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15 Publications

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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, Aggarwal A, 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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    02/15/22 | Glutamate indicators with improved activation kinetics and localization for imaging synaptic transmission
    Abhi Aggarwal , Rui Liu , Yang Chen , Amelia J Ralowicz , Samuel J Bergerson , Filip Tomaska , Timothy L Hanson , Jeremy P Hasseman , Daniel Reep , Getahun Tsegaye , Pantong Yao , Xiang Ji , Marinus Kloos , Deepika Walpita , Ronak Patel , Paul W Tilberg , Boaz Mohar , GENIE , Loren L Looger , Jonathan S Marvin , Michael B Hoppa , Arthur Konnerth , David Kleinfeld , Eric R Schreiter , Kaspar Podgorski
    bioRxiv PrePrint. 2022 Feb 15:. doi: 10.1101/2022.02.13.480251

    The fluorescent glutamate indicator iGluSnFR enables imaging of neurotransmission with genetic and molecular specificity. However, existing iGluSnFR variants exhibit saturating activation kinetics and are excluded from post-synaptic densities, limiting their ability to distinguish synaptic from extrasynaptic glutamate. Using a multi-assay screen in bacteria, soluble protein, and cultured neurons, we generated novel variants with improved kinetics and signal-to-noise ratios. We also developed surface display constructs that improve iGluSnFR’s nanoscopic localization to post-synapses. The resulting indicator, iGluSnFR3, exhibits rapid non-saturating activation kinetics and reports synaptic glutamate release with improved linearity and increased specificity versus extrasynaptic signals in cultured neurons. In mouse visual cortex, imaging of iGluSnFR3 at individual boutons reported single electrophysiologically-observed action potentials with high specificity versus non-synaptic transients. In vibrissal sensory cortex Layer 4, we used iGluSnFR3 to characterize distinct patterns of touch-evoked feedforward input from thalamocortical boutons and both feedforward and recurrent input onto L4 cortical neuron dendritic spines.

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    04/14/21 | VolPy: Automated and scalable analysis pipelines for voltage imaging datasets.
    Cai C, Friedrich J, Singh A, Eybposh MH, Pnevmatikakis EA, Podgorski K, Giovannucci A
    PLoS Computational Biology. 2021 Apr 14;17(4):e1008806. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008806

    Voltage imaging enables monitoring neural activity at sub-millisecond and sub-cellular scale, unlocking the study of subthreshold activity, synchrony, and network dynamics with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. However, high data rates (>800MB/s) and low signal-to-noise ratios create bottlenecks for analyzing such datasets. Here we present VolPy, an automated and scalable pipeline to pre-process voltage imaging datasets. VolPy features motion correction, memory mapping, automated segmentation, denoising and spike extraction, all built on a highly parallelizable, modular, and extensible framework optimized for memory and speed. To aid automated segmentation, we introduce a corpus of 24 manually annotated datasets from different preparations, brain areas and voltage indicators. We benchmark VolPy against ground truth segmentation, simulations and electrophysiology recordings, and we compare its performance with existing algorithms in detecting spikes. Our results indicate that VolPy's performance in spike extraction and scalability are state-of-the-art.

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    07/10/20 | A general approach to engineer positive-going eFRET voltage indicators
    Abdelfattah AS, Valenti R, Zheng J, Wong A, Podgorski K, Koyama M, Kim DS, Schreiter ER, Project Team GENIE
    Nature Communications. 2020 Jul 10;11(1):

    We engineered electrochromic fluorescence resonance energy transfer (eFRET) genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) with “positive-going” fluorescence response to membrane depolarization through rational manipulation of the native proton transport pathway in microbial rhodopsins. We transformed the state-of-the-art eFRET GEVI Voltron into Positron, with kinetics and sensitivity equivalent to Voltron but flipped fluorescence signal polarity. We further applied this general approach to GEVIs containing different voltage sensitive rhodopsin domains and various fluorescent dye and fluorescent protein reporters.

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    07/08/20 | Bright and high-performance genetically encoded Ca indicator based on mNeonGreen fluorescent protein.
    Zarowny L, Aggarwal A, Rutten VM, Kolb I, GENIE Project , Patel R, Huang H, Chang Y, Phan T, Kanyo R, Ahrens MB, Allison WT, Podgorski K, Campbell RE
    ACS Sensors. 2020 Jul 08:. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c00279

    Genetically encodable calcium ion (Ca) indicators (GECIs) based on green fluorescent proteins (GFP) are powerful tools for imaging of cell signaling and neural activity in model organisms. Following almost 2 decades of steady improvements in the GFP-based GCaMP series of GECIs, the performance of the most recent generation (i.e., jGCaMP7) may have reached its practical limit due to the inherent properties of GFP. In an effort to sustain the steady progression toward ever-improved GECIs, we undertook the development of a new GECI based on the bright monomeric GFP, mNeonGreen (mNG). The resulting indicator, mNG-GECO1, is 60% brighter than GCaMP6s in vitro and provides comparable performance as demonstrated by imaging Ca dynamics in cultured cells, primary neurons, and in vivo in larval zebrafish. These results suggest that mNG-GECO1 is a promising next-generation GECI that could inherit the mantle of GCaMP and allow the steady improvement of GECIs to continue for generations to come.

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    06/16/20 | Comprehensive imaging of sensory-evoked activity of entire neurons within the awake developing brain using ultrafast AOD-based random-access two-photon microscopy.
    Sakaki KD, Podgorski K, Dellazizzo Toth TA, Coleman P, Haas K
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 2020 Jun 16;14:33. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2020.00033

    Determining how neurons transform synaptic input and encode information in action potential (AP) firing output is required for understanding dendritic integration, neural transforms and encoding. Limitations in the speed of imaging 3D volumes of brain encompassing complex dendritic arbors using conventional galvanometer mirror-based laser-scanning microscopy has hampered fully capturing fluorescent sensors of activity throughout an individual neuron's entire complement of synaptic inputs and somatic APs. To address this problem, we have developed a two-photon microscope that achieves high-speed scanning by employing inertia-free acousto-optic deflectors (AODs) for laser beam positioning, enabling random-access sampling of hundreds to thousands of points-of-interest restricted to a predetermined neuronal structure, avoiding wasted scanning of surrounding extracellular tissue. This system is capable of comprehensive imaging of the activity of single neurons within the intact and awake vertebrate brain. Here, we demonstrate imaging of tectal neurons within the brains of albino tadpoles labeled using single-cell electroporation for expression of a red space-filling fluorophore to determine dendritic arbor morphology, and either the calcium sensor jGCaMP7s or the glutamate sensor iGluSnFR as indicators of neural activity. Using discrete, point-of-interest scanning we achieve sampling rates of 3 Hz for saturation sampling of entire arbors at 2 μm resolution, 6 Hz for sequentially sampling 3 volumes encompassing the dendritic arbor and soma, and 200-250 Hz for scanning individual planes through the dendritic arbor. This system allows investigations of sensory-evoked information input-output relationships of neurons within the intact and awake brain.

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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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    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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    11/25/19 | Two-photon imaging with silicon photomultipliers.
    Modi MN, Daie K, Turner GC, Podgorski K
    Optics Express. 2019 Nov 25;27(24):35830-35841. doi: 10.1364/OE.27.035830

    We compared performance of recently developed silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) to GaAsP photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) for two-photon imaging of neural activity. Despite higher dark counts, SiPMs match or exceed the signal-to-noise ratio of PMTs at photon rates encountered in typical calcium imaging experiments due to their low pulse height variability. At higher photon rates encountered during high-speed voltage imaging, SiPMs substantially outperform PMTs.

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    08/13/19 | Bright and photostable chemigenetic indicators for extended in vivo voltage imaging.
    Abdelfattah AS, Kawashima T, Singh A, Novak O, Liu H, Shuai Y, Huang Y, Campagnola L, Seeman SC, Yu J, Zheng J, Grimm JB, Patel R, Friedrich J, Mensh BD, Paninski L, Macklin JJ, Murphy GJ, Podgorski K, Lin B, Chen T, Turner GC, Liu Z, Koyama M, Svoboda K, Ahrens MB, Lavis LD, Schreiter ER
    Science. 2019 Aug 13;365(6454):699-704. doi: 10.1126/science.aav6416

    Imaging changes in membrane potential using genetically encoded fluorescent voltage indicators (GEVIs) has great potential for monitoring neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. Brightness and photostability of fluorescent proteins and rhodopsins have limited the utility of existing GEVIs. We engineered a novel GEVI, "Voltron", that utilizes bright and photostable synthetic dyes instead of protein-based fluorophores, extending the combined duration of imaging and number of neurons imaged simultaneously by more than tenfold relative to existing GEVIs. We used Voltron for in vivo voltage imaging in mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies. In mouse cortex, Voltron allowed single-trial recording of spikes and subthreshold voltage signals from dozens of neurons simultaneously, over 15 min of continuous imaging. In larval zebrafish, Voltron enabled the precise correlation of spike timing with behavior.

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