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944 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 944 results
05/18/16 | Toll Genes Have an Ancestral Role in Axis Elongation.
Benton MA, Pechmann M, Frey N, Stappert D, Conrads KH, Chen Y, Stamataki E, Pavlopoulos A, Roth S
Current Biology : CB. 2016 May 18:. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.055

One of the key morphogenetic processes used during development is the controlled intercalation of cells between their neighbors. This process has been co-opted into a range of developmental events, and it also underlies an event that occurs in each major group of bilaterians: elongation of the embryo along the anterior-posterior axis [1]. In Drosophila, a novel component of this process was recently discovered by Paré et al., who showed that three Toll genes function together to drive cell intercalation during germband extension [2]. This finding raises the question of whether this role of Toll genes is an evolutionary novelty of flies or a general mechanism of embryonic morphogenesis. Here we show that the Toll gene function in axis elongation is, in fact, widely conserved among arthropods. First, we functionally demonstrate that two Toll genes are required for cell intercalation in the beetle Tribolium castaneum. We then show that these genes belong to a previously undescribed Toll subfamily and that members of this subfamily exhibit striped expression (as seen in Tribolium and previously reported in Drosophila [3-5]) in embryos of six other arthropod species spanning the entire phylum. Last, we show that two of these Toll genes are required for normal morphogenesis during anterior-posterior embryo elongation in the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum, a member of the most basally branching arthropod lineage. From our findings, we hypothesize that Toll genes had a morphogenetic function in embryo elongation in the last common ancestor of all arthropods, which existed over 550 million years ago.

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05/24/16 | Design and synthesis of a calcium-sensitive photocage.
Heckman LM, Grimm JB, Schreiter ER, Kim C, Verdecia MA, Shields BC, Lavis LD
Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). 2016 May 24:. doi: 10.1002/anie.201602941

Photolabile protecting groups (or "photocages") enable precise spatiotemporal control of chemical functionality and facilitate advanced biological experiments. Extant photocages exhibit a simple input-output relationship, however, where application of light elicits a photochemical reaction irrespective of the environment. Herein, we refine and extend the concept of photolabile groups, synthesizing the first Ca(2+) -sensitive photocage. This system functions as a chemical coincidence detector, releasing small molecules only in the presence of both light and elevated [Ca(2+) ]. Caging a fluorophore with this ion-sensitive moiety yields an "ion integrator" that permanently marks cells undergoing high Ca(2+) flux during an illumination-defined time period. Our general design concept demonstrates a new class of light-sensitive material for cellular imaging, sensing, and targeted molecular delivery.

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05/21/16 | Segmenting and Tracking Multiple Dividing Targets Using ilastik.
Haubold C, Schiegg M, Kreshuk A, Berg S, Koethe U, Hamprecht FA
Advances in anatomy, embryology, and cell biology. 2016 May 21;219:199-229. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28549-8_8

Tracking crowded cells or other targets in biology is often a challenging task due to poor signal-to-noise ratio, mutual occlusion, large displacements, little discernibility, and the ability of cells to divide. We here present an open source implementation of conservation tracking (Schiegg et al., IEEE international conference on computer vision (ICCV). IEEE, New York, pp 2928-2935, 2013) in the ilastik software framework. This robust tracking-by-assignment algorithm explicitly makes allowance for false positive detections, undersegmentation, and cell division. We give an overview over the underlying algorithm and parameters, and explain the use for a light sheet microscopy sequence of a Drosophila embryo. Equipped with this knowledge, users will be able to track targets of interest in their own data.

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05/16/16 | Cryo-EM reveals the steric zipper structure of a light chain-derived amyloid fibril.
Schmidt A, Annamalai K, Schmidt M, Grigorieff N, Fändrich M
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2016 May 16:. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1522282113

Amyloid fibrils are proteinaceous aggregates associated with diseases in humans and animals. The fibrils are defined by intermolecular interactions between the fibril-forming polypeptide chains, but it has so far remained difficult to reveal the assembly of the peptide subunits in a full-scale fibril. Using electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM), we present a reconstruction of a fibril formed from the pathogenic core of an amyloidogenic immunoglobulin (Ig) light chain. The fibril density shows a lattice-like assembly of face-to-face packed peptide dimers that corresponds to the structure of steric zippers in peptide crystals. Interpretation of the density map with a molecular model enabled us to identify the intermolecular interactions between the peptides and rationalize the hierarchical structure of the fibril based on simple chemical principles.

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05/15/16 | Evidence for an audience effect in mice: male social partners alter the male vocal response to female cues.
Seagraves KM, Arthur BJ, Egnor SE
The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2016 May 15;219(Pt 10):1437-48. doi: 10.1242/jeb.129361

Mice (Mus musculus) form large and dynamic social groups and emit ultrasonic vocalizations in a variety of social contexts. Surprisingly, these vocalizations have been studied almost exclusively in the context of cues from only one social partner, despite the observation that in many social species the presence of additional listeners changes the structure of communication signals. Here, we show that male vocal behavior elicited by female odor is affected by the presence of a male audience - with changes in vocalization count, acoustic structure and syllable complexity. We further show that single sensory cues are not sufficient to elicit this audience effect, indicating that multiple cues may be necessary for an audience to be apparent. Together, these experiments reveal that some features of mouse vocal behavior are only expressed in more complex social situations, and introduce a powerful new assay for measuring detection of the presence of social partners in mice.

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05/13/16 | The wiring diagram of a glomerular olfactory system.
Berck ME, Khandelwal A, Claus L, Hernandez-Nunez L, Si G, Tabone CJ, Li F, Truman JW, Fetter RD, Louis M, Samuel ADt, Cardona A
eLife. 2016 May 13;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14859

The sense of smell enables animals to react to long-distance cues according to learned and innate valences. Here, we have mapped with electron microscopy the complete wiring diagram of the Drosophila larval antennal lobe, an olfactory neuropil similar to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. We found a canonical circuit with uniglomerular projection neurons (uPNs) relaying gain-controlled ORN activity to the mushroom body and the lateral horn. A second, parallel circuit with multiglomerular projection neurons (mPNs) and hierarchically connected local neurons (LNs) selectively integrates multiple ORN signals already at the first synapse. LN-LN synaptic connections putatively implement a bistable gain control mechanism that either computes odor saliency through panglomerular inhibition, or allows some glomeruli to respond to faint aversive odors in the presence of strong appetitive odors. This complete wiring diagram will support experimental and theoretical studies towards bridging the gap between circuits and behavior.

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05/11/16 | Modeling truncated pixel values of faint reflections in MicroED images.
Hattne J, Shi D, de la Cruz MJason, Reyes FE, Gonen T
Journal of Applied Crystallography. 2016 May 11;49(3):. doi: 10.1107/S1600576716007196

The weak pixel counts surrounding the Bragg spots in a diffraction image are important for establishing a model of the background underneath the peak and estimating the reliability of the integrated intensities. Under certain circumstances, particularly with equipment not optimized for low-intensity measurements, these pixel values may be corrupted by corrections applied to the raw image. This can lead to truncation of low pixel counts, resulting in anomalies in the integrated Bragg intensities, such as systematically higher signal-to-noise ratios. A correction for this effect can be approximated by a three-parameter lognormal distribution fitted to the weakly positive-valued pixels at similar scattering angles. The procedure is validated by the improved refinement of an atomic model against structure factor amplitudes derived from corrected micro-electron diffraction (MicroED) images.

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05/11/16 | Shared and Distinct Retinal Input to the Mouse Superior Colliculus and Dorsal Lateral Geniculate Nucleus.
Ellis EM, Gauvain G, Sivyer B, Murphy GJ
Journal of Neurophysiology. 2016 May 11:jn.00227.2016. doi: 10.1152/jn.00227.2016

The mammalian retina conveys the vast majority of information about visual stimuli to two brain regions: the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) and the superior colliculus (SC). The degree to which retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) send similar or distinct information to the two areas remains unclear despite the important constraints that different patterns of RGC input place on downstream visual processing. To resolve this ambiguity we injected a glycoprotein-deficient rabies virus coding for the expression of a fluorescent protein into the dLGN or SC; rabies virus labeled a smaller fraction of RGCs than lipophilic dyes like DiI but, crucially, did not label RGC axons of passage. ~80% of the RGCs infected by rabies virus injected into the dLGN were co-labeled with DiI injected into the SC, suggesting that many dLGN-projecting RGCs also project to the SC. However, functional characterization of RGCs revealed that the SC receives input from several classes of RGCs that largely avoid the dLGN - in particular, RGCs in which (1) sustained changes in light intensity elicit transient changes in firing rate and/or (2) a small range of stimulus sizes or temporal fluctuations in light intensity elicit robust activity. Taken together, our results illustrate several unexpected asymmetries in the information that the mouse retina conveys to two major downstream targets and suggest that differences in the output of dLGN and SC neurons reflect, at least in part, differences in the functional properties of RGCs that innervate the SC but not the dLGN.

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05/09/16 | Ensemble cryo-EM uncovers inchworm-like translocation of a viral IRES through the ribosome.
Abeyrathne PD, Koh CSan, Grant T, Grigorieff N, Korostelev AA
eLife. 2016 May 9;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14874

Internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) mediate cap-independent translation of viral mRNAs. Using electron cryo-microscopy of a single specimen, we present five ribosome structures formed with the Taura syndrome virus IRES and translocase eEF2•GTP bound with sordarin. The structures suggest a trajectory of IRES translocation, required for translation initiation, and provide an unprecedented view of eEF2 dynamics. The IRES rearranges from extended to bent to extended conformations. This inchworm-like movement is coupled with ribosomal inter-subunit rotation and 40S head swivel. eEF2, attached to the 60S subunit, slides along the rotating 40S subunit to enter the A site. Its diphthamide-bearing tip at domain IV separates the tRNA-mRNA-like pseudoknot I (PKI) of the IRES from the decoding center. This unlocks 40S domains, facilitating head swivel and biasing IRES translocation via hitherto-elusive intermediates with PKI captured between the A and P sites. The structures suggest missing links in our understanding of tRNA translocation.

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05/05/16 | Real-time quantification of single RNA translation dynamics in living cells.
Morisaki T, Lyon K, DeLuca KF, DeLuca JG, English BP, Zhang Z, Lavis LD, Grimm JB, Viswanathan S, Looger LL
Science. 2016 May 05:. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf0899

Although mRNA translation is a fundamental biological process, it has never been imaged in real-time with single molecule precision in vivo. To achieve this, we developed Nascent Chain Tracking (NCT), a technique that uses multi-epitope tags and antibody-based fluorescent probes to quantify single mRNA protein synthesis dynamics. NCT reveals an elongation rate of ~10 amino acids per second, with initiation occurring stochastically every ~30 s. Polysomes contain ~1 ribosome every 200-900 nucleotides and are globular rather than elongated in shape. By developing multi-color probes, we show most polysomes act independently; however, a small fraction (~5%) form complexes in which two distinct mRNAs can be translated simultaneously. The sensitivity and versatility of NCT make it a powerful new tool for quantifying mRNA translation kinetics.

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