magnets photodimerizers for subcellular optogenetics in mammalian cells.
    Benedetti L, Marvin JS, Falahati H, Guillén-Samander A, Looger LL, De Camilli P
    Elife. 2020 Nov 11;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63230

    Light-inducible dimerization protein modules enable precise temporal and spatial control of biological processes in non-invasive fashion. Among them, Magnets are small modules engineered from the photoreceptor Vivid by orthogonalizing the homodimerization interface into complementary heterodimers. Both Magnets components, which are well-tolerated as protein fusion partners, are photoreceptors requiring simultaneous photoactivation to interact, enabling high spatiotemporal confinement of dimerization with a single-excitation wavelength. However, Magnets require concatemerization for efficient responses and cell preincubation at 28C to be functional. Here we overcome these limitations by engineering an optimized Magnets pair requiring neither concatemerization nor low temperature preincubation. We validated these 'enhanced' Magnets (eMags) by using them to rapidly and reversibly recruit proteins to subcellular organelles, to induce organelle contacts, and to reconstitute OSBP-VAP ER-Golgi tethering implicated in phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate transport and metabolism. eMags represent a very effective tool to optogenetically manipulate physiological processes over whole cells or in small subcellular volumes.

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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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    05/25/20 | 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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    Looger Lab
    04/17/20 | Temperature-dependent sex determination is mediated by pSTAT3 repression of Kdm6b..
    Weber C, Zhou Y, Lee JG, Looger LL, Qian G, Ge C, Capel B
    Science. 2020 Apr 17;368(6488):303-306. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz4165

    In many reptiles, including the red-eared slider turtle (), sex is determined by ambient temperature during embryogenesis. We previously showed that the epigenetic regulator is elevated at the male-producing temperature and essential to activate the male pathway. In this work, we established a causal link between temperature and transcriptional regulation of We show that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is phosphorylated at the warmer, female-producing temperature, binds the locus, and represses transcription, blocking the male pathway. Influx of Ca, a mediator of STAT3 phosphorylation, is elevated at the female temperature and acts as a temperature-sensitive regulator of STAT3 activation.

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    02/08/20 | A fast genetically encoded fluorescent sensor for faithful in vivo acetylcholine detection in mice, fish, worms and flies.
    Borden P, Zhang P, Shivange AV, Marvin JS, Cichon J, Dan C, Podgorski K, Figueiredo A, Novak O, Tanimoto M, Shigetomi E, Lobas MA, Kim H, Zhu P, Zhang Y, Zheng WS, Fan C, Wang G, Xiang B, Gan L, Zhang G, Guo K, Lin L, Cai Y, Yee AG, Aggarwal A, Ford CP, Rees DC, Dietrich D, Khakh BS, Dittman JS, Gan W, Koyama M, Jayaraman V, Cheer JF, Lester HA, Zhu JJ, Looger LL
    bioRxiv. 2020 Feb 8:. doi:

    Here we design and optimize a genetically encoded fluorescent indicator, iAChSnFR, for the ubiquitous neurotransmitter acetylcholine, based on a bacterial periplasmic binding protein. iAChSnFR shows large fluorescence changes, rapid rise and decay kinetics, and insensitivity to most cholinergic drugs. iAChSnFR revealed large transients in a variety of slice and in vivo preparations in mouse, fish, fly and worm. iAChSnFR will be useful for the study of acetylcholine in all animals.

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    01/03/20 | The neuropeptide Drosulfakinin regulates social isolation-induced aggression in Drosophila.
    Agrawal P, Kao D, Chung P, Looger LL
    Journal of Experimental Biology. 2020 Jan 03;223(2):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.207407

    Social isolation strongly modulates behavior across the animal kingdom. We utilized the fruit fly to study social isolation-driven changes in animal behavior and gene expression in the brain. RNA-seq identified several head-expressed genes strongly responding to social isolation or enrichment. Of particular interest, social isolation downregulated expression of the gene encoding the neuropeptide (), the homologue of vertebrate cholecystokinin (CCK), which is critical for many mammalian social behaviors. knockdown significantly increased social isolation-induced aggression. Genetic activation or silencing of neurons each similarly increased isolation-driven aggression. Our results suggest a U-shaped dependence of social isolation-induced aggressive behavior on signaling, similar to the actions of many neuromodulators in other contexts.

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    Looger Lab
    11/12/19 | Biosensors show the pharmacokinetics of S-Ketamine in the endoplasmic reticulum.
    Bera K, Kamajaya A, Shivange AV, Muthusamy AK, Nichols AL, Borden PM, Grant S, Jeon J, Lin E, Bishara I, Chin TM, Cohen BN, Kim CH, Unger EK, Tian L, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Lester HA
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2019 Nov 12;13:499. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00499

    The target for the "rapid" (<24 h) antidepressant effects of S-ketamine is unknown, vitiating programs to rationally develop more effective rapid antidepressants. To describe a drug's target, one must first understand the compartments entered by the drug, at all levels-the organ, the cell, and the organelle. We have, therefore, developed molecular tools to measure the subcellular, organellar pharmacokinetics of S-ketamine. The tools are genetically encoded intensity-based S-ketamine-sensing fluorescent reporters, iSKetSnFR1 and iSKetSnFR2. In solution, these biosensors respond to S-ketamine with a sensitivity, S-slope = delta(F/F)/(delta[S-ketamine]) of 0.23 and 1.9/μM, respectively. The iSKetSnFR2 construct allows measurements at <0.3 μM S-ketamine. The iSKetSnFR1 and iSKetSnFR2 biosensors display >100-fold selectivity over other ligands tested, including R-ketamine. We targeted each of the sensors to either the plasma membrane (PM) or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Measurements on these biosensors expressed in Neuro2a cells and in human dopaminergic neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) show that S-ketamine enters the ER within a few seconds after appearing in the external solution near the PM, then leaves as rapidly after S-ketamine is removed from the extracellular solution. In cells, S-slopes for the ER and PM-targeted sensors differ by <2-fold, indicating that the ER [S-ketamine] is less than 2-fold different from the extracellular [S-ketamine]. Organelles represent potential compartments for the engagement of S-ketamine with its antidepressant target, and potential S-ketamine targets include organellar ion channels, receptors, and transporters.

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    Looger LabDruckmann LabKeller Lab
    09/23/19 | Single-cell reconstruction of emerging population activity in an entire developing circuit.
    Wan Y, Wei Z, Looger LL, Koyama M, Druckmann S, Keller PJ
    Cell. 2019 Sep 23;179(2):. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.08.039

    Animal survival requires a functioning nervous system to develop during embryogenesis. Newborn neurons must assemble into circuits producing activity patterns capable of instructing behaviors. Elucidating how this process is coordinated requires new methods that follow maturation and activity of all cells across a developing circuit. We present an imaging method for comprehensively tracking neuron lineages, movements, molecular identities, and activity in the entire developing zebrafish spinal cord, from neurogenesis until the emergence of patterned activity instructing the earliest spontaneous motor behavior. We found that motoneurons are active first and form local patterned ensembles with neighboring neurons. These ensembles merge, synchronize globally after reaching a threshold size, and finally recruit commissural interneurons to orchestrate the left-right alternating patterns important for locomotion in vertebrates. Individual neurons undergo functional maturation stereotypically based on their birth time and anatomical origin. Our study provides a general strategy for reconstructing how functioning circuits emerge during embryogenesis.

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