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1416 Publications

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    12/01/95 | Role of the morphogenetic furrow in establishing polarity in the Drosophila eye.
    Chanut F, Heberlein U
    Development. 1995 Dec;121(12):4085-94

    The Drosophila retina is a crystalline array of 800 ommatidia whose organization and assembly suggest polarization of the retinal epithelium along anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. The retina develops by a stepwise process following the posterior-to-anterior progression of the morphogenetic furrow across the eye disc. Ectopic expression of hedgehog or local removal of patched function generates ectopic furrows that can progress in any direction across the disc leaving in their wake differentiating fields of ectopic ommatidia. We have studied the effect of these ectopic furrows on the polarity of ommatidial assembly and rotation. We find that the anteroposterior asymmetry of ommatidial assembly parallels the progression of ectopic furrows, regardless of their direction. In addition, ommatidia developing behind ectopic furrows rotate coordinately, forming equators in various regions of the disc. Interestingly, the expression of a marker normally restricted to the equator is induced in ectopic ommatidial fields. Ectopic equators are stable as they persist to adulthood, where they can coexist with the normal equator. Our results suggest that ectopic furrows can impart polarity to the disc epithelium, regarding the direction of both assembly and rotation of ommatidia. We propose that these processes are polarized as a consequence of furrow propagation, while more global determinants of dorsoventral and anteroposterior polarity may act less directly by determining the site of furrow initiation.

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    Egnor Lab
    12/01/95 | The uncertain response in the bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).
    Smith JD, Schull J, Strote J, McGee K, Egnor R, Erb L
    Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1995 Dec;124(4):391-408

    Humans respond adaptively to uncertainty by escaping or seeking additional information. To foster a comparative study of uncertainty processes, we asked whether humans and a bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) would use similarly a psychophysical uncertain response. Human observers and the dolphin were given 2 primary discrimination responses and a way to escape chosen trials into easier ones. Humans escaped sparingly from the most difficult trials near threshold that left them demonstrably uncertain of the stimulus. The dolphin performed nearly identically. The behavior of both species is considered from the perspectives of signal detection theory and optimality theory, and its appropriate interpretation is discussed. Human and dolphin uncertain responses seem to be interesting cognitive analogs and may depend on cognitive or controlled decisional mechanisms. The capacity to monitor ongoing cognition, and use uncertainty appropriately, would be a valuable adaptation for animal minds. This recommends uncertainty processes as an important but neglected area for future comparative research.

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    Baker Lab

    In Drosophila dosage compensation increases the rate of transcription of the male's X chromosome and depends on four autosomal male-specific lethal genes. We have cloned the msl-2 gene and shown that MSL-2 protein is co-localized with the other three MSL proteins at hundreds of sites along the male polytene X chromosome and that this binding requires the other three MSL proteins. msl-2 encodes a protein with a putative DNA-binding domain: the RING finger. MSL-2 protein is not produced in females and sequences in both the 5' and 3' UTRs are important for this sex-specific regulation. Furthermore, msl-2 pre-mRNA is alternatively spliced in a Sex-lethal-dependent fashion in its 5' UTR.

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    07/01/95 | Toward simplifying and accurately formulating fragment assembly.
    Myers EW
    Journal of Computational Biology: A Journal of Computational Molecular Cell Biology. 1995 Summer;2(2):275-90

    The fragment assembly problem is that of reconstructing a DNA sequence from a collection of randomly sampled fragments. Traditionally, the objective of this problem has been to produce the shortest string that contains all the fragments as substrings, but in the case of repetitive target sequences this objective produces answers that are overcompressed. In this paper, the problem is reformulated as one of finding a maximum-likelihood reconstruction with respect to the two-sided Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic, and it is argued that this is a better formulation of the problem. Next the fragment assembly problem is recast in graph-theoretic terms as one of finding a noncyclic subgraph with certain properties and the objectives of being shortest or maximally likely are also recast in this framework. Finally, a series of graph reduction transformations are given that dramatically reduce the size of the graph to be explored in practical instances of the problem. This reduction is very important as the underlying problems are NP-hard. In practice, the transformed problems are so small that simple branch-and-bound algorithms successfully solve them, thus permitting auxiliary experimental information to be taken into account in the form of overlap, orientation, and distance constraints.

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    06/30/95 | Mechanisms of Drosophila retinal morphogenesis: the virtues of being progressive.
    Heberlein U, Moses K
    Cell. 1995 Jun 30;81(7):987-90
    06/16/95 | Yan functions as a general inhibitor of differentiation and is negatively regulated by activation of the Ras1/MAPK pathway.
    Rebay I, Rubin GM
    Cell. 1995 Jun 16;81(6):857-66. doi: 10.1186/gb-2007-8-7-r145

    Drosophila yan has been postulated to act as an antagonist of the proneural signal mediated by the sevenless/Ras1/MAPK pathway. We have mutagenized the eight MAPK phosphorylation consensus sites of yan and examined the effects of overexpressing the mutant protein in transgenic flies and transfected S2 cultured cells. Our results suggest that phosphorylation by MAPK affects the stability and subcellular localization of yan, resulting in rapid down-regulation of yan activity. Furthermore, MAPK-mediated down-regulation of yan function appears to be critical for the proper differentiation of both neuronal and nonneuronal tissues throughout development, suggesting that yan is an essential component of a general timing mechanism controlling the competence of a cell to respond to inductive signals.

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    06/05/95 | Probing dendritic function with patch pipettes.
    Stuart G, Spruston N
    Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1995 Jun;5(3):389-94

    Most neurons in the CNS have complex, branching dendritic trees, which receive the majority of all synaptic input. As it is difficult to make electrical recordings from dendrites because of their small size, most of what is known about their electrical properties has been inferred from recordings made at the soma. By taking advantage of the higher resolution offered by improved optics, it is now possible to make patch-pipette recordings from the dendrites of neurons in brain slices under visual control. This new technique promises to provide valuable new information concerning dendritic function.

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    05/26/95 | Addition of a 29 residue carboxyl-terminal tail converts a simple HMG box-containing protein into a transcriptional activator.
    Dairaghi DJ, Shadel GS, Clayton DA
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 1995 May 26;249(1):11-28. doi: 10.1101/gad.1352105

    Human mitochondrial transcription factor A (h-mtTFA) is essential for initiation of transcription from the two promoters located in the displacement-loop region of human mitochondrial DNA. This 25 kDa protein contains two tandem, HMG box DNA-binding domains separated by a 27 amino acid residue linker region and followed by a 25 residue carboxyl-terminal tail; both the linker and tail are rich in basic amino acid residues. Mutational analysis of h-mtTFA revealed that the tail region is important for specific DNA recognition and essential for transcriptional activation. The critical role of the human tail in transcription was confirmed by constructing chimeric proteins that exchanged similar regions between h-mtTFA and its Saccharomyces cerevisiae homolog, sc-mtTFA. Wild-type sc-mtTFA is unable to activate transcription from the human mitochondrial light-strand promoter (LSP). Addition of the human tail region to sc-mtTFA conferred LSP-specific promoter activation. In all of the different h-mtTFA mutations tested, transcriptional activation was correlated with specific DNA-binding activity, suggesting that these two functions may be inseparable, a situation entirely consistent with previous mutational analyses of human mitochondrial promoters.

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    04/22/95 | Phylogenetic evidence that aphids, rather than plants, determine gall morphology
    David L Stern
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences;260(1357):85-89. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1995.0063

    Many diverse taxa have evolved independently the habit of living in plant galls. For all but some viral galls, it is unknown whether plants produce galls as a specialized plant reaction to certain types of herbivory, or whether herbivores direct gall development. Here I present a phylogenetic analysis of gallforming cerataphidine aphids which demonstrates that gall morphology is extremely conservative with respect to aphid phylogeny, but variable with respect to plant taxonomy. In addition, the phylogeny reveals at least three host plant switches where the aphids produce galls most similar to the galls of their closest relatives, rather than galls similar to the galls of aphids already present on the host plant. These results suggest that aphids determine the details of gall morphology essentially extending their phenotype to include plant material. Based on this and other evidence, I suggest that the aphids and other galling insects manipulate latent plant developmental programmes to produce modified atavistic plant morphologies rather than create new forms de novo.

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    04/14/95 | Activity-dependent action potential invasion and calcium influx into hippocampal CA1 dendrites.
    Spruston N, Schiller Y, Stuart G, Sakmann B
    Science. 1995 Apr 14;268(5208):297-300

    The temporal and spatial profile of activity-evoked changes in membrane potential and intracellular calcium concentration in the dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons was examined with simultaneous somatic and dendritic patch-pipette recording and calcium imaging experiments. Action potentials are initiated close to the soma of these neurons and backpropagate into the dendrites in an activity-dependent manner; those occurring early in a train propagate actively, whereas those occurring later fail to actively invade the distal dendrites. Consistent with this finding, dendritic calcium transients evoked by single action potentials do not significantly attenuate with distance from the soma, whereas those evoked by trains attenuate substantially. Failure of action potential propagation into the distal dendrites often occurs at branch points. Consequently, neighboring regions of the dendritic tree can experience different voltage and calcium signals during repetitive action potential firing. The influence of backpropagating action potentials on synaptic integration and plasticity will therefore depend on both the extent of dendritic branching and the pattern of neuronal activity.

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