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33 Publications

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    Ji LabGENIE
    07/29/15 | Neuronal representation of ultraviolet visual stimuli in mouse primary visual cortex.
    Tan Z, Sun W, Chen T, Kim D, Ji N
    Scientific Reports. 2015 Jul 29;5:12597. doi: 10.1038/srep12597

    The mouse has become an important model for understanding the neural basis of visual perception. Although it has long been known that mouse lens transmits ultraviolet (UV) light and mouse opsins have absorption in the UV band, little is known about how UV visual information is processed in the mouse brain. Using a custom UV stimulation system and in vivo calcium imaging, we characterized the feature selectivity of layer 2/3 neurons in mouse primary visual cortex (V1). In adult mice, a comparable percentage of the neuronal population responds to UV and visible stimuli, with similar pattern selectivity and receptive field properties. In young mice, the orientation selectivity for UV stimuli increased steadily during development, but not direction selectivity. Our results suggest that, by expanding the spectral window through which the mouse can acquire visual information, UV sensitivity provides an important component for mouse vision.

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    03/05/15 | New insights and system designs for temporally focused multiphoton optogenetics.
    Mayblum T, Schejter A, Dana H, Shoham S
    Proceedings of SPIE. 2015 Mar 5;9329:932928. doi: 10.1117/12.2078678

    Temporal focusing (TF) multiphoton systems constitute a powerful solution for cellular resolution optogenetic stimulation and recording in three-dimensional, scattering tissue. Here, we address two fundamental aspects in the design of such systems: first, we examine the design of TF systems with specific optical sectioning by comparatively analyzing previously published results. Next, we develop a solution for obtaining TF in a flexible three-dimensional pattern of cellmatched focal spots. Our solution employs spatio-temporal focusing (SSTF) in a unique optical system design that can be integrated before essentially any multiphoton imaging or stimulation system.

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    02/13/15 | Labeling of active neural circuits in vivo with designed calcium integrators.
    Fosque BF, Sun Y, Dana H, Yang C, Ohyama T, Tadross MR, Patel R, Zlatic M, Kim DS, Ahrens MB, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Schreiter ER
    Science. 2015 Feb 13;347(6223):755-60. doi: 10.1126/science.1260922

    The identification of active neurons and circuits in vivo is a fundamental challenge in understanding the neural basis of behavior. Genetically encoded calcium (Ca(2+)) indicators (GECIs) enable quantitative monitoring of cellular-resolution activity during behavior. However, such indicators require online monitoring within a limited field of view. Alternatively, post hoc staining of immediate early genes (IEGs) indicates highly active cells within the entire brain, albeit with poor temporal resolution. We designed a fluorescent sensor, CaMPARI, that combines the genetic targetability and quantitative link to neural activity of GECIs with the permanent, large-scale labeling of IEGs, allowing a temporally precise "activity snapshot" of a large tissue volume. CaMPARI undergoes efficient and irreversible green-to-red conversion only when elevated intracellular Ca(2+) and experimenter-controlled illumination coincide. We demonstrate the utility of CaMPARI in freely moving larvae of zebrafish and flies, and in head-fixed mice and adult flies.

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    Looger LabSvoboda LabGENIE
    01/01/14 | Thy1 - GCaMP6 transgenic mice for neuronal population imaging in vivo.
    Dana H, Chen T, Hu A, Shields BC, Cui G, Looger L, Kim DS, Svoboda K
    PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e108697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108697

    Genetically-encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) facilitate imaging activity of genetically defined neuronal populations in vivo. The high intracellular GECI concentrations required for in vivo imaging are usually achieved by viral gene transfer using adeno-associated viruses. Transgenic expression of GECIs promises important advantages, including homogeneous, repeatable, and stable expression without the need for invasive virus injections. Here we present the generation and characterization of transgenic mice expressing the GECIs GCaMP6s or GCaMP6f under the Thy1 promoter. We quantified GCaMP6 expression across brain regions and neurons and compared to other transgenic mice and AAV-mediated expression. We tested three mouse lines for imaging in the visual cortex in vivo and compared their performance to mice injected with AAV expressing GCaMP6. Furthermore, we show that GCaMP6 Thy1 transgenic mice are useful for long-term, high-sensitivity imaging in behaving mice.

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    Ji LabGENIE
    08/17/14 | Multiplexed aberration measurement for deep tissue imaging in vivo.
    Wang C, Liu R, Milkie DE, Sun W, Tan Z, Kerlin A, Chen T, Kim DS, Ji N
    Nature Methods. 2014 Aug 17:. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3068

    We describe an adaptive optics method that modulates the intensity or phase of light rays at multiple pupil segments in parallel to determine the sample-induced aberration. Applicable to fluorescent protein-labeled structures of arbitrary complexity, it allowed us to obtain diffraction-limited resolution in various samples in vivo. For the strongly scattering mouse brain, a single aberration correction improved structural and functional imaging of fine neuronal processes over a large imaging volume.

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    02/01/14 | Optimized ratiometric calcium sensors for functional in vivo imaging of neurons and T lymphocytes.
    Thestrup T, Litzlbauer J, Bartholomäus I, Mues M, Russo L, Dana H, Kovalchuk Y, Liang Y, Kalamakis G, Laukat Y, Becker S, Witte G, Geiger A, Allen T, Rome LC, Chen T, Kim DS, Garaschuk O, Griesinger C, Griesbeck O
    Nature Methods. 2014 Feb;11(2):175-82. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2773

    The quality of genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) has improved dramatically in recent years, but high-performing ratiometric indicators are still rare. Here we describe a series of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based calcium biosensors with a reduced number of calcium binding sites per sensor. These ’Twitch’ sensors are based on the C-terminal domain of Opsanus troponin C. Their FRET responses were optimized by a large-scale functional screen in bacterial colonies, refined by a secondary screen in rat hippocampal neuron cultures. We tested the in vivo performance of the most sensitive variants in the brain and lymph nodes of mice. The sensitivity of the Twitch sensors matched that of synthetic calcium dyes and allowed visualization of tonic action potential firing in neurons and high resolution functional tracking of T lymphocytes. Given their ratiometric readout, their brightness, large dynamic range and linear response properties, Twitch sensors represent versatile tools for neuroscience and immunology.

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    10/14/13 | A neuron-based screening platform for optimizing genetically-encoded calcium indicators.
    Wardill TJ, Chen T, Schreiter ER, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Fosque BF, Behnam R, Shields BC, Ramirez M, Kimmel BE, Kerr RA, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    PLoS One. 2013;8:e77728. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077728

    Fluorescent protein-based sensors for detecting neuronal activity have been developed largely based on non-neuronal screening systems. However, the dynamics of neuronal state variables (e.g., voltage, calcium, etc.) are typically very rapid compared to those of non-excitable cells. We developed an electrical stimulation and fluorescence imaging platform based on dissociated rat primary neuronal cultures. We describe its use in testing genetically-encoded calcium indicators (GECIs). Efficient neuronal GECI expression was achieved using lentiviruses containing a neuronal-selective gene promoter. Action potentials (APs) and thus neuronal calcium levels were quantitatively controlled by electrical field stimulation, and fluorescence images were recorded. Images were segmented to extract fluorescence signals corresponding to individual GECI-expressing neurons, which improved sensitivity over full-field measurements. We demonstrate the superiority of screening GECIs in neurons compared with solution measurements. Neuronal screening was useful for efficient identification of variants with both improved response kinetics and high signal amplitudes. This platform can be used to screen many types of sensors with cellular resolution under realistic conditions where neuronal state variables are in relevant ranges with respect to timing and amplitude.

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    10/01/13 | Structure of fully liganded Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) trapped in a tense conformation.
    Safo MK, Ko TP, Abdulmalik O, He ZN, Wang AH, Schreiter ER, Russell JE
    Acta Crystallographica Section D:Biological Crystallography. 2013 Oct;69(Pt 10):2061-71. doi: 10.1107/S0907444913019197

    A variant Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) that is formed from sickle hemoglobin (Hb S; alpha(2)beta(s)(2)) by exchanging adult alpha-globin with embryonic zeta-globin subunits shows promise as a therapeutic agent for sickle-cell disease (SCD). Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) inhibits the polymerization of deoxygenated Hb S in vitro and reverses characteristic features of SCD in vivo in mouse models of the disorder. When compared with either Hb S or with normal human adult Hb A (alpha(2)beta(2)), Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) exhibits atypical properties that include a high oxygen affinity, reduced cooperativity, a weak Bohr effect and blunted 2,3-diphosphoglycerate allostery. Here, the 1.95 angstrom resolution crystal structure of human Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) that was expressed in complex transgenic knockout mice and purified from their erythrocytes is presented. When fully liganded with carbon monoxide, Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) displays a central water cavity, a zeta 1-beta(s)2 (or zeta 2-beta(s)1) interface, intersubunit salt-bridge/hydrogen-bond interactions, C-terminal beta His146 salt-bridge interactions, and a beta-cleft, that are highly unusual for a relaxed hemoglobin structure and are more typical of a tense conformation. These quaternary tense-like features contrast with the tertiary relaxed-like conformations of the zeta 1-beta(s1) dimer and the CD and FG corners, as well as the overall structures of the heme cavities. This crystallographic study provides insights into the altered oxygen-transport properties of Hb zeta(2)beta(s)(2) and, moreover, decouples tertiary- and quaternary-structural events that are critical to Hb ligand binding and allosteric function.

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    Jayaraman LabLooger LabSvoboda LabSchreiter LabGENIE
    07/18/13 | Ultrasensitive fluorescent proteins for imaging neuronal activity.
    Chen T, Wardill TJ, Sun Y, Pulvar SR, Renninger SL, Baohan A, Schreiter ER, Kerr RA, Orger MB, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    Nature. 2013 Jul 18;499:295-300. doi: 10.1038/nature12354

    Fluorescent calcium sensors are widely used to image neural activity. Using structure-based mutagenesis and neuron-based screening, we developed a family of ultrasensitive protein calcium sensors (GCaMP6) that outperformed other sensors in cultured neurons and in zebrafish, flies and mice in vivo. In layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons of the mouse visual cortex, GCaMP6 reliably detected single action potentials in neuronal somata and orientation-tuned synaptic calcium transients in individual dendritic spines. The orientation tuning of structurally persistent spines was largely stable over timescales of weeks. Orientation tuning averaged across spine populations predicted the tuning of their parent cell. Although the somata of GABAergic neurons showed little orientation tuning, their dendrites included highly tuned dendritic segments (5–40-µm long). GCaMP6 sensors thus provide new windows into the organization and dynamics of neural circuits over multiple spatial and temporal scales.

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    03/04/13 | Genetically encoded calcium indicators for multi-color neural activity imaging and combination with optogenetics.
    Akerboom J, Carreras Calderón N, Tian L, Wabnig S, Prigge M, Tolö J, Gordus A, Orger MB, Severi KE, Macklin JJ, Patel R, Pulver SR, Wardill TJ, Fischer E, Schüler C, Chen T, Sarkisyan KS, Marvin JS, Bargmann CI, Kim DS, Kügler S, Lagnado L, Hegemann P, Gottschalk A, Schreiter ER, Looger LL
    Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 2013 Mar 4;6:2. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2013.00002

    Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are powerful tools for systems neuroscience. Here we describe red, single-wavelength GECIs, "RCaMPs," engineered from circular permutation of the thermostable red fluorescent protein mRuby. High-resolution crystal structures of mRuby, the red sensor RCaMP, and the recently published red GECI R-GECO1 give insight into the chromophore environments of the Ca(2+)-bound state of the sensors and the engineered protein domain interfaces of the different indicators. We characterized the biophysical properties and performance of RCaMP sensors in vitro and in vivo in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila larvae, and larval zebrafish. Further, we demonstrate 2-color calcium imaging both within the same cell (registering mitochondrial and somatic [Ca(2+)]) and between two populations of cells: neurons and astrocytes. Finally, we perform integrated optogenetics experiments, wherein neural activation via channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or a red-shifted variant, and activity imaging via RCaMP or GCaMP, are conducted simultaneously, with the ChR2/RCaMP pair providing independently addressable spectral channels. Using this paradigm, we measure calcium responses of naturalistic and ChR2-evoked muscle contractions in vivo in crawling C. elegans. We systematically compare the RCaMP sensors to R-GECO1, in terms of action potential-evoked fluorescence increases in neurons, photobleaching, and photoswitching. R-GECO1 displays higher Ca(2+) affinity and larger dynamic range than RCaMP, but exhibits significant photoactivation with blue and green light, suggesting that integrated channelrhodopsin-based optogenetics using R-GECO1 may be subject to artifact. Finally, we create and test blue, cyan, and yellow variants engineered from GCaMP by rational design. This engineered set of chromatic variants facilitates new experiments in functional imaging and optogenetics.

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