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2268 Publications

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    11/29/22 | From primordial clocks to circadian oscillators
    Warintra Pitsawong , Ricardo A. P. Pádua , Timothy Grant , Marc Hoemberger , Renee Otten , Niels Bradshaw , Nikolaus Grigorieff , Dorothee Kern
    bioRxiv. 2022 Nov 29:. doi: 10.1101/2022.11.28.518275

    Circadian rhythms play an essential role in many biological processes and surprisingly only three prokaryotic proteins are required to constitute a true post-translational circadian oscillator. The evolutionary history of the three Kai proteins indicates that KaiC is the oldest member and central component of the clock, with subsequent additions of KaiB and KaiA to regulate its phosphorylation state for time synchronization. The canonical KaiABC system in cyanobacteria is well understood, but little is known about more ancient systems that possess just KaiBC, except for reports that they might exhibit a basic, hourglass-like timekeeping mechanism. Here, we investigate the primordial circadian clock in Rhodobacter sphaeroides (RS) that contains only KaiBC to elucidate its inner workings despite the missing KaiA. Using a combination X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM we find a novel dodecameric fold for KaiCRS where two hexamers are held together by a coiled-coil bundle of 12 helices. This interaction is formed by the C-terminal extension of KaiCRS and serves as an ancient regulatory moiety later superseded by KaiA. A coiled-coil register shift between daytime- and nighttime-conformations is connected to the phosphorylation sites through a long-range allosteric network that spans over 160 Å. Our kinetic data identify the difference in ATP-to-ADP ratio between day and night as the environmental cue that drives the clock and further unravels mechanistic details that shed light on the evolution of self-sustained oscillators.

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    11/29/22 | Oligodendrocyte precursor cells ingest axons in the mouse neocortex.
    Buchanan J, Elabbady L, Collman F, Jorstad NL, Bakken TE, Ott C, Glatzer J, Bleckert AA, Bodor AL, Brittain D, Bumbarger DJ, Mahalingam G, Seshamani S, Schneider-Mizell C, Takeno MM, Torres R, Yin W, Hodge RD, Castro M, Dorkenwald S, Ih D, Jordan CS, Kemnitz N, Lee K, Lu R, Macrina T, Mu S, Popovych S, Silversmith WM, Tartavull I, Turner NL, Wilson AM, Wong W, Wu J, Zlateski A, Zung J, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Lein ES, Seung HS, Bergles DE, Reid RC, da Costa NM
    Proceedings of the National Academies of Science of the U.S.A.. 2022 Nov 29;119(48):e2202580119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2202580119

    Neurons in the developing brain undergo extensive structural refinement as nascent circuits adopt their mature form. This physical transformation of neurons is facilitated by the engulfment and degradation of axonal branches and synapses by surrounding glial cells, including microglia and astrocytes. However, the small size of phagocytic organelles and the complex, highly ramified morphology of glia have made it difficult to define the contribution of these and other glial cell types to this crucial process. Here, we used large-scale, serial section transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with computational volume segmentation to reconstruct the complete 3D morphologies of distinct glial types in the mouse visual cortex, providing unprecedented resolution of their morphology and composition. Unexpectedly, we discovered that the fine processes of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), a population of abundant, highly dynamic glial progenitors, frequently surrounded small branches of axons. Numerous phagosomes and phagolysosomes (PLs) containing fragments of axons and vesicular structures were present inside their processes, suggesting that OPCs engage in axon pruning. Single-nucleus RNA sequencing from the developing mouse cortex revealed that OPCs express key phagocytic genes at this stage, as well as neuronal transcripts, consistent with active axon engulfment. Although microglia are thought to be responsible for the majority of synaptic pruning and structural refinement, PLs were ten times more abundant in OPCs than in microglia at this stage, and these structures were markedly less abundant in newly generated oligodendrocytes, suggesting that OPCs contribute substantially to the refinement of neuronal circuits during cortical development.

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    11/25/22 | SMP30-mediated synthesis of vitamin C activates the liver PPARα/FGF21 axis to regulate thermogenesis in mice.
    Lee B, An HJ, Kim DH, Lee M, Jeong HH, Chung KW, Go Y, Seo AY, Kim IY, Seong JK, Yu BP, Lee J, Im E, Lee I, Lee M, Yamada K, Chung HY
    Experimental and Molecular Medicine. 2022 Nov 25;54(11):2036-2046. doi: 10.1038/s12276-022-00888-9

    The vitamin-C-synthesizing enzyme senescent marker protein 30 (SMP30) is a cold resistance gene in Drosophila, and vitamin C concentration increases in brown adipose tissue post-cold exposure. However, the roles of SMP30 in thermogenesis are unknown. Here, we tested the molecular mechanism of thermogenesis using wild-type (WT) and vitamin C-deficient SMP30-knockout (KO) mice. SMP30-KO mice gained more weight than WT mice without a change in food intake in response to short-term high-fat diet feeding. Indirect calorimetry and cold-challenge experiments indicated that energy expenditure is lower in SMP30-KO mice, which is associated with decreased thermogenesis in adipose tissues. Therefore, SMP30-KO mice do not lose weight during cold exposure, whereas WT mice lose weight markedly. Mechanistically, the levels of serum FGF21 were notably lower in SMP30-KO mice, and vitamin C supplementation in SMP30-KO mice recovered FGF21 expression and thermogenesis, with a marked reduction in body weight during cold exposure. Further experiments revealed that vitamin C activates PPARα to upregulate FGF21. Our findings demonstrate that SMP30-mediated synthesis of vitamin C activates the PPARα/FGF21 axis, contributing to the maintenance of thermogenesis in mice.

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    Looger Lab
    11/24/22 | Ketamine triggers a switch in excitatory neuronal activity across neocortex.
    Cichon J, Wasilczuk AZ, Looger LL, Contreras D, Kelz MB, Proekt A
    Nature Neuroscience. 2022 Nov 24:. doi: 10.1038/s41593-022-01203-5

    The brain can become transiently disconnected from the environment while maintaining vivid, internally generated experiences. This so-called 'dissociated state' can occur in pathological conditions and under the influence of psychedelics or the anesthetic ketamine (KET). The cellular and circuit mechanisms producing the dissociative state remain poorly understood. We show in mice that KET causes spontaneously active neurons to become suppressed while previously silent neurons become spontaneously activated. This switch occurs in all cortical layers and different cortical regions, is induced by both systemic and cortical application of KET and is mediated by suppression of parvalbumin and somatostatin interneuron activity and inhibition of NMDA receptors and HCN channels. Combined, our results reveal two largely non-overlapping cortical neuronal populations-one engaged in wakefulness, the other contributing to the KET-induced brain state-and may lay the foundation for understanding how the brain might become disconnected from the surrounding environment while maintaining internal subjective experiences.

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    11/23/22 | The 3D ultrastructure of the chordotonal organs in the antenna of a microwasp remains complex although simplified.
    Diakova AV, Makarova AA, Pang S, Xu CS, Hess H, Polilov AA
    Scientific Reports. 2022 Nov 23;12(1):20172. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-24390-4

    Insect antennae are astonishingly versatile and have multiple sensory modalities. Audition, detection of airflow, and graviception are combined in the antennal chordotonal organs. The miniaturization of these complex multisensory organs has never been investigated. Here we present a comprehensive study of the structure and scaling of the antennal chordotonal organs of the extremely miniaturized parasitoid wasp Megaphragma viggianii based on 3D electron microscopy. Johnston's organ of M. viggianii consists of 19 amphinematic scolopidia (95 cells); the central organ consists of five scolopidia (20 cells). Plesiomorphic composition includes one accessory cell per scolopidium, but in M. viggianii this ratio is only 0.3. Scolopale rods in Johnston's organ have a unique structure. Allometric analyses demonstrate the effects of scaling on the antennal chordotonal organs in insects. Our results not only shed light on the universal principles of miniaturization of sense organs, but also provide context for future interpretation of the M. viggianii connectome.

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    Looger Lab
    11/20/22 | Fluorescence Screens for Identifying Central Nervous System-Acting Drug-Biosensor Pairs for Subcellular and Supracellular Pharmacokinetics.
    Beatty ZG, Muthusamy AK, Unger EK, Dougherty DA, Tian L, Looger LL, Shivange AV, Bera K, Lester HA, Nichols AL
    Bio-Protocol. 2022 Nov 20;12(22):. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4551

    Subcellular pharmacokinetic measurements have informed the study of central nervous system (CNS)-acting drug mechanisms. Recent investigations have been enhanced by the use of genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors for drugs of interest at the plasma membrane and in organelles. We describe screening and validation protocols for identifying hit pairs comprising a drug and biosensor, with each screen including 13-18 candidate biosensors and 44-84 candidate drugs. After a favorable hit pair is identified and validated via these protocols, the biosensor is then optimized, as described in other papers, for sensitivity and selectivity to the drug. We also show sample hit pair data that may lead to future intensity-based drug-sensing fluorescent reporters (iDrugSnFRs). These protocols will assist scientists to use fluorescence responses as criteria in identifying favorable fluorescent biosensor variants for CNS-acting drugs that presently have no corresponding biosensor partner. eLife (2022), DOI: 10.7554/eLife.74648 Graphical abstract.

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    11/18/22 | TEMPO enables sequential genetic labeling and manipulation of vertebrate cell lineages.
    Espinosa-Medina I, Feliciano D, Belmonte-Mateos C, Linda Miyares R, Garcia-Marques J, Foster B, Lindo S, Pujades C, Koyama M, Lee T
    Neuron. 2022 Nov 18:. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.10.035

    During development, regulatory factors appear in a precise order to determine cell fates over time. Consequently, to investigate complex tissue development, it is necessary to visualize and manipulate cell lineages with temporal control. Current strategies for tracing vertebrate cell lineages lack genetic access to sequentially produced cells. Here, we present TEMPO (Temporal Encoding and Manipulation in a Predefined Order), an imaging-readable genetic tool allowing differential labeling and manipulation of consecutive cell generations in vertebrates. TEMPO is based on CRISPR and powered by a cascade of gRNAs that drive orderly activation and inactivation of reporters and/or effectors. Using TEMPO to visualize zebrafish and mouse neurogenesis, we recapitulated birth-order-dependent neuronal fates. Temporally manipulating cell-cycle regulators in mouse cortex progenitors altered the proportion and distribution of neurons and glia, revealing the effects of temporal gene perturbation on serial cell fates. Thus, TEMPO enables sequential manipulation of molecular factors, crucial to study cell-type specification.

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    11/27/22 | ACC neural ensemble dynamics are structured by strategy prevalence
    Mikhail Proskurin , Maxim Manakov , Alla Y. Karpova
    bioRxiv. 2022 Nov 17:. doi: 10.1101/2022.11.17.516909

    Medial frontal cortical areas are thought to play a critical role in the brain's ability to flexibly deploy strategies that are effective in complex settings. Still, the specific circuit computations that underpin this foundational aspect of intelligence remain unclear. Here, by examining neural ensemble activity in rats that sample different strategies in a self-guided search for latent task structure, we demonstrate a robust tracking of individual strategy prevalence in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), especially in an area homologous to primate area 32D. Prevalence encoding in the ACC is wide-scale, independent of reward delivery, and persists through a substantial ensemble reorganization that tags ACC representations with contextual content. Our findings argue that ACC ensemble dynamics is structured by a summary statistic of recent behavioral choices, raising the possibility that ACC plays a role in estimating - through statistical learning - which actions promote the occurrence of events in the environment.

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    11/17/22 | RS-FISH: Precise, interactive, fast, and scalable FISH spot detection
    Ella Bahry , Laura Breimann , Marwan Zouinkhi , Leo Epstein , Klim Kolyvanov , Xi Long , Kyle I S Harrington , Timothée Lionnet , Stephan Preibisch
    Nature Methods. 2022 Nov 17:. doi: 10.1038/s41592-022-01669-y

    Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH)-based methods are powerful tools to study molecular processes with subcellular resolution, relying on accurate identification and localization of diffraction-limited spots in microscopy images. We developed the Radial Symmetry-FISH (RS-FISH) software that accurately, robustly, and quickly detects single-molecule spots in two and three dimensions, making it applicable to several key assays, including single-molecule FISH (smFISH), spatial transcriptomics, and spatial genomics. RS-FISH allows interactive parameter tuning and scales to large sets of images as well as tera-byte sized image volumes such as entire brain scans using straight-forward distributed processing on workstations, clusters, and in the cloud.

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    11/15/22 | Channel-independent function of UNC-9/Innexin in spatial arrangement of GABAergic synapses in .
    Hendi A, Niu L, Snow AW, Ikegami R, Wang Z, Mizumoto K
    eLife. 2022 Nov 15;11:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.80555

    Precise synaptic connection of neurons with their targets is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. A plethora of signaling pathways act in concert to mediate the precise spatial arrangement of synaptic connections. Here we show a novel role for a gap junction protein in controlling tiled synaptic arrangement in the GABAergic motor neurons in , in which their axons and synapses overlap minimally with their neighboring neurons within the same class. We found that while EGL-20/Wnt controls axonal tiling, their presynaptic tiling is mediated by a gap junction protein UNC-9/Innexin, that is localized at the presynaptic tiling border between neighboring dorsal D-type GABAergic motor neurons. Strikingly, the gap junction channel activity of UNC-9 is dispensable for its function in controlling tiled presynaptic patterning. While gap junctions are crucial for the proper functioning of the nervous system as channels, our finding uncovered the novel channel-independent role of UNC-9 in synapse patterning.

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