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929 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 929 results
05/01/16 | Movement and structure of mitochondria in oligodendrocytes and their myelin sheaths.
Rinholm JE, Vervaeke K, Tadross MR, Tkachuk AN, Kopek BG, Brown TA, Bergersen LH, Clayton DA
Glia. 2016 May;64(5):810-25. doi: 10.1002/glia.22965

Mitochondria play several crucial roles in the life of oligodendrocytes. During development of the myelin sheath they are essential providers of carbon skeletons and energy for lipid synthesis. During normal brain function their consumption of pyruvate will be a key determinant of how much lactate is available for oligodendrocytes to export to power axonal function. Finally, during calcium-overload induced pathology, as occurs in ischemia, mitochondria may buffer calcium or induce apoptosis. Despite their important functions, very little is known of the properties of oligodendrocyte mitochondria, and mitochondria have never been observed in the myelin sheaths. We have now used targeted expression of fluorescent mitochondrial markers to characterize the location and movement of mitochondria within oligodendrocytes. We show for the first time that mitochondria are able to enter and move within the myelin sheath. Within the myelin sheath the highest number of mitochondria was in the cytoplasmic ridges along the sheath. Mitochondria moved more slowly than in neurons and, in contrast to their behavior in neurons and astrocytes, their movement was increased rather than inhibited by glutamate activating NMDA receptors. By electron microscopy we show that myelin sheath mitochondria have a low surface area of cristae, which suggests a low ATP production. These data specify fundamental properties of the oxidative phosphorylation system in oligodendrocytes, the glial cells that enhance cognition by speeding action potential propagation and provide metabolic support to axons. GLIA 2016;64:810-825.

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05/01/16 | The collection of MicroED data for macromolecular crystallography.
Shi D, Nannenga BL, de la Cruz MJason, Liu J, Sawtelle S, Calero G, Reyes FE, Hattne J, Gonen T
Nature Protocols. 2016 May;11(5):895-904. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.046

The formation of large, well-ordered crystals for crystallographic experiments remains a crucial bottleneck to the structural understanding of many important biological systems. To help alleviate this problem in crystallography, we have developed the MicroED method for the collection of electron diffraction data from 3D microcrystals and nanocrystals of radiation-sensitive biological material. In this approach, liquid solutions containing protein microcrystals are deposited on carbon-coated electron microscopy grids and are vitrified by plunging them into liquid ethane. MicroED data are collected for each selected crystal using cryo-electron microscopy, in which the crystal is diffracted using very few electrons as the stage is continuously rotated. This protocol gives advice on how to identify microcrystals by light microscopy or by negative-stain electron microscopy in samples obtained from standard protein crystallization experiments. The protocol also includes information about custom-designed equipment for controlling crystal rotation and software for recording experimental parameters in diffraction image metadata. Identifying microcrystals, preparing samples and setting up the microscope for diffraction data collection take approximately half an hour for each step. Screening microcrystals for quality diffraction takes roughly an hour, and the collection of a single data set is ∼10 min in duration. Complete data sets and resulting high-resolution structures can be obtained from a single crystal or by merging data from multiple crystals.

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04/26/16 | Hipposeq: a comprehensive RNA-seq database of gene expression in hippocampal principal neurons.
Cembrowski MS, Wang L, Sugino K, Shields BC, Spruston N
eLife. 2016;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14997

Clarifying gene expression in narrowly defined neuronal populations can provide insight into cellular identity, computation, and functionality. Here, we used next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to produce a quantitative, whole genome characterization of gene expression for the major excitatory neuronal classes of the hippocampus; namely, granule cells and mossy cells of the dentate gyrus, and pyramidal cells of areas CA3, CA2, and CA1. Moreover, for the canonical cell classes of the trisynaptic loop, we profiled transcriptomes at both dorsal and ventral poles, producing a cell-class- and region-specific transcriptional description for these populations. This dataset clarifies the transcriptional properties and identities of lesser-known cell classes, and moreover reveals unexpected variation in the trisynaptic loop across the dorsal-ventral axis. We have created a public resource, Hipposeq (, which provides analysis and visualization of these data and will act as a roadmap relating molecules to cells, circuits, and computation in the hippocampus.

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04/18/16 | Computational Analysis of Behavior.
Egnor SE, Branson K
Annual Review of Neuroscience. 2016 Apr 18:. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-070815-013845

In this review, we discuss the emerging field of computational behavioral analysis-the use of modern methods from computer science and engineering to quantitatively measure animal behavior. We discuss aspects of experiment design important to both obtaining biologically relevant behavioral data and enabling the use of machine vision and learning techniques for automation. These two goals are often in conflict. Restraining or restricting the environment of the animal can simplify automatic behavior quantification, but it can also degrade the quality or alter important aspects of behavior. To enable biologists to design experiments to obtain better behavioral measurements, and computer scientists to pinpoint fruitful directions for algorithm improvement, we review known effects of artificial manipulation of the animal on behavior. We also review machine vision and learning techniques for tracking, feature extraction, automated behavior classification, and automated behavior discovery, the assumptions they make, and the types of data they work best with. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Neuroscience Volume 39 is July 08, 2016. Please see for revised estimates.

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04/18/16 | Repulsive cues combined with physical barriers and cell–cell adhesion determine progenitor cell positioning during organogenesis
Paksa A, Bandemer J, Höckendorf B, Razin N, Tarbashevich K, Minina S, Meyen D, Gov NS, Keller PJ, Raz E
Nature Communications. 2016 Apr 18;7:11288. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11288

The precise positioning of organ progenitor cells constitutes an essential, yet poorly understood step during organogenesis. Using primordial germ cells that participate in gonad formation, we present the developmental mechanisms maintaining a motile progenitor cell population at the site where the organ develops. Employing high-resolution live-cell microscopy, we find that repulsive cues coupled with physical barriers confine the cells to the correct bilateral positions. This analysis revealed that cell polarity changes on interaction with the physical barrier and that the establishment of compact clusters involves increased cell-cell interaction time. Using particle-based simulations, we demonstrate the role of reflecting barriers, from which cells turn away on contact, and the importance of proper cell-cell adhesion level for maintaining the tight cell clusters and their correct positioning at the target region. The combination of these developmental and cellular mechanisms prevents organ fusion, controls organ positioning and is thus critical for its proper function.

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04/15/16 | Direct neural pathways convey distinct visual information to Drosophila mushroom bodies.
Vogt K, Aso Y, Hige T, Knapek S, Ichinose T, Friedrich AB, Turner GC, Rubin GM, Tanimoto H
eLife. 2016 Apr 15;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14009

Previously, we identified that visual and olfactory associative memories of Drosophila share the mushroom body (MB) circuits (Vogt et al. 2014). Despite well-characterized odor representations in the Drosophila MB, the MB circuit for visual information is totally unknown. Here we show that a small subset of MB Kenyon cells (KCs) selectively responds to visual but not olfactory stimulation. The dendrites of these atypical KCs form a ventral accessory calyx (vAC), distinct from the main calyx that receives olfactory input. We identified two types of visual projection neurons (VPNs) directly connecting the optic lobes and the vAC. Strikingly, these VPNs are differentially required for visual memories of color and brightness. The segregation of visual and olfactory domains in the MB allows independent processing of distinct sensory memories and may be a conserved form of sensory representations among insects.

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04/13/16 | Robust neuronal dynamics in premotor cortex during motor planning.
Li N, Daie K, Svoboda K, Druckmann S
Nature. 2016 Apr 13:. doi: 10.1038/nature17643

Neural activity maintains representations that bridge past and future events, often over many seconds. Network models can produce persistent and ramping activity, but the positive feedback that is critical for these slow dynamics can cause sensitivity to perturbations. Here we use electrophysiology and optogenetic perturbations in the mouse premotor cortex to probe the robustness of persistent neural representations during motor planning. We show that preparatory activity is remarkably robust to large-scale unilateral silencing: detailed neural dynamics that drive specific future movements were quickly and selectively restored by the network. Selectivity did not recover after bilateral silencing of the premotor cortex. Perturbations to one hemisphere are thus corrected by information from the other hemisphere. Corpus callosum bisections demonstrated that premotor cortex hemispheres can maintain preparatory activity independently. Redundancy across selectively coupled modules, as we observed in the premotor cortex, is a hallmark of robust control systems. Network models incorporating these principles show robustness that is consistent with data.

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04/12/16 | Astrocytic glutamate transport regulates a Drosophila CNS synapse that lacks astrocyte ensheathment.
MacNamee SE, Liu KE, Gerhard S, Tran CT, Fetter RD, Cardona A, Tolbert LP, Oland LA
The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2016 Apr 12:. doi: 10.1002/cne.24016

Anatomical, molecular, and physiological interactions between astrocytes and neuronal synapses regulate information processing in the brain. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has become a valuable experimental system for genetic manipulation of the nervous system and has enormous potential for elucidating mechanisms that mediate neuron-glia interactions. Here, we show the first electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila astrocytes and characterize their spatial and physiological relationship with particular synapses. Astrocyte intrinsic properties were found to be strongly analogous to those of vertebrate astrocytes, including a passive current-voltage relationship, low membrane resistance, high capacitance, and dye-coupling to local astrocytes. Responses to optogenetic stimulation of glutamatergic pre-motor neurons were correlated directly with anatomy using serial electron microscopy reconstructions of homologous identified neurons and surrounding astrocytic processes. Robust bidirectional communication was present: neuronal activation triggered astrocytic glutamate transport via Eaat1, and blocking Eaat1 extended glutamatergic interneuron-evoked inhibitory post-synaptic currents in motor neurons. The neuronal synapses were always located within a micron of an astrocytic process, but none were ensheathed by those processes. Thus, fly astrocytes can modulate fast synaptic transmission via neurotransmitter transport within these anatomical parameters. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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04/06/16 | Steroid receptors reprogram FoxA1 occupancy through dynamic chromatin transitions.
Swinstead EE, Miranda TB, Paakinaho V, Baek S, Goldstein I, Hawkins M, Karpova TS, Ball D, Mazza D, Lavis LD, Grimm JB, Morisaki T, Grøntved L, Presman DM, Hager GL
Cell. 2016 Apr 6:. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.02.067

The estrogen receptor (ER), glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and forkhead box protein 1 (FoxA1) are significant factors in breast cancer progression. FoxA1 has been implicated in establishing ER-binding patterns though its unique ability to serve as a pioneer factor. However, the molecular interplay between ER, GR, and FoxA1 requires further investigation. Here we show that ER and GR both have the ability to alter the genomic distribution of the FoxA1 pioneer factor. Single-molecule tracking experiments in live cells reveal a highly dynamic interaction of FoxA1 with chromatin in vivo. Furthermore, the FoxA1 factor is not associated with detectable footprints at its binding sites throughout the genome. These findings support a model wherein interactions between transcription factors and pioneer factors are highly dynamic. Moreover, at a subset of genomic sites, the role of pioneer can be reversed, with the steroid receptors serving to enhance binding of FoxA1.

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03/29/16 | A Primer on the Bayesian approach to high-density single-molecule trajectories analysis.
El Beheiry M, Türkcan S, Richly MU, Triller A, Alexandrou A, Dahan M, Masson J
Biophysical Journal. 2016 Mar 29;110(6):1209-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.01.018

Tracking single molecules in living cells provides invaluable information on their environment and on the interactions that underlie their motion. New experimental techniques now permit the recording of large amounts of individual trajectories, enabling the implementation of advanced statistical tools for data analysis. In this primer, we present a Bayesian approach toward treating these data, and we discuss how it can be fruitfully employed to infer physical and biochemical parameters from single-molecule trajectories.

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