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158 Publications

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    Sternson Lab
    06/10/09 | Leptin targets in the mouse brain.
    Scott MM, Lachey JL, Sternson SM, Lee CE, Elias CF, Friedman JM, Elmquist JK
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2009 Jun 10;514:518-32. doi: 10.1002/cne.22025

    The central actions of leptin are essential for homeostatic control of adipose tissue mass, glucose metabolism, and many autonomic and neuroendocrine systems. In the brain, leptin acts on numerous different cell types via the long-form leptin receptor (LepRb) to elicit its effects. The precise identification of leptin’s cellular targets is fundamental to understanding the mechanism of its pleiotropic central actions. We have systematically characterized LepRb distribution in the mouse brain using in situ hybridization in wildtype mice as well as by EYFP immunoreactivity in a novel LepRb-IRES-Cre EYFP reporter mouse line showing high levels of LepRb mRNA/EYFP coexpression. We found substantial LepRb mRNA and EYFP expression in hypothalamic and extrahypothalamic sites described before, including the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, ventral premammillary nucleus, ventral tegmental area, parabrachial nucleus, and the dorsal vagal complex. Expression in insular cortex, lateral septal nucleus, medial preoptic area, rostral linear nucleus, and in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus was also observed and had been previously unreported. The LepRb-IRES-Cre reporter line was used to chemically characterize a population of leptin receptor-expressing neurons in the midbrain. Tyrosine hydroxylase and Cre reporter were found to be coexpressed in the ventral tegmental area and in other midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Lastly, the LepRb-IRES-Cre reporter line was used to map the extent of peripheral leptin sensing by central nervous system (CNS) LepRb neurons. Thus, we provide data supporting the use of the LepRb-IRES-Cre line for the assessment of the anatomic and functional characteristics of neurons expressing leptin receptor.

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    06/05/09 | Three-dimensional nanoscopy of biological samples.
    Vaziri A, Tang J, Shroff H, Shank CV
    2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics and Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (CLEO/QELS 2009), Vols. 1-5. 2009 Jun 5;1-5:147-8

    We have demonstrated super-resolution imaging of protein distributions in cells at depth at multiple layers with a lateral localization precision better than 50 nm. The approach is based on combining photoactivated localization microscopy with temporal focusing.

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    06/01/09 | [Analysis on acupuncture literature in Science Citation Index (SCI) periodicals in 2007].
    Gao L, Tian L, Guo Y
    Zhongguo Zhen Jiu = Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion. 2009 Jun;29(6):504-7. doi: 10.1364/AO.50.001792

    To grasp the international developing tendency of acupuncture research and provide some references for promoting acupuncture and moxibustion internationalization process, the articles about acupuncture in Science Citation Index (SCI) periodicals in 2007 were retrieved by adopting the retrieval tactics on line in combination with database searching. Results indicate that 257 articles about acupuncture had been retrived from the SCI Web databases. These articles were published in 125 journals respectively, most of which were Euramerican journals. Among these journals, the impact factor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 25. 547, is the highest one. It is shown that the impact factors of the SCI periodicals, in which acupuncture articles embodied are increased, the quality of these articles are improved obviously and the types of the articles are various in 2007, but there is obvious difference in the results of these studies due to the difference of experimental methods, the subjects of these experiments and acupuncture manipulations. Therefore, standardization of many problems arising from the researches on acupuncture is extremely imminent.

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    06/01/09 | A novel mechanism of antagonism between ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes regulates RNR3 expression.
    Tomar RS, Psathas JN, Zhang H, Zhang Z, Reese JC
    Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2009 Jun;29(12):3255-65. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01741-08

    Gene expression depends upon the antagonistic actions of chromatin remodeling complexes. While this has been studied extensively for the enzymes that covalently modify the tails of histones, the mechanism of how ATP-dependent remodeling complexes antagonize each other to maintain the proper level of gene activity is not known. The gene encoding a large subunit of ribonucleotide reductase, RNR3, is regulated by ISW2 and SWI/SNF, complexes that repress and activate transcription, respectively. Here, we studied the functional interactions of these two complexes at RNR3. Deletion of ISW2 causes constitutive recruitment of SWI/SNF, and conditional reexpression of ISW2 causes the repositioning of nucleosomes and reduced SWI/SNF occupancy at RNR3. Thus, ISW2 is required for restriction of access of SWI/SNF to the RNR3 promoter under the uninduced condition. Interestingly, the binding of sequence-specific DNA binding factors and the general transcription machinery are unaffected by the status of ISW2, suggesting that disruption of nucleosome positioning does not cause a nonspecific increase in cross-linking of all factors to RNR3. We provide evidence that ISW2 does not act on SWI/SNF directly but excludes its occupancy by positioning nucleosomes over the promoter. Genetic disruption of nucleosome positioning by other means led to a similar phenotype, linking repressed chromatin structure to SWI/SNF exclusion. Thus, incorporation of promoters into a repressive chromatin structure is essential for prevention of the opportunistic actions of nucleosome-disrupting activities in vivo, providing a novel mechanism for maintaining tight control of gene expression.

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    06/01/09 | Evolution of mutational robustness in the yeast genome: a link to essential genes and meiotic recombination hotspots.
    Keller PJ, Knop M
    PLoS Genetics. 2009 Jun;5(6):e1000533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000533

    Deleterious mutations inevitably emerge in any evolutionary process and are speculated to decisively influence the structure of the genome. Meiosis, which is thought to play a major role in handling mutations on the population level, recombines chromosomes via non-randomly distributed hot spots for meiotic recombination. In many genomes, various types of genetic elements are distributed in patterns that are currently not well understood. In particular, important (essential) genes are arranged in clusters, which often cannot be explained by a functional relationship of the involved genes. Here we show by computer simulation that essential gene (EG) clustering provides a fitness benefit in handling deleterious mutations in sexual populations with variable levels of inbreeding and outbreeding. We find that recessive lethal mutations enforce a selective pressure towards clustered genome architectures. Our simulations correctly predict (i) the evolution of non-random distributions of meiotic crossovers, (ii) the genome-wide anti-correlation of meiotic crossovers and EG clustering, (iii) the evolution of EG enrichment in pericentromeric regions and (iv) the associated absence of meiotic crossovers (cold centromeres). Our results furthermore predict optimal crossover rates for yeast chromosomes, which match the experimentally determined rates. Using a Saccharomyces cerevisiae conditional mutator strain, we show that haploid lethal phenotypes result predominantly from mutation of single loci and generally do not impair mating, which leads to an accumulation of mutational load following meiosis and mating. We hypothesize that purging of deleterious mutations in essential genes constitutes an important factor driving meiotic crossover. Therefore, the increased robustness of populations to deleterious mutations, which arises from clustered genome architectures, may provide a significant selective force shaping crossover distribution. Our analysis reveals a new aspect of the evolution of genome architectures that complements insights about molecular constraints, such as the interference of pericentromeric crossovers with chromosome segregation.

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    06/01/09 | Globally optimal stitching of tiled 3D microscopic image acquisitions.
    Preibisch S, Saalfeld S, Tomancak P
    Bioinformatics. 2009 Jun 1;25(11):1463-5. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btp184

    MOTIVATION: Modern anatomical and developmental studies often require high-resolution imaging of large specimens in three dimensions (3D). Confocal microscopy produces high-resolution 3D images, but is limited by a relatively small field of view compared with the size of large biological specimens. Therefore, motorized stages that move the sample are used to create a tiled scan of the whole specimen. The physical coordinates provided by the microscope stage are not precise enough to allow direct reconstruction (Stitching) of the whole image from individual image stacks.

    RESULTS: To optimally stitch a large collection of 3D confocal images, we developed a method that, based on the Fourier Shift Theorem, computes all possible translations between pairs of 3D images, yielding the best overlap in terms of the cross-correlation measure and subsequently finds the globally optimal configuration of the whole group of 3D images. This method avoids the propagation of errors by consecutive registration steps. Additionally, to compensate the brightness differences between tiles, we apply a smooth, non-linear intensity transition between the overlapping images. Our stitching approach is fast, works on 2D and 3D images, and for small image sets does not require prior knowledge about the tile configuration.

    AVAILABILITY: The implementation of this method is available as an ImageJ plugin distributed as a part of the Fiji project (Fiji is just ImageJ:

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    06/01/09 | High-throughput ethomics in large groups of Drosophila.
    Branson K, Robie AA, Bender J, Perona P, Dickinson MH
    Nature Methods. 2009 Jun;6(6):451-7. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1328

    We present a camera-based method for automatically quantifying the individual and social behaviors of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, interacting in a planar arena. Our system includes machine-vision algorithms that accurately track many individuals without swapping identities and classification algorithms that detect behaviors. The data may be represented as an ethogram that plots the time course of behaviors exhibited by each fly or as a vector that concisely captures the statistical properties of all behaviors displayed in a given period. We found that behavioral differences between individuals were consistent over time and were sufficient to accurately predict gender and genotype. In addition, we found that the relative positions of flies during social interactions vary according to gender, genotype and social environment. We expect that our software, which permits high-throughput screening, will complement existing molecular methods available in Drosophila, facilitating new investigations into the genetic and cellular basis of behavior.

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    06/01/09 | In situ SIMS analysis and reactions of surfaces prepared by soft landing of mass-selected cations and anions using an ion trap mass spectrometer.
    Nie Z, Li G, Goodwin MP, Gao L, Cyriac J, Cooks RG
    Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 2009 Jun;20(6):949-56. doi: 10.1364/AO.50.001792

    Mass-selected polyatomic cations and anions, produced by electrosonic spray ionization (ESSI), were deposited onto polycrystalline Au or fluorinated self-assembled monolayer (FSAM) surfaces by soft landing (SL), using a rectilinear ion trap (RIT) mass spectrometer. Protonated and deprotonated molecules, as well as intact cations and anions generated from such molecules as peptides, inorganic catalysts, and fluorescent dyes, were soft-landed onto the surfaces. Analysis of the modified surfaces was performed in situ by Cs(+) secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) using the same RIT mass analyzer to characterize the sputtered ions as that used to mass select the primary ions for SL. Soft-landing times as short as 30 s provided surfaces that yielded good quality SIMS spectra. Chemical reactions of the surfaces modified by SL were generated in an attached reaction chamber into which the surface was transferred under vacuum. For example, a surface on which protonated triethanolamine had been soft landed was silylated using vapor-phase chlorotrimethylsilane before being returned still under vacuum to the preparation chamber where SIMS analysis revealed the silyloxy functionalization. SL and vapor-phase reactions are complementary methods of surface modification and in situ surface analysis by SIMS is a simple way to characterize the products produced by either technique.

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    06/01/09 | Morphological characterization of single fan-shaped body neurons in Drosophila melanogaster.
    Li W, Pan Y, Wang Z, Gong H, Gong Z, Liu L
    Cell and Tissue Research. 2009 Jun;336(3):509-19. doi: 10.1007/s00441-009-0781-2

    The fan-shaped body is the largest substructure of the central complex in Drosophila melanogaster. Two groups of large-field neurons that innervate the fan-shaped body, viz., F1 and F5 neurons, have recently been found to be involved in visual pattern memory for "contour orientation" and "elevation" in a rut-dependent manner. The F5 neurons have been found to be responsible for the parameter "elevation" in a for-dependent manner. We have shown here that the F1 neuron also affects visual memory for "contour orientation" in a for-dependent way. With the help of Gal4/UAS and FLP-out techniques, we have characterized the morphological features of these two groups of neurons at single neuron resolution. We have observed that F1 or F5 neurons are groups of isomorphic individual neurons. Single F1 neurons have three main arborization regions: one in the first layer of the fan-shaped body, one in the ventral body, and another in the inferior medial protocerebrum. Single F5 neurons have two arborization regions: one in the fifth layer of the fan-shaped body and the other in the superior medial protocerebrum. The polarity of the F1 and F5 neurons has been studied with the Syt-GFP marker. Our results indicate the existence of presynaptic sites of both F1 and F5 neurons located in the fan-shaped body and postsynaptic sites outside of the fan-shaped body.

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    06/01/09 | The ethomics era?
    Reiser M
    Nature Methods. 2009 Jun;6:413-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.072

    Applying modern machine-vision techniques to the study of animal behavior, two groups developed systems that quantify many aspects of the complex social behaviors of Drosophila melanogaster. These software tools will enable high-throughput screens that seek to uncover the cellular and molecular underpinnings of behavior.

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