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192 Publications

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    08/12/22 | Isolation, cryo-laser scanning confocal microscope imaging and cryo-FIB milling of mouse glutamatergic synaptosomes.
    Gogoi P, Shiozaki M, Gouaux E
    PLoS One. 2022 Aug 12;17(8):e0271799. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271799

    Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) at postsynaptic terminals mediate the majority of fast excitatory neurotransmission in response to release of glutamate from the presynaptic terminal. Obtaining structural information on the molecular organization of iGluRs in their native environment, along with other signaling and scaffolding proteins in the postsynaptic density (PSD), and associated proteins on the presynaptic terminal, would enhance understanding of the molecular basis for excitatory synaptic transmission in normal and in disease states. Cryo-electron tomography (ET) studies of synaptosomes is one attractive vehicle by which to study iGluR-containing excitatory synapses. Here we describe a workflow for the preparation of glutamatergic synaptosomes for cryo-ET studies. We describe the utilization of fluorescent markers for the facile detection of the pre and postsynaptic terminals of glutamatergic synaptosomes using cryo-laser scanning confocal microscope (cryo-LSM). We further provide the details for preparation of lamellae, between ~100 to 200 nm thick, of glutamatergic synaptosomes using cryo-focused ion-beam (FIB) milling. We monitor the lamella preparation using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and following lamella production, we identify regions for subsequent cryo-ET studies by confocal fluorescent imaging, exploiting the pre and postsynaptic fluorophores.

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    Looger Lab
    08/12/22 | Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Within Cells: Temporal Resolution in Cytoplasm, Endoplasmic Reticulum, and Membrane
    Aaron L. Nichols , Zack Blumenfeld , Laura Luebbert , Hailey J. Knox , Anand K. Muthusamy , Jonathan S. Marvin , Charlene H. Kim , Stephen N. Grant , David P. Walton , Bruce N. Cohen , Rebekkah Hammar , Loren L. Looger , Per Artursson , Dennis A. Dougherty , Henry A. Lester
    bioRxiv. 2022 Aug 12:. doi: 10.1101/2022.08.09.502705

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most prescribed treatment for individuals experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD). The therapeutic mechanisms that take place before, during, or after SSRIs bind the serotonin transporter (SERT) are poorly understood, partially because no studies exist of the cellular and subcellular pharmacokinetic properties of SSRIs in living cells. We studied escitalopram and fluoxetine using new intensity- based drug-sensing fluorescent reporters (“iDrugSnFRs”) targeted to the plasma membrane (PM), cytoplasm, or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cultured neurons and mammalian cell lines. We also employed chemical detection of drug within cells and phospholipid membranes. The drugs attain equilibrium in neuronal cytoplasm and ER, at approximately the same concentration as the externally applied solution, with time constants of a few s (escitalopram) or 200-300 s (fluoxetine). Simultaneously, the drugs accumulate within lipid membranes by ≥ 18-fold (escitalopram) or 180-fold (fluoxetine), and possibly by much larger factors. Both drugs leave cytoplasm, lumen, and membranes just as quickly during washout. We synthesized membrane-impermeant quaternary amine derivatives of the two SSRIs. The quaternary derivatives are substantially excluded from membrane, cytoplasm, and ER for > 2.4 h. They inhibit SERT transport-associated currents 6- or 11-fold less potently than the SSRIs (escitalopram or fluoxetine derivative, respectively), providing useful probes for distinguishing compartmentalized SSRI effects. Although our measurements are orders of magnitude faster than the “therapeutic lag” of SSRIs, these data suggest that SSRI-SERT interactions within organelles or membranes may play roles during either the therapeutic effects or the “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome”.

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    08/09/22 | Biomechanical origins of proprioceptive maps in the Drosophila leg
    Akira Mamiya , Pralaksha Gurung , Igor Siwanowicz , Anne Sustar , Chenghao Chen , Jasper S. Phelps , Aaron T. Kuan , Alexandra Pacureanu , Wei-Chung Allen Lee , Natasha Mhatre , John C. Tuthill
    bioRxiv. 2022 Aug 09:. doi: 10.1101/2022.08.08.503192

    Proprioception, the sense of body position and movement, is essential for effective motor control. Because proprioceptive sensory neurons are embedded in complex and dynamic tissues, it has been challenging to understand how they sense and encode mechanical stimuli. Here, we find that proprioceptor neurons in the Drosophila femur are organized into functional groups that are biomechanically specialized to detect features of tibia joint kinematics. The dendrites of position and vibration-tuned proprioceptors receive distinct mechanical signals via the arculum, an elegant mechanical structure that decomposes movement of the tibia joint into orthogonal components. The cell bodies of position-tuned proprioceptors form a goniotopic map of joint angle, whereas the dendrites of vibration-tuned proprioceptors form a tonotopic map of tibia vibration frequency. Our findings reveal biomechanical mechanisms that underlie proprioceptor feature selectivity and identify common organizational principles between proprioception and other topographically organized sensory systems.

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    08/08/22 | Disorder and the Neural Representation of Complex Odors.
    Krishnamurthy K, Hermundstad AM, Mora T, Walczak AM, Balasubramanian V
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2022 Aug 08;16:917786. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2022.917786

    Animals smelling in the real world use a small number of receptors to sense a vast number of natural molecular mixtures, and proceed to learn arbitrary associations between odors and valences. Here, we propose how the architecture of olfactory circuits leverages disorder, diffuse sensing and redundancy in representation to meet these immense complementary challenges. First, the diffuse and disordered binding of receptors to many molecules compresses a vast but sparsely-structured odor space into a small receptor space, yielding an odor code that preserves similarity in a precise sense. Introducing any order/structure in the sensing degrades similarity preservation. Next, lateral interactions further reduce the correlation present in the low-dimensional receptor code. Finally, expansive disordered projections from the periphery to the central brain reconfigure the densely packed information into a high-dimensional representation, which contains multiple redundant subsets from which downstream neurons can learn flexible associations and valences. Moreover, introducing any order in the expansive projections degrades the ability to recall the learned associations in the presence of noise. We test our theory empirically using data from . Our theory suggests that the neural processing of sparse but high-dimensional olfactory information differs from the other senses in its fundamental use of disorder.

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    08/08/22 | Neural network organization for courtship-song feature detection in Drosophila.
    Baker CA, McKellar C, Pang R, Nern A, Dorkenwald S, Pacheco DA, Eckstein N, Funke J, Dickson BJ, Murthy M
    Current Biology. 2022 Aug 08;32(15):3317-3333.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.06.019

    Animals communicate using sounds in a wide range of contexts, and auditory systems must encode behaviorally relevant acoustic features to drive appropriate reactions. How feature detection emerges along auditory pathways has been difficult to solve due to challenges in mapping the underlying circuits and characterizing responses to behaviorally relevant features. Here, we study auditory activity in the Drosophila melanogaster brain and investigate feature selectivity for the two main modes of fly courtship song, sinusoids and pulse trains. We identify 24 new cell types of the intermediate layers of the auditory pathway, and using a new connectomic resource, FlyWire, we map all synaptic connections between these cell types, in addition to connections to known early and higher-order auditory neurons-this represents the first circuit-level map of the auditory pathway. We additionally determine the sign (excitatory or inhibitory) of most synapses in this auditory connectome. We find that auditory neurons display a continuum of preferences for courtship song modes and that neurons with different song-mode preferences and response timescales are highly interconnected in a network that lacks hierarchical structure. Nonetheless, we find that the response properties of individual cell types within the connectome are predictable from their inputs. Our study thus provides new insights into the organization of auditory coding within the Drosophila brain.

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    08/08/22 | Structured sampling of olfactory input by the fly mushroom body.
    Zheng Z, Li F, Fisher C, Ali IJ, Sharifi N, Calle-Schuler S, Hsu J, Masoodpanah N, Kmecova L, Kazimiers T, Perlman E, Nichols M, Li PH, Jain V, Bock DD
    Current Biology. 2022 Aug 08;32(15):3334-3349.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.06.031

    Associative memory formation and recall in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is subserved by the mushroom body (MB). Upon arrival in the MB, sensory information undergoes a profound transformation from broadly tuned and stereotyped odorant responses in the olfactory projection neuron (PN) layer to narrowly tuned and nonstereotyped responses in the Kenyon cells (KCs). Theory and experiment suggest that this transformation is implemented by random connectivity between KCs and PNs. However, this hypothesis has been challenging to test, given the difficulty of mapping synaptic connections between large numbers of brain-spanning neurons. Here, we used a recent whole-brain electron microscopy volume of the adult fruit fly to map PN-to-KC connectivity at synaptic resolution. The PN-KC connectome revealed unexpected structure, with preponderantly food-responsive PN types converging at above-chance levels on downstream KCs. Axons of the overconvergent PN types tended to arborize near one another in the MB main calyx, making local KC dendrites more likely to receive input from those types. Overconvergent PN types preferentially co-arborize and connect with dendrites of αβ and α'β' KC subtypes. Computational simulation of the observed network showed degraded discrimination performance compared with a random network, except when all signal flowed through the overconvergent, primarily food-responsive PN types. Additional theory and experiment will be needed to fully characterize the impact of the observed non-random network structure on associative memory formation and recall.

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    07/27/22 | Actin nano-architecture of phagocytic podosomes
    J. Cody Herron , Shiqiong Hu , Takashi Watanabe , Ana T. Nogueira , Bei Liu , Megan Kern , Jesse Aaron , Aaron Taylor , Michael Pablo , Teng-Leong Chew , Timothy C. Elston , Klaus M. Hahn
    Nature Communications. 2022 Jul 27;13(1):4363. doi: 10.1101/2022.05.04.490675

    Podosomes are actin-enriched adhesion structures important for multiple cellular processes, including migration, bone remodeling, and phagocytosis. Here, we characterized the structure and organization of phagocytic podosomes using interferometric photoactivated localization microscopy (iPALM), a super-resolution microscopy technique capable of 15-20 nm resolution, together with structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and localization-based superresolution microscopy. Phagocytic podosomes were observed during frustrated phagocytosis, a model in which cells attempt to engulf micro-patterned IgG antibodies. For circular patterns, this resulted in regular arrays of podosomes with well-defined geometry. Using persistent homology, we developed a pipeline for semi-automatic identification and measurement of podosome features. These studies revealed an "hourglass" shape of the podosome actin core, a protruding "knob" at the bottom of the core, and two actin networks extending from the core. Additionally, the distributions of paxillin, talin, myosin II, α-actinin, cortactin, and microtubules relative to actin were characterized.

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    07/27/22 | Omnipose: a high-precision morphology-independent solution for bacterial cell segmentation
    Kevin J. Cutler , Carsen Stringer , Paul A. Wiggins , Joseph D. Mougous
    bioRxiv. 2022 Jul 27:. doi: 10.1101/2021.11.03.467199

    Advances in microscopy hold great promise for allowing quantitative and precise readouts of morphological and molecular phenomena at the single cell level in bacteria. However, the potential of this approach is ultimately limited by the availability of methods to perform unbiased cell segmentation, defined as the ability to faithfully identify cells independent of their morphology or optical characteristics. In this study, we present a new algorithm, Omnipose, which accurately segments samples that present significant challenges to current algorithms, including mixed bacterial cultures, antibiotic-treated cells, and cells of extended or branched morphology. We show that Omnipose achieves generality and performance beyond leading algorithms and its predecessor, Cellpose, by virtue of unique neural network outputs such as the gradient of the distance field. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of Omnipose in the characterization of extreme morphological phenotypes that arise during interbacterial antagonism and on the segmentation of non-bacterial objects. Our results distinguish Omnipose as a uniquely powerful tool for answering diverse questions in bacterial cell biology.

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    07/26/22 | A scalable and modular automated pipeline for stitching of large electron microscopy datasets.
    Mahalingam G, Torres R, Kapner D, Trautman ET, Fliss T, Seshamani S, Perlman E, Young R, Kinn S, Buchanan J, Takeno MM, Yin W, Bumbarger DJ, Gwinn RP, Nyhus J, Lein E, Smith SJ, Reid RC, Khairy KA, Saalfeld S, Collman F, Macarico da Costa N
    eLife. 2022 Jul 26;11:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.76534

    Serial-section electronmicroscopy (ssEM) is themethod of choice for studyingmacroscopic biological samples at extremely high resolution in three dimensions. In the nervous system, nanometer-scale images are necessary to reconstruct dense neural wiring diagrams in the brain, so called connectomes. In order to use this data, consisting of up to 10 individual EM images, it must be assembled into a volume, requiring seamless 2D stitching from each physical section followed by 3D alignment of the stitched sections. The high throughput of ssEM necessitates 2D stitching to be done at the pace of imaging, which currently produces tens of terabytes per day. To achieve this, we present a modular volume assembly software pipeline ASAP (Assembly Stitching and Alignment Pipeline) that is scalable to datasets containing petabytes of data and parallelized to work in a distributed computational environment. The pipeline is built on top of the Render (27) services used in the volume assembly of the brain of adult Drosophilamelanogaster (30). It achieves high throughput by operating on themeta-data and transformations of each image stored in a database, thus eliminating the need to render intermediate output. ASAP ismodular, allowing for easy incorporation of new algorithms without significant changes in the workflow. The entire software pipeline includes a complete set of tools for stitching, automated quality control, 3D section alignment, and final rendering of the assembled volume to disk. ASAP has been deployed for continuous stitching of several large-scale datasets of the mouse visual cortex and human brain samples including one cubic millimeter of mouse visual cortex (28; 8) at speeds that exceed imaging. The pipeline also has multi-channel processing capabilities and can be applied to fluorescence and multi-modal datasets like array tomography.

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    07/22/22 | A viral toolbox for conditional and transneuronal gene expression in zebrafish
    Satou C, Neve RL, Oyibo HK, Zmarz P, Huang K, Arn Bouldoires E, Mori T, Higashijima S, Keller GB, Friedrich RW, Bagnall MW, Stainier DY, Jin L
    eLife. 07/2022;11:e77153. doi: 10.7554/eLife.77153

    The zebrafish is an important model in systems neuroscience but viral tools to dissect the structure and function of neuronal circuitry are not established. We developed methods for efficient gene transfer and retrograde tracing in adult and larval zebrafish by herpes simplex viruses (HSV1). HSV1 was combined with the Gal4/UAS system to target cell types with high spatial, temporal, and molecular specificity. We also established methods for efficient transneuronal tracing by modified rabies viruses in zebrafish. We demonstrate that HSV1 and rabies viruses can be used to visualize and manipulate genetically or anatomically identified neurons within and across different brain areas of adult and larval zebrafish. An expandable library of viruses is provided to express fluorescent proteins, calcium indicators, optogenetic probes, toxins and other molecular tools. This toolbox creates new opportunities to interrogate neuronal circuits in zebrafish through combinations of genetic and viral approaches.

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