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82 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 82 results
08/01/17 | Genetically encoded biosensors.
Marvin JS, Looger LL, Lee RT, Schreiter ER
USPTO. 2017 Aug 01;B2:

The present disclosure provides, inter alia, genetically encoded recombinant peptide biosensors comprising analyte-binding framework portions and signaling portions, wherein the signaling portions are present within the framework portions at sites or amino acid positions that undergo a conformational change upon interaction of the framework portion with an analyte.

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06/12/17 | Neural signatures of dynamic stimulus selection in Drosophila.
Sun Y, Nern A, Franconville R, Dana H, Schreiter ER, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS, Hermundstad AM, Jayaraman V
Nature Neuroscience. 2017 Jun 12;20(8):1104-13. doi: 10.1038/nn.4581

Many animals orient using visual cues, but how a single cue is selected from among many is poorly understood. Here we show that Drosophila ring neurons—central brain neurons implicated in navigation—display visual stimulus selection. Using in vivo two-color two-photon imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators, we demonstrate that individual ring neurons inherit simple-cell-like receptive fields from their upstream partners. Stimuli in the contralateral visual field suppressed responses to ipsilateral stimuli in both populations. Suppression strength depended on when and where the contralateral stimulus was presented, an effect stronger in ring neurons than in their upstream inputs. This history-dependent effect on the temporal structure of visual responses, which was well modeled by a simple biphasic filter, may determine how visual references are selected for the fly's internal compass. Our approach highlights how two-color calcium imaging can help identify and localize the origins of sensory transformations across synaptically connected neural populations.

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04/06/17 | Diverse protocols for correlative super-resolution fluorescence imaging and electron microscopy of chemically fixed samples.
Kopek BG, Paez-Segala MG, Shtengel G, Sochacki KA, Sun MG, Wang Y, Xu CS, Van Engelenburg SB, Taraska JW, Looger LL, Hess HF
Nature Protocols. 2017 May;12(5):916-946. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.017

Our groups have recently developed related approaches for sample preparation for super-resolution imaging within endogenous cellular environments using correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM). Four distinct techniques for preparing and acquiring super-resolution CLEM data sets for aldehyde-fixed specimens are provided, including Tokuyasu cryosectioning, whole-cell mount, cell unroofing and platinum replication, and resin embedding and sectioning. The choice of the best protocol for a given application depends on a number of criteria that are discussed in detail. Tokuyasu cryosectioning is relatively rapid but is limited to small, delicate specimens. Whole-cell mount has the simplest sample preparation but is restricted to surface structures. Cell unroofing and platinum replication creates high-contrast, 3D images of the cytoplasmic surface of the plasma membrane but is more challenging than whole-cell mount. Resin embedding permits serial sectioning of large samples but is limited to osmium-resistant probes, and is technically difficult. Expected results from these protocols include super-resolution localization (∼10-50 nm) of fluorescent targets within the context of electron microscopy ultrastructure, which can help address cell biological questions. These protocols can be completed in 2-7 d, are compatible with a number of super-resolution imaging protocols, and are broadly applicable across biology.

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03/15/17 | Confirmation of five novel susceptibility loci for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and integrated network analysis of 82 SLE susceptibility loci.
Molineros JE, Yang W, Zhou X, Sun C, Okada Y, Zhang H, Heng Chua K, Lau Y, Kochi Y, Suzuki A, Yamamoto K, Ma J, Bang S, Lee H, Kim K, Bae S, Zhang H, Shen N, Looger LL, Nath SK
Human Molecular Genetics. 2017 Mar 15;26(6):1205-1216. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx026

We recently identified ten novel SLE susceptibility loci in Asians and uncovered several additional suggestive loci requiring further validation. This study aimed to replicate five of these suggestive loci in a Han Chinese cohort from Hong Kong, followed by meta-analysis (11,656 cases and 23,968 controls) on previously reported Asian and European populations, and to perform bioinformatic analyses on all 82 reported SLE loci to identify shared regulatory signatures. We performed a battery of analyses for these five loci, as well as joint analyses on all 82 SLE loci. All five loci passed genome-wide significance: MYNN (rs10936599, Pmeta = 1.92 × 10-13, OR = 1.14), ATG16L2 (rs11235604, Pmeta = 8.87 × 10 -12, OR = 0.78), CCL22 (rs223881, Pmeta = 5.87 × 10-16, OR = 0.87), ANKS1A (rs2762340, Pmeta = 4.93 × 10-15, OR = 0.87) and RNASEH2C (rs1308020, Pmeta = 2.96 × 10-19, OR = 0.84) and co-located with annotated gene regulatory elements. The novel loci share genetic signatures with other reported SLE loci, including effects on gene expression, transcription factor binding, and epigenetic characteristics. Most (56%) of the correlated (r2 > 0.8) SNPs from the 82 SLE loci were implicated in differential expression (9.81 × 10-198 < P < 5 × 10-3) of cis-genes. Transcription factor binding sites for p53, MEF2A and E2F1 were significantly (P < 0.05) over-represented in SLE loci, consistent with apoptosis playing a critical role in SLE. Enrichment analysis revealed common pathways, gene ontology, protein domains, and cell type-specific expression. In summary, we provide evidence of five novel SLE susceptibility loci. Integrated bioinformatics using all 82 loci revealed that SLE susceptibility loci share many gene regulatory features, suggestive of conserved mechanisms of SLE etiopathogenesis.

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03/01/17 | All-optical functional synaptic connectivity mapping in acute brain slices using CaMPARI.
Zolnik TA, Sha F, Johenning F, Schreiter ER, Looger LL, Larkum ME, Sachdev RN
The Journal of Physiology. 2017 Mar 01;595(5):1465-77. doi: 10.1113/JP273116

The calcium-modulated photoactivatable ratiometric integrator CaMPARI (Fosque et al., 2015) facilitates the study of neural circuits by permanently marking cells active during user-specified temporal windows. Permanent marking enables measurement of signals from large swathes of tissue and easy correlation of activity with other structural or functional labels. One potential application of CaMPARI is labeling neurons postsynaptic to specific populations targeted for optogenetic stimulation, giving rise to all-optical functional connectivity mapping. Here, we characterized the response of CaMPARI to several common types of neuronal calcium signals in mouse acute cortical brain slices. Our experiments show that CaMPARI is effectively converted by both action potentials and sub-threshold synaptic inputs, and that conversion level is correlated to synaptic strength. Importantly, we found that conversion rate can be tuned: it is linearly related to light intensity. At low photoconversion light levels CaMPARI offers a wide dynamic range due to slower conversion rate; at high light levels conversion is more rapid and more sensitive to activity. Finally, we employed CaMPARI and optogenetics for functional circuit mapping in ex vivo acute brain slices, which preserve in vivo-like connectivity of axon terminals. With a single light source, we stimulated channelrhodopsin-2-expressing long-range posteromedial (POm) thalamic axon terminals in cortex and induced CaMPARI conversion in recipient cortical neurons. We found that POm stimulation triggers robust photoconversion of layer 5 cortical neurons and weaker conversion of layer 2/3 neurons. Thus, CaMPARI enables network-wide, tunable, all-optical functional circuit mapping that captures supra- and sub-threshold depolarization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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01/01/17 | Solution of the structure of a calmodulin-peptide complex in a novel configuration from a variably twinned data set.
Keller JP
Acta Crystallographica. Section D, Structural Biology. 2017 Jan 01;73(Pt 1):22-31. doi: 10.1107/S2059798316019318

Structure determination of conformationally variable proteins can prove challenging even when many possible molecular-replacement (MR) search models of high sequence similarity are available. Calmodulin (CaM) is perhaps the best-studied archetype of these flexible proteins: while there are currently ∼450 structures of significant sequence similarity available in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), novel conformations of CaM and complexes thereof continue to be reported. Here, the details of the solution of a novel peptide-CaM complex structure by MR are presented, in which only one MR solution of marginal quality was found despite the use of 120 different search models, an exclusivity enhanced by the presence of a high degree of hemihedral twinning (overall refined twin fraction = 0.43). Ambiguities in the initial MR electron-density maps were overcome by using MR-SAD: phases from the MR partial model were used to identify weak anomalous scatterers (calcium, sulfur and chloride), which were in turn used to improve the phases, automatically rebuild the structure and resolve sequence ambiguities. Retrospective analysis of consecutive wedges of the original data sets showed twin fractions ranging from 0.32 to 0.55, suggesting that the data sets were variably twinned. Despite these idiosyncrasies and obstacles, the data themselves and the final model were of high quality and indeed showed a novel, nearly right-angled conformation of the bound peptide.

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12/01/16 | A timecourse analysis of systemic and gonadal effects of temperature on sexual development of the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans.
Czerwinski M, Natarajan A, Barske L, Looger LL, Capel B
Developmental Biology. 2016 Dec 1 ;420(1):166-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.09.018

Temperature dependent sex determination (TSD) is the process by which the environmental temperature experienced during embryogenesis influences the sex of an organism, as in the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans. In accord with current paradigms of vertebrate sex determination, temperature is believed to exert its effects on sexual development in T. scripta entirely within the middle third of development, when the gonad is forming. However, whether temperature regulates the transcriptome in T. scripta early embryos in a manner that could influence secondary sex characteristics or establish a pro-male or pro-female environment has not been investigated. In addition, apart from a handful of candidate genes, very little is known about potential similarities between the expression cascade during TSD and the genetic cascade that drives mammalian sex determination. Here, we conducted an unbiased transcriptome-wide analysis of the effects of male- and female-promoting temperatures on the turtle embryo prior to gonad formation, and on the gonad during the temperature sensitive period. We found sexually dimorphic expression reflecting differences in steroidogenic enzymes and brain development prior to gonad formation. Within the gonad, we mapped a cascade of differential expression similar to the genetic cascade established in mammals. Using a Hidden Markov Model based clustering approach, we identified groups of genes that show heterochronic shifts between M. musculus and T. scripta. We propose a model in which multiple factors influenced by temperature accumulate during early gonadogenesis, and converge on the antagonistic regulation of aromatase to canalize sex determination near the end of the temperature sensitive window of development.

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10/19/16 | A designer AAV variant permits efficient retrograde access to projection neurons.
Tervo DG, Hwang B, Viswanathan S, Gaj T, Lavzin M, Ritola KD, Lindo S, Michael S, Kuleshova E, Ojala D, Huang C, Gerfen CR, Schiller J, Dudman JT, Hantman AW, Looger LL, Schaffer DV, Karpova AY
Neuron. 2016 Oct 19;92(2):372-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.09.021

Efficient retrograde access to projection neurons for the delivery of sensors and effectors constitutes an important and enabling capability for neural circuit dissection. Such an approach would also be useful for gene therapy, including the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by pathological spread through functionally connected and highly distributed networks. Viral vectors, in particular, are powerful gene delivery vehicles for the nervous system, but all available tools suffer from inefficient retrograde transport or limited clinical potential. To address this need, we applied in vivo directed evolution to engineer potent retrograde functionality into the capsid of adeno-associated virus (AAV), a vector that has shown promise in neuroscience research and the clinic. A newly evolved variant, rAAV2-retro, permits robust retrograde access to projection neurons with efficiency comparable to classical synthetic retrograde tracers and enables sufficient sensor/effector expression for functional circuit interrogation and in vivo genome editing in targeted neuronal populations. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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10/06/16 | The Oscillating Stimulus Transporter Assay, OSTA: Quantitative functional imaging of transporter protein activity in time and frequency domains.
Keller JP, Looger LL
Molecular Cell. 2016 Oct 6;64(1):199-212. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.09.001

Transmembrane transporter proteins allow the passage of essentially all biologically important molecules across the lipid membranes of cells and organelles and are therefore of central importance to all forms of life. Current methods of transporter measurement, however, are lacking in several dimensions. Herein, a method is presented in which oscillating stimuli are presented to transporter-expressing cells, and activity is measured through imaging the corresponding oscillating responses of intracellular fluorescent sensors. This approach yields continuous temporal readouts of transporter activity and can therefore be used to measure time-dependent responses to drugs and other stimuli. Because of the periodic nature of the response, temporal Fourier transforms can be used to identify and quantify regions of interest in the xy plane and to overcome noise. This technique, called the Oscillating Stimulus Transporter Assay (OSTA), should greatly facilitate both functional characterization of transporters as well as high-throughput screening of drugs for transporters of particular pathophysiological interest.

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09/20/16 | Molecularly Defined Subplate Neurons Project Both to Thalamocortical Recipient Layers and Thalamus.
Viswanathan S, Sheikh A, Looger LL, Kanold PO
Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991). 2016 Sep 20:. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw271

In mammals, subplate neurons (SPNs) are among the first generated cortical neurons. While most SPNs exist only transiently during development, a number of SPNs persist among adult Layer 6b (L6b). During development, SPNs receive thalamic and intra-cortical input, and primarily project to Layer 4 (L4). SPNs are critical for the anatomical and functional development of thalamocortical connections and also pioneer corticothalamic projections. Since SPNs are heterogeneous, SPN subpopulations might serve different roles. Here, we investigate the connectivity of one subpopulation, complexin-3 (Cplx3)-positive SPNs (Cplx3-SPNs), in mouse whisker somatosensory (barrel) cortex (S1). We find that many Cplx3-SPNs survive into adulthood and become a subpopulation of L6b. Cplx3-SPNs axons project to thalamorecipient layers, that is, L4, 5a, and 1. The L4 projections are biased towards the septal regions between barrels in the second postnatal week. Thus, S1 Cplx3-SPN targets co-localize with the eventual projections of the medial posterior thalamic nucleus (POm). In addition to their cortical targets, Cplx3-SPNs also extend long-range axons to several thalamic nuclei, including POm. Thus, Cplx3-SPN/L6b neurons are associated with paralemniscal pathways and can potentially directly link thalamocortical and corticothalamic circuits. This suggests an additional key role for SPNs in the establishment and maintenance of thalamocortical processing.

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