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49 Publications

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    Ji LabMagee LabBetzig Lab
    02/01/08 | High-speed, low-photodamage nonlinear imaging using passive pulse splitters. (With commentary)
    Ji N, Magee JC, Betzig E
    Nature Methods. 2008 Feb;5(2):197-202. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1175

    Pulsed lasers are key elements in nonlinear bioimaging techniques such as two-photon fluorescence excitation (TPE) microscopy. Typically, however, only a percent or less of the laser power available can be delivered to the sample before photoinduced damage becomes excessive. Here we describe a passive pulse splitter that converts each laser pulse into a fixed number of sub-pulses of equal energy. We applied the splitter to TPE imaging of fixed mouse brain slices labeled with GFP and show that, in different power regimes, the splitter can be used either to increase the signal rate more than 100-fold or to reduce the rate of photobleaching by over fourfold. In living specimens, the gains were even greater: a ninefold reduction in photobleaching during in vivo imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans larvae, and a six- to 20-fold decrease in the rate of photodamage during calcium imaging of rat hippocampal brain slices.

    Commentary: Na Ji came to me early in her postdoc with an idea to reduce photodamage in nonlinear microscopy by splitting the pulses from an ultrafast laser into multiple subpulses of reduced energy. In six weeks, we constructed a prototype pulse splitter and obtained initial results confirming the validity of her vision. Further experiments with Jeff Magee demonstrated that the splitter could be used to increase imaging speed or reduce photodamage in two photon microscopy by one to two orders of magnitude. This project is a great example of how quickly one can react and exploit new ideas in the Janelia environment.

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    Magee Lab
    05/01/07 | Associative pairing enhances action potential back-propagation in radial oblique branches of CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Gasparini S, Losonczy A, Chen X, Johnston D, Magee JC
    The Journal of Physiology. 2007 May 1;580(Pt.3):787-800. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Back-propagating action potentials (bAPs) are involved in associative synaptic plasticity and the modulation of dendritic excitability. We have used high-speed confocal and two-photon imaging to measure calcium and voltage signals associated with action potential propagation into oblique branches of CA1 pyramidal neurons in adult hippocampal slices. The spatial profile of the bAP-associated Ca(2+) influx was biphasic, with an initial increase in the proximity of the branch point followed by a progressive decrease. Voltage imaging in the branches showed that bAP amplitude was initially constant and then steadily declined with distance from the soma. To determine the role of transient K(+) channels in this profile, we used external Ba(2+) (150 microm) as a channel blocker, after characterizing its effect on A-type K(+) channels in the apical trunk. Bath application of Ba(2+) significantly reduced the A-type K(+) current in outside-out patches and nearly eliminated the distance-dependent decrease in bAP amplitude and its associated Ca(2+) signal. Finally, small amplitude bAPs at more distal oblique branch locations could be boosted by simultaneous branch depolarization, such that the paired Ca(2+) signal became nearly the same for proximal and distal oblique dendrites. These data suggest that dendritic K(+) channels regulate the amplitude of bAPs to create a dendritic Ca(2+) signal whose magnitude is inversely related to the electrotonic distance from the soma when bAPs are not associated with a significant amount of localized synaptic input. This distance-dependent Ca(2+) signal from bAPs, however, can be amplified and a strong associative signal is produced once the proper correlation between synaptic activation and AP output is achieved. We hypothesize that these two signals may be involved in the regulation of the expression and activity of dendritic voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels.

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    Magee Lab
    04/20/06 | Integrative properties of radial oblique dendrites in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Losonczy A, Magee JC
    Neuron. 2006 Apr 20;50(2):291-307. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.016

    Although radial oblique dendrites are a major synaptic input site in CA1 pyramidal neurons, little is known about their integrative properties. We have used multisite two-photon glutamate uncaging to deliver different spatiotemporal input patterns to single branches while simultaneously recording the uncaging-evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials and local Ca2+ signals. Asynchronous input patterns sum linearly in spite of the spatial clustering and produce Ca2+ signals that are mediated by NMDA receptors (NMDARs). Appropriately timed and sized input patterns ( approximately 20 inputs within approximately 6 ms) produce a supralinear summation due to the initiation of a dendritic spike. The Ca2+ signals associated with synchronous input were larger and mediated by influx through both NMDARs and voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs). The oblique spike is a fast Na+ spike whose duration is shaped by the coincident activation of NMDAR, VGCCs, and transient K+ currents. Our results suggest that individual branches can function as single integrative compartments.

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    Magee Lab
    03/01/06 | A systematic model to predict transcriptional regulatory mechanisms based on overrepresentation of transcription factor binding profiles.
    Chang L, Nagarajan R, Magee JA, Milbrandt J, Stormo GD
    Genome Research. 2006 Mar;16(3):405-13. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    An important aspect of understanding a biological pathway is to delineate the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of the genes involved. Two important tasks are often encountered when studying transcription regulation, i.e., (1) the identification of common transcriptional regulators of a set of coexpressed genes; (2) the identification of genes that are regulated by one or several transcription factors. In this study, a systematic and statistical approach was taken to accomplish these tasks by establishing an integrated model considering all of the promoters and characterized transcription factors (TFs) in the genome. A promoter analysis pipeline (PAP) was developed to implement this approach. PAP was tested using coregulated gene clusters collected from the literature. In most test cases, PAP identified the transcription regulators of the input genes accurately. When compared with chromatin immunoprecipitation experiment data, PAP’s predictions are consistent with the experimental observations. When PAP was used to analyze one published expression-profiling data set and two novel coregulated gene sets, PAP was able to generate biologically meaningful hypotheses. Therefore, by taking a systematic approach of considering all promoters and characterized TFs in our model, we were able to make more reliable predictions about the regulation of gene expression in mammalian organisms.

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    Magee Lab
    02/15/06 | State-dependent dendritic computation in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Gasparini S, Magee JC
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2006 Feb 15;26(7):2088-100. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Depending on the behavioral state, hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons receive very distinct patterns of synaptic input and likewise produce very different output patterns. We have used simultaneous dendritic and somatic recordings and multisite glutamate uncaging to investigate the relationship between synaptic input pattern, the form of dendritic integration, and action potential output in CA1 neurons. We found that when synaptic input arrives asynchronously or highly distributed in space, the dendritic arbor performs a linear integration that allows the action potential rate and timing to vary as a function of the quantity of the input. In contrast, when synaptic input arrives synchronously and spatially clustered, the dendritic compartment receiving the clustered input produces a highly nonlinear integration that leads to an action potential output that is extraordinarily precise and invariant. We also present evidence that both of these forms of information processing may be independently engaged during the two distinct behavioral states of the hippocampus such that individual CA1 pyramidal neurons could perform two different state-dependent computations: input strength encoding during theta states and feature detection during sharp waves.

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    Magee Lab
    02/01/06 | Sleep deprivation-induced alterations in excitatory synaptic transmission in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus.
    McDermott CM, Hardy MN, Bazan NG, Magee JC
    The Journal of Physiology. 2006 Feb 1;570(Pt 3):553-65. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Although the function of sleep remains elusive, there is compelling evidence to suggest that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. A number of studies have now shown that sleep deprivation (SD) results in significant impairment of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. In this study, we have attempted to determine the mechanisms responsible for this impairment. After 72 h SD using the multiple-platform technique, we observed a reduction in the whole-cell recorded NMDA/AMPA ratio of CA1 pyramidal cells in response to Schaffer collateral stimulation. This impairment was specific to sleep deprivation as rats placed over a single large platform, which allowed sleep, had a normal NMDA/AMPA ratio. mEPSCs evoked by local application of a high osmolarity solution revealed no differences in the AMPA receptor function. NMDA currents recorded from outside-out patches excised from the distal dendrites of CA1 cells displayed a reduction in amplitude after SD. While there were no alterations in the glutamate sensitivity, channel open probability or the single channel conductance of the receptor, a crosslinking assay demonstrated that the NR1 and NR2A subunits of NMDA receptors were preferentially retained in the cytoplasm after SD, indicating that SD alters NMDAR surface expression. In summary, we have identified a potential mechanism underlying SD-induced LTP impairment. This synaptic alteration may underlie the cognitive deficits seen following sleep deprivation and could represent a target for future intervention studies.

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    Magee Lab
    01/06/06 | Direct, androgen receptor-mediated regulation of the FKBP5 gene via a distal enhancer element.
    Magee JA, Chang L, Stormo GD, Milbrandt J
    Endocrinology. 2006 Jan 6;147(1):590-8. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Androgen signaling via the androgen receptor (AR) transcription factor is crucial to normal prostate homeostasis and prostate tumorigenesis. Current models of AR function are predominantly based on studies of prostate-specific antigen regulation in androgen-responsive cell lines. To expand on these in vitro paradigms, we used the mouse prostate to elucidate the mechanisms through which AR regulates another direct target, FKBP5, in vivo. FKBP5 encodes an immunophilin that has been previously implicated in glucocorticoid and progestin signaling pathways and that likely influences prostate physiology in the presence of androgens. In this work, we show that androgens directly regulate FKBP5 via an interaction between the AR and a distal enhancer located 65 kb downstream of the transcription start site in the fifth intron of the FKBP5 gene. We have found that AR selectively recruits cAMP response element-binding protein to this enhancer. These interactions, in turn, result in chromatin remodeling that affects the enhancer proper but not the FKBP5 locus as a whole. Furthermore, in contrast to prostate-specific antigen-regulatory mechanisms, we show that transactivation of the FKBP5 gene does not rely on a single looping complex to mediate communication between the distal enhancer and proximal promoter. Rather, the distal enhancer complex and basal transcription apparatus communicate indirectly with one another, implicating a regulatory mechanism that has not been previously appreciated for AR target genes.

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    Magee Lab
    06/01/05 | Plasticity of dendritic function.
    Magee JC, Johnston D
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2005 Jun;15:334-42. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    The various properties of neuronal dendrites–their morphology, active membrane and synaptic properties–all play important roles in determining the functional capabilities of central nervous system neurons. Because of their fundamental involvement in both synaptic integration and synaptic plasticity, the active dendritic properties are important for both neuronal information processing and storage. The active properties of dendrites are determined by the densities of voltage-gated ion channels located within the dendrites in addition to the biophysical characteristics of those channels. The real power of this system resides in the level of plasticity that is provided by the many forms of channel modulation known to exist in neurons. Indeed, voltage gated ion channel modulation shapes the active properties of neuronal dendrites to specific conditions, thus tailoring the functional role of the single neuron within its circuit.

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    Magee Lab
    12/08/04 | On the initiation and propagation of dendritic spikes in CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Gasparini S, Migliore M, Magee JC
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2004 Dec 8;24(49):11046-56. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Under certain conditions, regenerative voltage spikes can be initiated locally in the dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. These are interesting events that could potentially provide neurons with additional computational abilities. Using whole-cell dendritic recordings from the distal apical trunk and proximal tuft regions and realistic computer modeling, we have determined that highly synchronized and moderately clustered inputs are required for dendritic spike initiation: approximately 50 synaptic inputs spread over 100 mum of the apical trunk/tuft need to be activated within 3 msec. Dendritic spikes are characterized by a more depolarized voltage threshold than at the soma [-48 +/- 1 mV (n = 30) vs -56 +/- 1 mV (n = 7), respectively] and are mainly generated and shaped by dendritic Na+ and K+ currents. The relative contribution of AMPA and NMDA currents is also important in determining the actual spatiotemporal requirements for dendritic spike initiation. Once initiated, dendritic spikes can easily reach the soma, but their propagation is only moderately strong, so that it can be modulated by physiologically relevant factors such as changes in the V(m) and the ionic composition of the extracellular solution. With effective spike propagation, an extremely short-latency neuronal output is produced for greatly reduced input levels. Therefore, dendritic spikes function as efficient detectors of specific input patterns, ensuring that the neuronal response to high levels of input synchrony is a precisely timed action potential output.

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    Magee Lab
    09/01/04 | Changes in AMPA receptor currents following LTP induction on rat CA1 pyramidal neurones.
    Andrasfalvy BK, Magee JC
    The Journal of Physiology. 2004 Sep 1;559(Pt 2):543-54. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    In the CA1 region of the hippocampus, LTP is thought to be initiated by a transient activation of NMDA receptors and is expressed as a persistent increase in synaptic transmission through AMPA receptors. To investigate the postsynaptic modifications of AMPA receptors involved in this enhanced synaptic transmission, the channel density and single-channel properties of extrasynaptic AMPA receptors located in synaptically active dendritic regions were examined following the induction of LTP. Following tetanic stimulation an outside-out patch was excised from the apical dendrite near the point of stimulation and saturating concentrations of glutamate were rapidly applied to the patch. AMPA current amplitude and duration were increased significantly in patches pulled from dendrites that expressed LTP. Non-stationary fluctuation analysis of AMPA currents indicated that AMPA channel number was nearly twofold larger than in controls, while single channel conductance and maximum open-probability were unchanged. Furthermore, while subtle changes in AMPA channel kinetics could also be observed, we did not find any evidence that receptor affinity or rectification properties were altered by LTP induction. Very similar results were found when CaMK-II activity was increased through the intracellular application of Ca/CaM. Together, we interpret our data to indicate that the stimuli used here produce an increased delivery of AMPA receptors to synaptically active regions of the apical dendrite without inducing any significant changes in their basic biophysical properties and that such delivery is a key element in this form of synaptic plasticity.

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