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766 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 766 results
06/19/15 | Design of ordered two-dimensional arrays mediated by noncovalent protein-protein interfaces.
Gonen S, DiMaio F, Gonen T, Baker D
Science.2015 Jun 19;348(6241):1365-8. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa9897

We describe a general approach to designing two-dimensional (2D) protein arrays mediated by noncovalent protein-protein interfaces. Protein homo-oligomers are placed into one of the seventeen 2D layer groups, the degrees of freedom of the lattice are sampled to identify configurations with shape-complementary interacting surfaces, and the interaction energy is minimized using sequence design calculations. We used the method to design proteins that self-assemble into layer groups P 3 2 1, P 4 21 2, and P 6. Projection maps of micrometer-scale arrays, assembled both in vitro and in vivo, are consistent with the design models and display the target layer group symmetry. Such programmable 2D protein lattices should enable new approaches to structure determination, sensing, and nanomaterial engineering.

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06/18/15 | Single Molecules, Cells, and Super-Resolution Optics (Nobel Lecture).
Betzig E
Angewandte Chemie (International Edition in English).2015 Jun 18:. doi: 10.1002/anie.201501003

The resolution of a microscope is determined by the diffraction limit in classical microscopy, whereby objects that are separated by half a wavelength can no longer be visually separated. To go below the diffraction limit required several tricks and discoveries. In his Nobel Lecture, E. Betzig describes the developments that have led to modern super high-resolution microscopy.

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06/17/15 | Epigenomic Signatures of Neuronal Diversity in the Mammalian Brain.
Mo A, Mukamel EA, Davis FP, Luo C, Henry GL, Picard S, Urich MA, Nery JR, Sejnowski TJ, Lister R, Eddy SR, Ecker JR, Nathans J
Neuron.2015 Jun 17;86(6):1369-1384. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.018

Neuronal diversity is essential for mammalian brain function but poses a challenge to molecular profiling. To address the need for tools that facilitate cell-type-specific epigenomic studies, we developed the first affinity purification approach to isolate nuclei from genetically defined cell types in a mammal. We combine this technique with next-generation sequencing to show that three subtypes of neocortical neurons have highly distinctive epigenomic landscapes. Over 200,000 regions differ in chromatin accessibility and DNA methylation signatures characteristic of gene regulatory regions. By footprinting and motif analyses, these regions are predicted to bind distinct cohorts of neuron subtype-specific transcription factors. Neuronal epigenomes reflect both past and present gene expression, with DNA hyper-methylation at developmentally critical genes appearing as a novel epigenomic signature in mature neurons. Taken together, our findings link the functional and transcriptional complexity of neurons to their underlying epigenomic diversity.

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06/16/15 | Dynamical feature extraction at the sensory periphery guides chemotaxis.
Schulze A, Gomez-Marin A, Rajendran VG, Lott G, Musy M, Ahammad P, Deogade A, Sharpe J, Riedl J, Jarriault D, Trautman ET, Werner C, Venkadesan M, Druckmann S, Jayaraman V, Louis M
eLife.2015 Jun 16;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.06694

Behavioral strategies employed for chemotaxis have been described across phyla, but the sensorimotor basis of this phenomenon has seldom been studied in naturalistic contexts. Here, we examine how signals experienced during free olfactory behaviors are processed by first-order olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) of the Drosophila larva. We find that OSNs can act as differentiators that transiently normalize stimulus intensity-a property potentially derived from a combination of integral feedback and feed-forward regulation of olfactory transduction. In olfactory virtual reality experiments, we report that high activity levels of the OSN suppress turning, whereas low activity levels facilitate turning. Using a generalized linear model, we explain how peripheral encoding of olfactory stimuli modulates the probability of switching from a run to a turn. Our work clarifies the link between computations carried out at the sensory periphery and action selection underlying navigation in odor gradients.

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06/15/15 | Direct wavefront sensing for high-resolution in vivo imaging in scattering tissue.
Wang K, Sun W, Richie CT, Harvey BK, Betzig E, Ji N
Nature Communications.2015-Jun-15;6:7276. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8276

Adaptive optics by direct imaging of the wavefront distortions of a laser-induced guide star has long been used in astronomy, and more recently in microscopy to compensate for aberrations in transparent specimens. Here we extend this approach to tissues that strongly scatter visible light by exploiting the reduced scattering of near-infrared guide stars. The method enables in vivo two-photon morphological and functional imaging down to 700 μm inside the mouse brain.

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06/08/15 | Molecular mechanism of vinculin activation and nanoscale spatial organization in focal adhesions.
Case LB, Baird MA, Shtengel G, Campbell SL, Hess HF, Davidson MW, Waterman CM
Nature Cell Biology.2015 Jun 8:. doi: 10.1038/ncb3180

Focal adhesions (FAs) link the extracellular matrix to the actin cytoskeleton to mediate cell adhesion, migration, mechanosensing and signalling. FAs have conserved nanoscale protein organization, suggesting that the position of proteins within FAs regulates their activity and function. Vinculin binds different FA proteins to mediate distinct cellular functions, but how vinculin's interactions are spatiotemporally organized within FAs is unknown. Using interferometric photoactivation localization super-resolution microscopy to assay vinculin nanoscale localization and a FRET biosensor to assay vinculin conformation, we found that upward repositioning within the FA during FA maturation facilitates vinculin activation and mechanical reinforcement of FAs. Inactive vinculin localizes to the lower integrin signalling layer in FAs by binding to phospho-paxillin. Talin binding activates vinculin and targets active vinculin higher in FAs where vinculin can engage retrograde actin flow. Thus, specific protein interactions are spatially segregated within FAs at the nanoscale to regulate vinculin activation and function.

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06/08/15 | Understanding Classifier Errors by Examining Influential Neighbors
Mayank Kabra , Alice A. Robie , Kristin Branson
IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition.06/2015:

Modern supervised learning algorithms can learn very accurate and complex discriminating functions. But when these classifiers fail, this complexity can also be a drawback because there is no easy, intuitive way to diagnose why they are failing and remedy the problem. This important question has received little attention. To address this problem, we propose a novel method to analyze and understand a classifier's errors. Our method centers around a measure of how much influence a training example has on the classifier's prediction for a test example. To understand why a classifier is mispredicting the label of a given test example, the user can find and review the most influential training examples that caused this misprediction, allowing them to focus their attention on relevant areas of the data space. This will aid the user in determining if and how the training data is inconsistently labeled or lacking in diversity, or if the feature representation is insufficient. As computing the influence of each training example is computationally impractical, we propose a novel distance metric to approximate influence for boosting classifiers that is fast enough to be used interactively. We also show several novel use paradigms of our distance metric. Through experiments, we show that it can be used to find incorrectly or inconsistently labeled training examples, to find specific areas of the data space that need more training data, and to gain insight into which features are missing from the current representation. 

Code is available at

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06/04/15 | From a meso- to micro-scale connectome: array tomography and mGRASP.
Rah J, Feng L, Druckmann S, Lee H, Kim J
Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.2015 Jun 04;9:78. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2015.00078

Mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity has long been an important goal of neuroscience because knowing how neurons and brain areas are connected underpins an understanding of brain function. Meeting this goal requires advanced techniques with single synapse resolution and large-scale capacity, especially at multiple scales tethering the meso- and micro-scale connectome. Among several advanced LM-based connectome technologies, Array Tomography (AT) and mammalian GFP-Reconstitution Across Synaptic Partners (mGRASP) can provide relatively high-throughput mapping synaptic connectivity at multiple scales. AT- and mGRASP-assisted circuit mapping (ATing and mGRASPing), combined with techniques such as retrograde virus, brain clearing techniques, and activity indicators will help unlock the secrets of complex neural circuits. Here, we discuss these useful new tools to enable mapping of brain circuits at multiple scales, some functional implications of spatial synaptic distribution, and future challenges and directions of these endeavors.

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06/03/15 | BlastNeuron for Automated Comparison, Retrieval and Clustering of 3D Neuron Morphologies.
Wan Y, Long F, Qu L, Xiao H, Hawrylycz M, Myers EW, Peng H
Neuroinformatics.2015 Jun 3:. doi: 10.1007/s12021-015-9272-7

Characterizing the identity and types of neurons in the brain, as well as their associated function, requires a means of quantifying and comparing 3D neuron morphology. Presently, neuron comparison methods are based on statistics from neuronal morphology such as size and number of branches, which are not fully suitable for detecting local similarities and differences in the detailed structure. We developed BlastNeuron to compare neurons in terms of their global appearance, detailed arborization patterns, and topological similarity. BlastNeuron first compares and clusters 3D neuron reconstructions based on global morphology features and moment invariants, independent of their orientations, sizes, level of reconstruction and other variations. Subsequently, BlastNeuron performs local alignment between any pair of retrieved neurons via a tree-topology driven dynamic programming method. A 3D correspondence map can thus be generated at the resolution of single reconstruction nodes. We applied BlastNeuron to three datasets: (1) 10,000+ neuron reconstructions from a public morphology database, (2) 681 newly and manually reconstructed neurons, and (3) neurons reconstructions produced using several independent reconstruction methods. Our approach was able to accurately and efficiently retrieve morphologically and functionally similar neuron structures from large morphology database, identify the local common structures, and find clusters of neurons that share similarities in both morphology and molecular profiles.

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06/01/15 | High-resolution live imaging reveals axon-glia interactions during peripheral nerve injury and repair in zebrafish.
Xiao Y, Faucherre A, Pola-Morell L, Heddleston JM, Liu T, Chew T, Sato F, Sehara-Fujisawa A, Kawakami K, López-Schier H
Disease Models & Mechanisms.2015 Jun 1;8(6):553-64. doi: 10.1242/dmm.018184

Neural damage is a devastating outcome of physical trauma. The glia are one of the main effectors of neuronal repair in the nervous system, but the dynamic interactions between peripheral neurons and Schwann cells during injury and regeneration remain incompletely characterized. Here, we combine laser microsurgery, genetic analysis, high-resolution intravital imaging and lattice light-sheet microscopy to study the interaction between Schwann cells and sensory neurons in a zebrafish model of neurotrauma. We found that chronic denervation by neuronal ablation leads to Schwann-cell death, whereas acute denervation by axonal severing does not affect the overall complexity and architecture of the glia. Neuronal-circuit regeneration begins when Schwann cells extend bridging processes to close the injury gap. Regenerating axons grow faster and directionally after the physiological clearing of distal debris by the Schwann cells. This might facilitate circuit repair by ensuring that axons are guided through unoccupied spaces within bands of Büngner towards their original peripheral target. Accordingly, in the absence of Schwann cells, regenerating axons are misrouted, impairing the re-innervation of sensory organs. Our results indicate that regenerating axons use haptotaxis as a directional cue during the reconstitution of a neural circuit. These findings have implications for therapies aimed at neurorepair, which will benefit from preserving the architecture of the peripheral glia during periods of denervation.

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