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2274 Publications

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    Magee LabHarris Lab
    06/01/10 | Multi-array silicon probes with integrated optical fibers: light-assisted perturbation and recording of local neural circuits in the behaving animal.
    Royer S, Zemelman BV, Barbic M, Losonczy A, Buzsáki G, Magee JC
    The European Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Jun;31:2279-91. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Recordings of large neuronal ensembles and neural stimulation of high spatial and temporal precision are important requisites for studying the real-time dynamics of neural networks. Multiple-shank silicon probes enable large-scale monitoring of individual neurons. Optical stimulation of genetically targeted neurons expressing light-sensitive channels or other fast (milliseconds) actuators offers the means for controlled perturbation of local circuits. Here we describe a method to equip the shanks of silicon probes with micron-scale light guides for allowing the simultaneous use of the two approaches. We then show illustrative examples of how these compact hybrid electrodes can be used in probing local circuits in behaving rats and mice. A key advantage of these devices is the enhanced spatial precision of stimulation that is achieved by delivering light close to the recording sites of the probe. When paired with the expression of light-sensitive actuators within genetically specified neuronal populations, these devices allow the relatively straightforward and interpretable manipulation of network activity.

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    Looger Lab
    06/01/10 | Near-isotropic 3D optical nanoscopy with photon-limited chromophores.
    Tang J, Akerboom J, Vaziri A, Looger LL, Shank CV
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2010 Jun 1;107(22):10068-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1004899107

    Imaging approaches based on single molecule localization break the diffraction barrier of conventional fluorescence microscopy, allowing for bioimaging with nanometer resolution. It remains a challenge, however, to precisely localize photon-limited single molecules in 3D. We have developed a new localization-based imaging technique achieving almost isotropic subdiffraction resolution in 3D. A tilted mirror is used to generate a side view in addition to the front view of activated single emitters, allowing their 3D localization to be precisely determined for superresolution imaging. Because both front and side views are in focus, this method is able to efficiently collect emitted photons. The technique is simple to implement on a commercial fluorescence microscope, and especially suitable for biological samples with photon-limited chromophores such as endogenously expressed photoactivatable fluorescent proteins. Moreover, this method is relatively resistant to optical aberration, as it requires only centroid determination for localization analysis. Here we demonstrate the application of this method to 3D imaging of bacterial protein distribution and neuron dendritic morphology with subdiffraction resolution.

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    05/30/10 | A wireless neural/EMG telemetry system for freely moving insects.
    Reid R. Harrison , Ryan J. Kier , Anthony Leonardo , Haleh Fotowat , Raymond Chan , Fabrizio Gabbiani
    IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems. 2010 May 30:. doi: 10.1109/ISCAS.2010.5538034

    We have developed a miniature telemetry system that captures neural, EMG, and acceleration signals from a freely moving insect and transmits the data wirelessly to a remote digital receiver. The system is based on a custom low-power integrated circuit that amplifies and digitizes four biopotential signals as well as three acceleration signals from an off-chip MEMS accelerometer, and transmits this information over a wireless 920-MHz telemetry link. The unit weighs 0.79 g and runs for two hours on two small batteries. We have used this system to monitor neural and EMG signals in jumping and flying locusts.

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    Simpson Lab
    05/01/10 | Mutation of the Drosophila vesicular GABA transporter disrupts visual figure detection.
    Fei H, Chow DM, Chen A, Romero-Calderón R, Ong WS, Ackerson LC, Maidment NT, Simpson JH, Frye MA, Krantz DE
    The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2010 May;213(Pt 10):1717-30. doi: 10.1242/jeb.036053

    The role of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) release and inhibitory neurotransmission in regulating most behaviors remains unclear. The vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) is required for the storage of GABA in synaptic vesicles and provides a potentially useful probe for inhibitory circuits. However, specific pharmacologic agents for VGAT are not available, and VGAT knockout mice are embryonically lethal, thus precluding behavioral studies. We have identified the Drosophila ortholog of the vesicular GABA transporter gene (which we refer to as dVGAT), immunocytologically mapped dVGAT protein expression in the larva and adult and characterized a dVGAT(minos) mutant allele. dVGAT is embryonically lethal and we do not detect residual dVGAT expression, suggesting that it is either a strong hypomorph or a null. To investigate the function of VGAT and GABA signaling in adult visual flight behavior, we have selectively rescued the dVGAT mutant during development. We show that reduced GABA release does not compromise the active optomotor control of wide-field pattern motion. Conversely, reduced dVGAT expression disrupts normal object tracking and figure-ground discrimination. These results demonstrate that visual behaviors are segregated by the level of GABA signaling in flies, and more generally establish dVGAT as a model to study the contribution of GABA release to other complex behaviors.

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    Baker Lab
    05/01/10 | Sex and the single cell. II. There is a time and place for sex.
    Robinett CC, Vaughan AG, Knapp J, Baker BS
    PLoS Biology. 2010 May;8(5):e1000365. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000365

    The Drosophila melanogaster sex hierarchy controls sexual differentiation of somatic cells via the activities of the terminal genes in the hierarchy, doublesex (dsx) and fruitless (fru). We have targeted an insertion of GAL4 into the dsx gene, allowing us to visualize dsx-expressing cells in both sexes. Developmentally and as adults, we find that both XX and XY individuals are fine mosaics of cells and tissues that express dsx and/or fruitless (fru(M)), and hence have the potential to sexually differentiate, and those that don’t. Evolutionary considerations suggest such a mosaic expression of sexuality is likely to be a property of other animal species having two sexes. These results have also led to a major revision of our view of how sex-specific functions are regulated by the sex hierarchy in flies. Rather than there being a single regulatory event that governs the activities of all downstream sex determination regulatory genes-turning on Sex lethal (Sxl) RNA splicing activity in females while leaving it turned off in males-there are, in addition, elaborate temporal and spatial transcriptional controls on the expression of the terminal regulatory genes, dsx and fru. Thus tissue-specific aspects of sexual development are jointly specified by post-transcriptional control by Sxl and by the transcriptional controls of dsx and fru expression.

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    Svoboda Lab
    04/22/10 | Learning-related fine-scale specificity imaged in motor cortex circuits of behaving mice.
    Komiyama T, Sato TR, O’Connor DH, Zhang Y, Huber D, Hooks BM, Gabitto M, Svoboda K
    Nature. 2010 Apr 22;464(7292):1182-6. doi: 10.1038/nature08897

    Cortical neurons form specific circuits, but the functional structure of this microarchitecture and its relation to behaviour are poorly understood. Two-photon calcium imaging can monitor activity of spatially defined neuronal ensembles in the mammalian cortex. Here we applied this technique to the motor cortex of mice performing a choice behaviour. Head-fixed mice were trained to lick in response to one of two odours, and to withhold licking for the other odour. Mice routinely showed significant learning within the first behavioural session and across sessions. Microstimulation and trans-synaptic tracing identified two non-overlapping candidate tongue motor cortical areas. Inactivating either area impaired voluntary licking. Imaging in layer 2/3 showed neurons with diverse response types in both areas. Activity in approximately half of the imaged neurons distinguished trial types associated with different actions. Many neurons showed modulation coinciding with or preceding the action, consistent with their involvement in motor control. Neurons with different response types were spatially intermingled. Nearby neurons (within approximately 150 mum) showed pronounced coincident activity. These temporal correlations increased with learning within and across behavioural sessions, specifically for neuron pairs with similar response types. We propose that correlated activity in specific ensembles of functionally related neurons is a signature of learning-related circuit plasticity. Our findings reveal a fine-scale and dynamic organization of the frontal cortex that probably underlies flexible behaviour.

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    04/15/10 | A principal skeleton algorithm for standardizing confocal images of fruit fly nervous systems.
    Qu L, Peng H
    Bioinformatics. 2010 Apr 15;26(8):1091-7. doi: 10.1007/s12021-010-9090-x

    The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is a commonly used model organism in biology. We are currently building a 3D digital atlas of the fruit fly larval nervous system (LNS) based on a large collection of fly larva GAL4 lines, each of which targets a subset of neurons. To achieve such a goal, we need to automatically align a number of high-resolution confocal image stacks of these GAL4 lines. One commonly employed strategy in image pattern registration is to first globally align images using an affine transform, followed by local non-linear warping. Unfortunately, the spatially articulated and often twisted LNS makes it difficult to globally align the images directly using the affine method. In a parallel project to build a 3D digital map of the adult fly ventral nerve cord (VNC), we are confronted with a similar problem.

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    Svoboda Lab
    04/07/10 | Structural plasticity underlies experience-dependent functional plasticity of cortical circuits.
    Wilbrecht L, Holtmaat A, Wright N, Fox K, Svoboda K
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Apr 7;30(14):4927-32. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6403-09.2010

    The stabilization of new spines in the barrel cortex is enhanced after whisker trimming, but its relationship to experience-dependent plasticity is unclear. Here we show that in wild-type mice, whisker potentiation and spine stabilization are most pronounced for layer 5 neurons at the border between spared and deprived barrel columns. In homozygote alphaCaMKII-T286A mice, which lack experience-dependent potentiation of responses to spared whiskers, there is no increase in new spine stabilization at the border between barrel columns after whisker trimming. Our data provide a causal link between new spine synapses and plasticity of adult cortical circuits and suggest that alphaCaMKII autophosphorylation plays a role in the stabilization but not formation of new spines.

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    Riddiford LabTruman Lab
    04/01/10 | A role for juvenile hormone in the prepupal development of Drosophila melanogaster.
    Riddiford LM, Truman JW, Mirth CK, Shen Y
    Development. 2010 Apr;137:1117-26. doi: 10.1242/dev.037218

    To elucidate the role of juvenile hormone (JH) in metamorphosis of Drosophila melanogaster, the corpora allata cells, which produce JH, were killed using the cell death gene grim. These allatectomized (CAX) larvae were smaller at pupariation and died at head eversion. They showed premature ecdysone receptor B1 (EcR-B1) in the photoreceptors and in the optic lobe, downregulation of proliferation in the optic lobe, and separation of R7 from R8 in the medulla during the prepupal period. All of these effects of allatectomy were reversed by feeding third instar larvae on a diet containing the JH mimic (JHM) pyriproxifen or by application of JH III or JHM at the onset of wandering. Eye and optic lobe development in the Methoprene-tolerant (Met)-null mutant mimicked that of CAX prepupae, but the mutant formed viable adults, which had marked abnormalities in the organization of their optic lobe neuropils. Feeding Met(27) larvae on the JHM diet did not rescue the premature EcR-B1 expression or the downregulation of proliferation but did partially rescue the premature separation of R7, suggesting that other pathways besides Met might be involved in mediating the response to JH. Selective expression of Met RNAi in the photoreceptors caused their premature expression of EcR-B1 and the separation of R7 and R8, but driving Met RNAi in lamina neurons led only to the precocious appearance of EcR-B1 in the lamina. Thus, the lack of JH and its receptor Met causes a heterochronic shift in the development of the visual system that is likely to result from some cells ’misinterpreting’ the ecdysteroid peaks that drive metamorphosis.

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    Simpson Lab
    04/01/10 | VAA3D enables real-time 3D visualization and quantitative analysis of large-scale biological image data sets.
    Peng H, Ruan Z, Long F, Simpson JH, Myers EW
    Nature Biotechnology. 2010 Apr;28:348-53. doi: 10.1038/nbt.1612

    The V3D system provides three-dimensional (3D) visualization of gigabyte-sized microscopy image stacks in real time on current laptops and desktops. V3D streamlines the online analysis, measurement and proofreading of complicated image patterns by combining ergonomic functions for selecting a location in an image directly in 3D space and for displaying biological measurements, such as from fluorescent probes, using the overlaid surface objects. V3D runs on all major computer platforms and can be enhanced by software plug-ins to address specific biological problems. To demonstrate this extensibility, we built a V3D-based application, V3D-Neuron, to reconstruct complex 3D neuronal structures from high-resolution brain images. V3D-Neuron can precisely digitize the morphology of a single neuron in a fruitfly brain in minutes, with about a 17-fold improvement in reliability and tenfold savings in time compared with other neuron reconstruction tools. Using V3D-Neuron, we demonstrate the feasibility of building a 3D digital atlas of neurite tracts in the fruitfly brain.

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