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134 Publications

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    Lavis LabLooger Lab
    07/17/15 | Ketamine Inside Neurons?
    Lester HA, Lavis LD, Dougherty DA
    American Journal of Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 17;172(11):1064-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.14121537
    04/27/15 | High-performance probes for light and electron microscopy.
    Viswanathan S, Williams ME, Bloss EB, Stasevich TJ, Speer CM, Nern A, Pfeiffer BD, Hooks BM, Li W, English BP, Tian T, Henry GL, Macklin JJ, Patel R, Gerfen CR, Zhuang X, Wang Y, Rubin GM, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2015 Apr 27;12(6):568-76. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3365

    We describe an engineered family of highly antigenic molecules based on GFP-like fluorescent proteins. These molecules contain numerous copies of peptide epitopes and simultaneously bind IgG antibodies at each location. These 'spaghetti monster' fluorescent proteins (smFPs) distributed well in neurons, notably into small dendrites, spines and axons. smFP immunolabeling localized weakly expressed proteins not well resolved with traditional epitope tags. By varying epitope and scaffold, we generated a diverse family of mutually orthogonal antigens. In cultured neurons and mouse and fly brains, smFP probes allowed robust, orthogonal multicolor visualization of proteins, cell populations and neuropil. smFP variants complement existing tracers and greatly increase the number of simultaneous imaging channels, and they performed well in advanced preparations such as array tomography, super-resolution fluorescence imaging and electron microscopy. In living cells, the probes improved single-molecule image tracking and increased yield for RNA-seq. These probes facilitate new experiments in connectomics, transcriptomics and protein localization.

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    Looger Lab
    04/02/15 | Dynamics of ionic shifts in cortical spreading depression.
    Enger R, Tang W, Vindedal GF, Jensen V, Johannes Helm P, Sprengel R, Looger LL, Nagelhus EA
    Cerebral Cortex. 2015 Apr 2;25(11):4469-76. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhv054

    Cortical spreading depression is a slowly propagating wave of near-complete depolarization of brain cells followed by temporary suppression of neuronal activity. Accumulating evidence indicates that cortical spreading depression underlies the migraine aura and that similar waves promote tissue damage in stroke, trauma, and hemorrhage. Cortical spreading depression is characterized by neuronal swelling, profound elevation of extracellular potassium and glutamate, multiphasic blood flow changes, and drop in tissue oxygen tension. The slow speed of the cortical spreading depression wave implies that it is mediated by diffusion of a chemical substance, yet the identity of this substance and the pathway it follows are unknown. Intercellular spread between gap junction-coupled neurons or glial cells and interstitial diffusion of K(+) or glutamate have been proposed. Here we use extracellular direct current potential recordings, K(+)-sensitive microelectrodes, and 2-photon imaging with ultrasensitive Ca(2+) and glutamate fluorescent probes to elucidate the spatiotemporal dynamics of ionic shifts associated with the propagation of cortical spreading depression in the visual cortex of adult living mice. Our data argue against intercellular spread of Ca(2+) carrying the cortical spreading depression wavefront and are in favor of interstitial K(+) diffusion, rather than glutamate diffusion, as the leading event in cortical spreading depression.

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    03/01/15 | Fixation-resistant photoactivatable fluorescent proteins for CLEM.
    Paez-Segala MG, Sun MG, Shtengel G, Viswanathan S, Baird MA, Macklin JJ, Patel R, Allen JR, Howe ES, Piszczek G, Hess HF, Davidson MW, Wang Y, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2015 Mar;12(3):215-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3225

    Fluorescent proteins facilitate a variety of imaging paradigms in live and fixed samples. However, they lose their fluorescence after heavy fixation, hindering applications such as correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM). Here we report engineered variants of the photoconvertible Eos fluorescent protein that fluoresce and photoconvert normally in heavily fixed (0.5-1% OsO4), plastic resin-embedded samples, enabling correlative super-resolution fluorescence imaging and high-quality electron microscopy.

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    Looger Lab
    02/18/15 | Stimulation-evoked Ca2+ signals in astrocytic processes at hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapses of adult mice are modulated by glutamate and ATP.
    Tang W, Szokol K, Jensen V, Enger R, Trivedi CA, Hvalby Ø, Helm PJ, Looger LL, Sprengel R, Nagelhus EA
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2015 Feb 18;35(7):3016-21. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3319-14.2015

    To date, it has been difficult to reveal physiological Ca(2+) events occurring within the fine astrocytic processes of mature animals. The objective of the study was to explore whether neuronal activity evokes astrocytic Ca(2+) signals at glutamatergic synapses of adult mice. We stimulated the Schaffer collateral/commissural fibers in acute hippocampal slices from adult mice transduced with the genetically encoded Ca(2+) indicator GCaMP5E driven by the glial fibrillary acidic protein promoter. Two-photon imaging revealed global stimulation-evoked astrocytic Ca(2+) signals with distinct latencies, rise rates, and amplitudes in fine processes and somata. Specifically, the Ca(2+) signals in the processes were faster and of higher amplitude than those in the somata. A combination of P2 purinergic and group I/II metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) antagonists reduced the amplitude of the Ca(2+) transients by 30-40% in both astrocytic compartments. Blockage of the mGluRs alone only modestly reduced the magnitude of the stimulation-evoked Ca(2+) signals in processes and failed to affect the somatic Ca(2+) response. Local application of group I or I/II mGluR agonists or adenosine triphosphate (ATP) elicited global astrocytic Ca(2+) signals that mimicked the stimulation-evoked astrocytic Ca(2+) responses. We conclude that stimulation-evoked Ca(2+) signals in astrocytic processes at CA3-CA1 synapses of adult mice (1) differ from those in astrocytic somata and (2) are modulated by glutamate and ATP.

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    02/13/15 | Labeling of active neural circuits in vivo with designed calcium integrators.
    Fosque BF, Sun Y, Dana H, Yang C, Ohyama T, Tadross MR, Patel R, Zlatic M, Kim DS, Ahrens MB, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Schreiter ER
    Science. 2015 Feb 13;347(6223):755-60. doi: 10.1126/science.1260922

    The identification of active neurons and circuits in vivo is a fundamental challenge in understanding the neural basis of behavior. Genetically encoded calcium (Ca(2+)) indicators (GECIs) enable quantitative monitoring of cellular-resolution activity during behavior. However, such indicators require online monitoring within a limited field of view. Alternatively, post hoc staining of immediate early genes (IEGs) indicates highly active cells within the entire brain, albeit with poor temporal resolution. We designed a fluorescent sensor, CaMPARI, that combines the genetic targetability and quantitative link to neural activity of GECIs with the permanent, large-scale labeling of IEGs, allowing a temporally precise "activity snapshot" of a large tissue volume. CaMPARI undergoes efficient and irreversible green-to-red conversion only when elevated intracellular Ca(2+) and experimenter-controlled illumination coincide. We demonstrate the utility of CaMPARI in freely moving larvae of zebrafish and flies, and in head-fixed mice and adult flies.

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    Looger Lab
    12/04/14 | Role of adaptor TrfA and ClpPC in controlling levels of SsrA-tagged proteins and antitoxins in staphylococcus aureus.
    Donegan NP, Marvin JS, Cheung AL
    Journal of Bacteriology. 2014 Dec 1;196(23):4140-51. doi: 10.1128/JB.02222-14

    Staphylococcus aureus responds to changing extracellular environments in part by adjusting its proteome through alterations of transcriptional priorities and selective degradation of the preexisting pool of proteins. In Bacillus subtilis, the proteolytic adaptor protein MecA has been shown to play a role in assisting with the proteolytic degradation of proteins involved in competence and the oxidative stress response. However, the targets of TrfA, the MecA homolog in S. aureus, have not been well characterized. In this work, we investigated how TrfA assists chaperones and proteases to regulate the proteolysis of several classes of proteins in S. aureus. By fusing the last 3 amino acids of the SsrA degradation tag to Venus, a rapidly folding yellow fluorescent protein, we obtained both fluorescence-based and Western blot assay-based evidence that TrfA and ClpCP are the adaptor and protease, respectively, responsible for the degradation of the SsrA-tagged protein in S. aureus. Notably, the impact of TrfA on degradation was most prominent during late log phase and early stationary phase, due in part to a combination of transcriptional regulation and proteolytic degradation of TrfA by ClpCP. We also characterized the temporal transcriptional regulation governing TrfA activity, wherein Spx, a redox-sensitive transcriptional regulator degraded by ClpXP, activates trfA transcription while repressing its own promoter. Finally, the scope of TrfA-mediated proteolysis was expanded by identifying TrfA as the adaptor that works with ClpCP to degrade antitoxins in S. aureus. Together, these results indicate that the adaptor TrfA adds temporal nuance to protein degradation by ClpCP in S. aureus.

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    Looger LabSvoboda LabGENIE
    01/01/14 | Thy1 - GCaMP6 transgenic mice for neuronal population imaging in vivo.
    Dana H, Chen T, Hu A, Shields BC, Cui G, Looger L, Kim DS, Svoboda K
    PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e108697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108697

    Genetically-encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) facilitate imaging activity of genetically defined neuronal populations in vivo. The high intracellular GECI concentrations required for in vivo imaging are usually achieved by viral gene transfer using adeno-associated viruses. Transgenic expression of GECIs promises important advantages, including homogeneous, repeatable, and stable expression without the need for invasive virus injections. Here we present the generation and characterization of transgenic mice expressing the GECIs GCaMP6s or GCaMP6f under the Thy1 promoter. We quantified GCaMP6 expression across brain regions and neurons and compared to other transgenic mice and AAV-mediated expression. We tested three mouse lines for imaging in the visual cortex in vivo and compared their performance to mice injected with AAV expressing GCaMP6. Furthermore, we show that GCaMP6 Thy1 transgenic mice are useful for long-term, high-sensitivity imaging in behaving mice.

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    Looger Lab
    08/01/14 | Combined protein- and nucleic acid-level effects of rs1143679 (R77H), a lupus-predisposing variant within ITGAM.
    Maiti AK, Kim-Howard X, Motghare P, Pradhan V, Chua KH, Sun C, Arango-Guerrero MT, Ghosh K, Niewold TB, Harley JB, Anaya J, Looger LL, Nath SK
    Human Molecular Genetics. 2014 Aug 1;23(15):4161-76. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu106

    Integrin alpha M (ITGAM; CD11b) is a component of the macrophage-1 antigen complex, which mediates leukocyte adhesion, migration and phagocytosis as part of the immune system. We previously identified a missense polymorphism, rs1143679 (R77H), strongly associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the molecular mechanisms of this variant are incompletely understood. A meta-analysis of published and novel data on 28 439 individuals with European, African, Hispanic and Asian ancestries reinforces genetic association between rs1143679 and SLE [Pmeta = 3.60 × 10(-90), odds ratio (OR) = 1.76]. Since rs1143679 is in the most active region of chromatin regulation and transcription factor binding in ITGAM, we quantitated ITGAM RNA and surface protein levels in monocytes from patients with each rs1143679 genotype. We observed that transcript levels significantly decreased for the risk allele ('A') relative to the non-risk allele ('G'), in a dose-dependent fashion: ('AA' < 'AG' < 'GG'). CD11b protein levels in patients' monocytes were directly correlated with RNA levels. Strikingly, heterozygous individuals express much lower (average 10- to 15-fold reduction) amounts of the 'A' transcript than 'G' transcript. We found that the non-risk sequence surrounding rs1143679 exhibits transcriptional enhancer activity in vivo and binds to Ku70/80, NFKB1 and EBF1 in vitro, functions that are significantly reduced with the risk allele. Mutant CD11b protein shows significantly reduced binding to fibrinogen and vitronectin, relative to non-risk, both in purified protein and in cellular models. This two-pronged contribution (nucleic acid- and protein-level) of the rs1143679 risk allele to decreasing ITGAM activity provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of its potent association with SLE.

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    Looger LabLavis Lab
    07/29/14 | Integrated action of pheromone signals in promoting courtship behavior in male mice.
    Haga-Yamanaka S, Ma L, He J, Qiu Q, Lavis LD, Looger LL, Yu CR
    eLife. 2014 Jul 29;3:e03025. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03025

    The mammalian vomeronasal organ encodes pheromone information about gender, reproductive status, genetic background and individual differences. It remains unknown how pheromone information interacts to trigger innate behaviors. In this study, we identify vomeronasal receptors responsible for detecting female pheromones. A sub-group of V1re clade members recognizes gender-identifying cues in female urine. Multiple members of the V1rj clade are cognate receptors for urinary estrus signals, as well as for sulfated estrogen (SE) compounds. In both cases, the same cue activates multiple homologous receptors, suggesting redundancy in encoding female pheromone cues. Neither gender-specific cues nor SEs alone are sufficient to promote courtship behavior in male mice, whereas robust courtship behavior can be induced when the two cues are applied together. Thus, integrated action of different female cues is required in pheromone-triggered mating behavior. These results suggest a gating mechanism in the vomeronasal circuit in promoting specific innate behavior.DOI:

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