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21 Janelia Publications

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    04/26/17 | A systematic nomenclature for the Drosophila ventral nervous system.
    Court RC, Armstrong JD, Borner J, Card GM, Costa M, Dickinson MH, Duch C, Korff W, Mann RS, Merritt D, Murphey RK, Namiki S, Seeds AM, Shepherd D, Shirangi TR, Simpson JH, Truman JW, Tuthill JC, Williams DW
    bioRxiv. 2017 Apr 26:. doi: 10.1101/122952

    Insect nervous systems are proven and powerful model systems for neuroscience research with wide relevance in biology and medicine. However, descriptions of insect brains have suffered from a lack of a complete and uniform nomenclature. Recognising this problem the Insect Brain Name Working Group produced the first agreed hierarchical nomenclature system for the adult insect brain, using Drosophila melanogaster as the reference framework, with other insect taxa considered to ensure greater consistency and expandability (Ito et al., 2014). Ito et al. (2014) purposely focused on the gnathal regions that account for approximately 50% of the adult CNS. We extend this nomenclature system to the sub-gnathal regions of the adult Drosophila nervous system to provide a nomenclature of the so-called ventral nervous system (VNS), which includes the thoracic and abdominal neuromeres that was not included in the original work and contains the neurons that play critical roles underpinning most fly behaviours.

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    Gonen Lab
    04/25/17 | An Amidase_3 domain-containing N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase is required for mycobacterial cell division.
    Senzani S, Li D, Bhaskar A, Ealand C, Chang J, Rimal B, Liu C, Joon Kim S, Dhar N, Kana B
    Scientific Reports. 2017 Apr 25;7(1):1140. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01184-7

    Mycobacteria possess a multi-layered cell wall that requires extensive remodelling during cell division. We investigated the role of an amidase_3 domain-containing N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase, a peptidoglycan remodelling enzyme implicated in cell division. We demonstrated that deletion of MSMEG_6281 (Ami1) in Mycobacterium smegmatis resulted in the formation of cellular chains, illustrative of cells that were unable to complete division. Suprisingly, viability in the Δami1 mutant was maintained through atypical lateral branching, the products of which proceeded to form viable daughter cells. We showed that these lateral buds resulted from mislocalization of DivIVA, a major determinant in facilitating polar elongation in mycobacterial cells. Failure of Δami1 mutant cells to separate also led to dysregulation of FtsZ ring bundling. Loss of Ami1 resulted in defects in septal peptidoglycan turnover with release of excess cell wall material from the septum or newly born cell poles. We noted signficant accumulation of 3-3 crosslinked muropeptides in the Δami1 mutant. We further demonstrated that deletion of ami1 leads to increased cell wall permeability and enhanced susceptiblity to cell wall targeting antibiotics. Collectively, these data provide novel insight on cell division in actinobacteria and highlights a new class of potential drug targets for mycobacterial diseases.

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    04/25/17 | Live-cell super-resolution reveals F-Actin and plasma membrane dynamics at the T Cell synapse.
    Ashdown GW, Burn GL, Williamson DJ, Pandzic E, Peters R, Holden M, Ewers H, Shao L, Wiseman PW, Owen DM
    Biophysical Journal. 2017 Apr 25;112(8):1703-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.01.038

    The cortical actin cytoskeleton has been shown to be critical for the reorganization and heterogeneity of plasma membrane components of many cells, including T cells. Building on previous studies at the T cell immunological synapse, we quantitatively assess the structure and dynamics of this meshwork using live-cell superresolution fluorescence microscopy and spatio-temporal image correlation spectroscopy. We show for the first time, to our knowledge, that not only does the dense actin cortex flow in a retrograde fashion toward the synapse center, but the plasma membrane itself shows similar behavior. Furthermore, using two-color, live-cell superresolution cross-correlation spectroscopy, we demonstrate that the two flows are correlated and, in addition, we show that coupling may extend to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by examining the flow of GPI-anchored proteins. Finally, we demonstrate that the actin flow is correlated with a third component, α-actinin, which upon CRISPR knockout led to reduced plasma membrane flow directionality despite increased actin flow velocity. We hypothesize that this apparent cytoskeletal-membrane coupling could provide a mechanism for driving the observed retrograde flow of signaling molecules such as the TCR, Lck, ZAP70, LAT, and SLP76.

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    04/22/17 | The comprehensive connectome of a neural substrate for 'ON' motion detection in Drosophila.
    Takemura S, Nern A, Chklovskii DB, Scheffer LK, Rubin GM, Meinertzhagen IA
    eLife. 2017 Apr 22;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.24394

    Analysing computations in neural circuits often uses simplified models because the actual neuronal implementation is not known. For example, a problem in vision, how the eye detects image motion, has long been analysed using Hassenstein-Reichardt (HR) detector or Barlow-Levick (BL) models. These both simulate motion detection well, but the exact neuronal circuits undertaking these tasks remain elusive. We reconstructed a comprehensive connectome of the circuits of Drosophila's motion-sensing T4 cells using a novel EM technique. We uncover complex T4 inputs and reveal that putative excitatory inputs cluster at T4's dendrite shafts, while inhibitory inputs localize to the bases. Consistent with our previous study, we reveal that Mi1 and Tm3 cells provide most synaptic contacts onto T4. We are, however, unable to reproduce the spatial offset between these cells reported previously. Our comprehensive connectome reveals complex circuits that include candidate anatomical substrates for both HR and BL types of motion detectors.

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    Zlatic Lab
    04/19/17 | Pavlovian conditioning of larval Drosophila: an illustrated, multilingual, hands-on manual for odor-taste associative learning in maggots.
    Michels B, Saumweber T, Biernacki R, Thur J, Glasgow RD, Schleyer M, Chen Y, Eschbach C, Stocker RF, Toshima N, Tanimura T, Louis M, Arias-Gil G, Marescotti M, Benfenati F, Gerber B
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 19;11:45. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00045

    Larval Drosophila offer a study case for behavioral neurogenetics that is simple enough to be experimentally tractable, yet complex enough to be worth the effort. We provide a detailed, hands-on manual for Pavlovian odor-reward learning in these animals. Given the versatility of Drosophila for genetic analyses, combined with the evolutionarily shared genetic heritage with humans, the paradigm has utility not only in behavioral neurogenetics and experimental psychology, but for translational biomedicine as well. Together with the upcoming total synaptic connectome of the Drosophila nervous system and the possibilities of single-cell-specific transgene expression, it offers enticing opportunities for research. Indeed, the paradigm has already been adopted by a number of labs and is robust enough to be used for teaching in classroom settings. This has given rise to a demand for a detailed, hands-on manual directed at newcomers and/or at laboratory novices, and this is what we here provide. The paradigm and the present manual have a unique set of features: • The paradigm is cheap, easy, and robust; • The manual is detailed enough for newcomers or laboratory novices; • It briefly covers the essential scientific context; • It includes sheets for scoring, data analysis, and display; • It is multilingual: in addition to an English version we provide German, French, Japanese, Spanish and Italian language versions as well. The present manual can thus foster science education at an earlier age and enable research by a broader community than has been the case to date.

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    04/10/17 | AMPK and vacuole-associated Atg14p orchestrate µ-lipophagy for energy production and long-term survival under glucose starvation.
    Seo AY, Lau P, Feliciano D, Sengupta P, Le Gros MA, Cinquin B, Larabell CA, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    eLife. 2017 Apr 10;6:e21690. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21690

    Dietary restriction increases the longevity of many organisms but the cell signaling and organellar mechanisms underlying this capability are unclear. We demonstrate that to permit long-term survival in response to sudden glucose depletion, yeast cells activate lipid-droplet (LD) consumption through micro-lipophagy (µ-lipophagy), in which fat is metabolized as an alternative energy source. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation triggered this pathway, which required Atg14p. More gradual glucose starvation, amino acid deprivation or rapamycin did not trigger µ-lipophagy and failed to provide the needed substitute energy source for long-term survival. During acute glucose restriction, activated AMPK was stabilized from degradation and interacted with Atg14p. This prompted Atg14p redistribution from ER exit sites onto liquid-ordered vacuole membrane domains, initiating µ-lipophagy. Our findings that activated AMPK and Atg14p are required to orchestrate µ-lipophagy for energy production in starved cells is relevant for studies on aging and evolutionary survival strategies of different organisms.

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    04/10/17 | Stem cell-intrinsic, seven-up-triggered temporal factor gradients diversify intermediate neural progenitors.
    Ren Q, Yang C, Liu Z, Sugino K, Mok K, He Y, Ito M, Nern A, Otsuna H, Lee T
    Current Biology : CB. 2017 Apr 10;27(9):1303-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.047

    Building a sizable, complex brain requires both cellular expansion and diversification. One mechanism to achieve these goals is production of multiple transiently amplifying intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) from a single neural stem cell. Like mammalian neural stem cells, Drosophila type II neuroblasts utilize INPs to produce neurons and glia. Within a given lineage, the consecutively born INPs produce morphologically distinct progeny, presumably due to differential inheritance of temporal factors. To uncover the underlying temporal fating mechanisms, we profiled type II neuroblasts' transcriptome across time. Our results reveal opposing temporal gradients of Imp and Syp RNA-binding proteins (descending and ascending, respectively). Maintaining high Imp throughout serial INP production expands the number of neurons and glia with early temporal fate at the expense of cells with late fate. Conversely, precocious upregulation of Syp reduces the number of cells with early fate. Furthermore, we reveal that the transcription factor Seven-up initiates progression of the Imp/Syp gradients. Interestingly, neuroblasts that maintain initial Imp/Syp levels can still yield progeny with a small range of early fates. We therefore propose that the Seven-up-initiated Imp/Syp gradients create coarse temporal windows within type II neuroblasts to pattern INPs, which subsequently undergo fine-tuned subtemporal patterning.

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    04/07/17 | Deconstructing behavioral neuropharmacology with cellular specificity.
    Shields BC, Kahuno E, Kim C, Apostolides PF, Brown J, Lindo S, Mensh BD, Dudman JT, Lavis LD, Tadross MR
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 2017 Apr 07;356(6333):. doi: 10.1126/science.aaj2161

    Behavior has molecular, cellular, and circuit determinants. However, because many proteins are broadly expressed, their acute manipulation within defined cells has been difficult. Here, we combined the speed and molecular specificity of pharmacology with the cell type specificity of genetic tools. DART (drugs acutely restricted by tethering) is a technique that rapidly localizes drugs to the surface of defined cells, without prior modification of the native target. We first developed an AMPAR antagonist DART, with validation in cultured neuronal assays, in slices of mouse dorsal striatum, and in behaving mice. In parkinsonian animals, motor deficits were causally attributed to AMPARs in indirect spiny projection neurons (iSPNs) and to excess phasic firing of tonically active interneurons (TANs). Together, iSPNs and TANs (i.e., D2 cells) drove akinesia, whereas movement execution deficits reflected the ratio of AMPARs in D2 versus D1 cells. Finally, we designed a muscarinic antagonist DART in one iteration, demonstrating applicability of the method to diverse targets.

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    04/07/17 | Defects in ER-endosome contacts impact lysosome function in hereditary spastic paraplegia.
    Allison R, Edgar JR, Pearson G, Rizo T, Newton T, Günther S, Berner F, Hague J, Connell JW, Winkler J, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Beetz C, Winner B, Reid E
    The Journal of Cell Biology. 2017 Apr 07;216(5):1337-55. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201609033

    Contacts between endosomes and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) promote endosomal tubule fission, but the mechanisms involved and consequences of tubule fission failure are incompletely understood. We found that interaction between the microtubule-severing enzyme spastin and the ESCRT protein IST1 at ER-endosome contacts drives endosomal tubule fission. Failure of fission caused defective sorting of mannose 6-phosphate receptor, with consequently disrupted lysosomal enzyme trafficking and abnormal lysosomal morphology, including in mouse primary neurons and human stem cell-derived neurons. Consistent with a role for ER-mediated endosomal tubule fission in lysosome function, similar lysosomal abnormalities were seen in cellular models lacking the WASH complex component strumpellin or the ER morphogen REEP1. Mutations in spastin, strumpellin, or REEP1 cause hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a disease characterized by axonal degeneration. Our results implicate failure of the ER-endosome contact process in axonopathy and suggest that coupling of ER-mediated endosomal tubule fission to lysosome function links different classes of HSP proteins, previously considered functionally distinct, into a unifying pathway for axonal degeneration.

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    04/07/17 | Teaching old dyes new tricks: biological probes built from fluoresceins and rhodamines.
    Lavis LD
    Annual Review of Biochemistry. 2017 Apr 07;86:825-43. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-061516-044839

    Small-molecule fluorophores, such as fluorescein and rhodamine derivatives, are critical tools in modern biochemical and biological research. The field of chemical dyes is old; colored molecules were first discovered in the 1800s, and the fluorescein and rhodamine scaffolds have been known for over a century. Nevertheless, there has been a renaissance in using these dyes to create tools for biochemistry and biology. The application of modern chemistry, biochemistry, molecular genetics, and optical physics to these old structures enables and drives the development of novel, sophisticated fluorescent dyes. This critical review focuses on an important example of chemical biology-the melding of old and new chemical knowledge-leading to useful molecules for advanced biochemical and biological experiments. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry Volume 86 is June 20, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

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