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3 Publications

Showing 1-3 of 3 results
07/04/16 | Protein-retention expansion microscopy of cells and tissues labeled using standard fluorescent proteins and antibodies.
Tillberg P, Chen F, Piatkevich KD, Zhao Y, Yu CJ, English BP, Gao L, Martorell A, Suk H, Yoshida F, DeGennaro EM, Roossien DH, Gong G, Seneviratne U, Tannenbaum SR, Desimone R, Cai D, Boyden ES
Nature Biotechnology. 2016 Jul 4;34(9):987-92. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3625

Expansion microscopy (ExM) enables imaging of preserved specimens with nanoscale precision on diffraction-limited instead of specialized super-resolution microscopes. ExM works by physically separating fluorescent probes after anchoring them to a swellable gel. The first ExM method did not result in the retention of native proteins in the gel and relied on custom-made reagents that are not widely available. Here we describe protein retention ExM (proExM), a variant of ExM in which proteins are anchored to the swellable gel, allowing the use of conventional fluorescently labeled antibodies and streptavidin, and fluorescent proteins. We validated and demonstrated the utility of proExM for multicolor super-resolution (∼70 nm) imaging of cells and mammalian tissues on conventional microscopes.

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01/30/15 | Expansion microscopy.
Fei Chen , Paul Tillberg , Edward Boyden

In optical microscopy, fine structural details are resolved by using refraction to magnify images of a specimen. We discovered that by synthesizing a swellable polymer network within a specimen, it can be physically expanded, resulting in physical magnification. By covalently anchoring specific labels located within the specimen directly to the polymer network, labels spaced closer than the optical diffraction limit can be isotropically separated and optically resolved, a process we call expansion microscopy (ExM). Thus, this process can be used to perform scalable superresolution microscopy with diffraction-limited microscopes. We demonstrate ExM with apparent ~70-nanometer lateral resolution in both cultured cells and brain tissue, performing three-color superresolution imaging of ~107 cubic micrometers of the mouse hippocampus with a conventional confocal microscope.

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01/10/14 | A fully genetically encoded protein architecture for optical control of peptide ligand concentration.
Daniel Schmidt , Paul Tillberg , Fei Chen , Edward Boyden

Ion channels are among the most important proteins in biology, regulating the activity of excitable cells and changing in diseases. Ideally it would be possible to actuate endogenous ion channels, in a temporally precise and reversible manner, and without requiring chemical cofactors. Here we present a modular protein architecture for fully genetically encoded, light-modulated control of ligands that modulate ion channels of a targeted cell. Our reagent, which we call a lumitoxin, combines a photoswitch and an ion channel-blocking peptide toxin. Illumination causes the photoswitch to unfold, lowering the toxin’s local concentration near the cell surface, and enabling the ion channel to function. We explore lumitoxin modularity by showing operation with peptide toxins that target different voltage-dependent K+ channels. The lumitoxin architecture may represent a new kind of modular protein-engineering strategy for designing light-activated proteins, and thus may enable development of novel tools for modulating cellular physiology.

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