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2496 Publications

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    03/20/24 | Interactive simulation and visualization of point spread functions in single molecule imaging.
    Magdalena C. Schneider , Fabian Hinterer , Alexander Jesacher , Gerhard J. Schütz
    Optics Communications. 2024 Mar 20:. doi: 10.1016/j.optcom.2024.130463

    The point spread function (PSF) is fundamental to any type of microscopy, most importantly so for single-molecule localization techniques, where the exact PSF shape is crucial for precise molecule localization at the nanoscale. Optical aberrations and fixed fluorophore dipoles often result in non-isotropic and distorted PSFs, impairing and biasing conventional fitting approaches. Further, PSF shapes are deliberately modified in PSF engineering approaches for providing improved sensitivity, e.g., for 3D localization or determination of dipole orientation. As this can lead to highly complex PSF shapes, a tool for visualizing expected PSFs would facilitate the interpretation of obtained data and the design of experimental approaches. To this end, we introduce a comprehensive and accessible computer application that allows for the simulation of realistic PSFs based on the full vectorial PSF model. Our tool incorporates a wide range of microscope and fluorophore parameters, including orientationally constrained fluorophores, as well as custom aberrations, transmission and phase masks, thus enabling an accurate representation of various imaging conditions. An additional feature is the simulation of crowded molecular environments with overlapping PSFs. Further, our app directly provides the Cramér–Rao bound for assessing the best achievable localization precision under given conditions. Finally, our software allows for the fitting of custom aberrations directly from experimental data, as well as the generation of a large dataset with randomized simulation parameters, effectively bridging the gap between simulated and experimental scenarios, and enhancing experimental design and result validation.

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    03/20/24 | Motor neurons generate pose-targeted movements via proprioceptive sculpting.
    Gorko B, Siwanowicz I, Close K, Christoforou C, Hibbard KL, Kabra M, Lee A, Park J, Li SY, Chen AB, Namiki S, Chen C, Tuthill JC, Bock DD, Rouault H, Branson K, Ihrke G, Huston SJ
    Nature. 2024 Mar 20:. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07222-5

    Motor neurons are the final common pathway through which the brain controls movement of the body, forming the basic elements from which all movement is composed. Yet how a single motor neuron contributes to control during natural movement remains unclear. Here we anatomically and functionally characterize the individual roles of the motor neurons that control head movement in the fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Counterintuitively, we find that activity in a single motor neuron rotates the head in different directions, depending on the starting posture of the head, such that the head converges towards a pose determined by the identity of the stimulated motor neuron. A feedback model predicts that this convergent behaviour results from motor neuron drive interacting with proprioceptive feedback. We identify and genetically suppress a single class of proprioceptive neuron that changes the motor neuron-induced convergence as predicted by the feedback model. These data suggest a framework for how the brain controls movements: instead of directly generating movement in a given direction by activating a fixed set of motor neurons, the brain controls movements by adding bias to a continuing proprioceptive-motor loop.

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    03/06/24 | Cell division machinery drives cell-specific gene activation during differentiation in .
    Chareyre S, Li X, Anjuwon-Foster BR, Updegrove TB, Clifford S, Brogan AP, Su Y, Zhang L, Chen J, Shroff H, Ramamurthi KS
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 Mar 6;121(13):e2400584121. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2400584121

    When faced with starvation, the bacterium transforms itself into a dormant cell type called a "spore". Sporulation initiates with an asymmetric division event, which requires the relocation of the core divisome components FtsA and FtsZ, after which the sigma factor σ is exclusively activated in the smaller daughter cell. Compartment-specific activation of σ requires the SpoIIE phosphatase, which displays a biased localization on one side of the asymmetric division septum and associates with the structural protein DivIVA, but the mechanism by which this preferential localization is achieved is unclear. Here, we isolated a variant of DivIVA that indiscriminately activates σ in both daughter cells due to promiscuous localization of SpoIIE, which was corrected by overproduction of FtsA and FtsZ. We propose that the core components of the redeployed cell division machinery drive the asymmetric localization of DivIVA and SpoIIE to trigger the initiation of the sporulation program.

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    03/15/24 | Social state gates vision using three circuit mechanisms in Drosophila
    Catherine E. Schretter , Tom Hindmarsh Sten , Nathan Klapoetke , Mei Shao , Aljoscha Nern , Marisa Dreher , Daniel Bushey , Alice A. Robie , Adam L. Taylor , Kristin M. Branson , Adriane Otopalik , Vanessa Ruta , Gerald M. Rubin
    bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 15:. doi: 10.1101/2024.03.15.585289

    Animals are often bombarded with visual information and must prioritize specific visual features based on their current needs. The neuronal circuits that detect and relay visual features have been well-studied. Yet, much less is known about how an animal adjusts its visual attention as its goals or environmental conditions change. During social behaviors, flies need to focus on nearby flies. Here, we study how the flow of visual information is altered when female Drosophila enter an aggressive state. From the connectome, we identified three state-dependent circuit motifs poised to selectively amplify the response of an aggressive female to fly-sized visual objects: convergence of excitatory inputs from neurons conveying select visual features and internal state; dendritic disinhibition of select visual feature detectors; and a switch that toggles between two visual feature detectors. Using cell-type-specific genetic tools, together with behavioral and neurophysiological analyses, we show that each of these circuit motifs function during female aggression. We reveal that features of this same switch operate in males during courtship pursuit, suggesting that disparate social behaviors may share circuit mechanisms. Our work provides a compelling example of using the connectome to infer circuit mechanisms that underlie dynamic processing of sensory signals.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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    03/18/24 | Dynamic 1D Search and Processive Nucleosome Translocations by RSC and ISW2 Chromatin Remodelers
    Jee Min Kim , Claudia C. Carcamo , Sina Jazani , Zepei Xie , Xinyu A. Feng , Matthew Poyton , Katie L. Holland , Jonathan B. Grimm , Luke D. Lavis , Taekjip Ha , Carl Wu
    eLife. 2024 Mar 18:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.91433

    Eukaryotic gene expression is linked to chromatin structure and nucleosome positioning by ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers that establish and maintain nucleosome-depleted regions (NDRs) near transcription start sites. Conserved yeast RSC and ISW2 remodelers exert antagonistic effects on nucleosomes flanking NDRs, but the temporal dynamics of remodeler search, engagement, and directional nucleosome mobilization for promoter accessibility are unknown. Using optical tweezers and two-color single-particle imaging, we investigated the Brownian diffusion of RSC and ISW2 on free DNA and sparse nucleosome arrays. RSC and ISW2 rapidly scan DNA by one-dimensional hopping and sliding, respectively, with dynamic collisions between remodelers followed by recoil or apparent co-diffusion. Static nucleosomes block remodeler diffusion resulting in remodeler recoil or sequestration. Remarkably, both RSC and ISW2 use ATP hydrolysis to translocate mono-nucleosomes processively at ~30 bp/s on extended linear DNA under tension. Processivity and opposing push-pull directionalities of nucleosome translocation shown by RSC and ISW2 shape the distinctive landscape of promoter chromatin.

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    03/13/24 | Carbon Nanomaterial Fluorescent Probes and Their Biological Applications
    Krasley AT, Li E, Galeana JM, Bulumulla C, Beyene AG, Demirer GS
    Chemical Reviews. 2024 Mar 13:. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.3c00581

    Fluorescent carbon nanomaterials have broadly useful chemical and photophysical attributes that are conducive to applications in biology. In this review, we focus on materials whose photophysics allow for the use of these materials in biomedical and environmental applications, with emphasis on imaging, biosensing, and cargo delivery. The review focuses primarily on graphitic carbon nanomaterials including graphene and its derivatives, carbon nanotubes, as well as carbon dots and carbon nanohoops. Recent advances in and future prospects of these fields are discussed at depth, and where appropriate, references to reviews pertaining to older literature are provided.

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    03/15/24 | NeuronBridge: an intuitive web application for neuronal morphology search across large data sets
    Jody Clements , Cristian Goina , Philip M. Hubbard , Takashi Kawase , Donald J. Olbris , Hideo Otsuna , Robert Svirskas , Konrad Rokicki
    BMC Bioinformatics. 2024 Mar 15;25:114. doi: 10.1186/s12859-024-05732-7


    Neuroscience research in Drosophila is benefiting from large-scale connectomics efforts using electron microscopy (EM) to reveal all the neurons in a brain and their connections. To exploit this knowledge base, researchers relate a connectome’s structure to neuronal function, often by studying individual neuron cell types. Vast libraries of fly driver lines expressing fluorescent reporter genes in sets of neurons have been created and imaged using confocal light microscopy (LM), enabling the targeting of neurons for experimentation. However, creating a fly line for driving gene expression within a single neuron found in an EM connectome remains a challenge, as it typically requires identifying a pair of driver lines where only the neuron of interest is expressed in both. This task and other emerging scientific workflows require finding similar neurons across large data sets imaged using different modalities.


    Here, we present NeuronBridge, a web application for easily and rapidly finding putative morphological matches between large data sets of neurons imaged using different modalities. We describe the functionality and construction of the NeuronBridge service, including its user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), extensible data model, serverless cloud architecture, and massively parallel image search engine.


    NeuronBridge fills a critical gap in the Drosophila research workflow and is used by hundreds of neuroscience researchers around the world. We offer our software code, open APIs, and processed data sets for integration and reuse, and provide the application as a service at

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    03/14/24 | Whole-body simulation of realistic fruit fly locomotion with deep reinforcement learning
    Roman Vaxenburg , Igor Siwanowicz , Josh Merel , Alice A Robie , Carmen Morrow , Guido Novati , Zinovia Stefanidi , Gwyneth M Card , Michael B Reiser , Matthew M Botvinick , Kristin M Branson , Yuval Tassa , Srinivas C Turaga
    bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 14:. doi: 10.1101/2024.03.11.584515

    The body of an animal determines how the nervous system produces behavior. Therefore, detailed modeling of the neural control of sensorimotor behavior requires a detailed model of the body. Here we contribute an anatomically-detailed biomechanical whole-body model of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster in the MuJoCo physics engine. Our model is general-purpose, enabling the simulation of diverse fly behaviors, both on land and in the air. We demonstrate the generality of our model by simulating realistic locomotion, both flight and walking. To support these behaviors, we have extended MuJoCo with phenomenological models of fluid forces and adhesion forces. Through data-driven end-to-end reinforcement learning, we demonstrate that these advances enable the training of neural network controllers capable of realistic locomotion along complex trajectories based on high-level steering control signals. With a visually guided flight task, we demonstrate a neural controller that can use the vision sensors of the body model to control and steer flight. Our project is an open-source platform for modeling neural control of sensorimotor behavior in an embodied context.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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    05/19/24 | Analysis of meiotic recombination in Drosophila simulans shows heterozygous inversions do not cause an interchromosomal effect
    Bowen Man , Elizabeth Kim , Alekhya Vadlakonda , David L Stern , Nicole Crown
    Genetics. 2024 May 19:. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyae084

    Chromosome inversions are of unique importance in the evolution of genomes and species because when heterozygous with a standard arrangement chromosome, they suppress meiotic crossovers within the inversion. In Drosophila species, heterozygous inversions also cause the interchromosomal effect, whereby the presence of a heterozygous inversion induces a dramatic increase in crossover frequencies in the remainder of the genome within a single meiosis. To date, the interchromosomal effect has been studied exclusively in species that also have high frequencies of inversions in wild populations. We took advantage of a recently developed approach for generating inversions in Drosophila simulans, a species that does not have inversions in wild populations, to ask if there is an interchromosomal effect. We used the existing chromosome 3R balancer and generated a new chromosome 2L balancer to assay for the interchromosomal effect genetically and cytologically. We found no evidence of an interchromosomal effect in D. simulans. To gain insight into the underlying mechanistic reasons, we qualitatively analyzed the relationship between meiotic double-strand break formation and synaptonemal complex assembly. We find that the synaptonemal complex is assembled prior to double-strand break formation as in D. melanogaster; however, we show that the synaptonemal complex is assembled prior to localization of the oocyte determination factor Orb, whereas in D. melanogaster, synaptonemal complex formation does not begin until Orb is localized. Together, our data show heterozygous inversions in D. simulans do not induce an interchromosomal effect and that there are differences in the developmental programming of the early stages of meiosis.

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    03/12/24 | Coordinated head direction representations in mouse anterodorsal thalamic nucleus and retrosplenial cortex.
    van der Goes MH, Voigts J, Newman JP, Toloza EH, Brown NJ, Murugan P, Harnett MT
    Elife. 2024 Mar 12;13:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.82952

    The sense of direction is critical for survival in changing environments and relies on flexibly integrating self-motion signals with external sensory cues. While the anatomical substrates involved in head direction (HD) coding are well known, the mechanisms by which visual information updates HD representations remain poorly understood. Retrosplenial cortex (RSC) plays a key role in forming coherent representations of space in mammals and it encodes a variety of navigational variables, including HD. Here, we use simultaneous two-area tetrode recording to show that RSC HD representation is nearly synchronous with that of the anterodorsal nucleus of thalamus (ADn), the obligatory thalamic relay of HD to cortex, during rotation of a prominent visual cue. Moreover, coordination of HD representations in the two regions is maintained during darkness. We further show that anatomical and functional connectivity are consistent with a strong feedforward drive of HD information from ADn to RSC, with anatomically restricted corticothalamic feedback. Together, our results indicate a concerted global HD reference update across cortex and thalamus.

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