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7 Janelia Publications

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    10/31/17 | Membrane dynamics and organelle biogenesis-lipid pipelines and vesicular carriers.
    Stefan CJ, Trimble WS, Grinstein S, Drin G, Reinisch K, De Camilli P, Cohen S, Valm AM, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Levine TP, Iaea DB, Maxfield FR, Futter CE, Eden ER, Judith D, van Vliet AR, Agostinis P, Tooze SA, Sugiura A, McBride HM
    BMC Biology. 2017 Oct 31;15(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0432-0

    Discoveries spanning several decades have pointed to vital membrane lipid trafficking pathways involving both vesicular and non-vesicular carriers. But the relative contributions for distinct membrane delivery pathways in cell growth and organelle biogenesis continue to be a puzzle. This is because lipids flow from many sources and across many paths via transport vesicles, non-vesicular transfer proteins, and dynamic interactions between organelles at membrane contact sites. This forum presents our latest understanding, appreciation, and queries regarding the lipid transport mechanisms necessary to drive membrane expansion during organelle biogenesis and cell growth.

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    Singer Lab
    10/24/17 | Intercellular mRNA trafficking via membrane nanotube-like extensions in mammalian cells.
    Haimovich G, Ecker CM, Dunagin MC, Eggan E, Raj A, Gerst JE, Singer RH
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Oct 24;114(46):E9873-E9882. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1706365114

    RNAs have been shown to undergo transfer between mammalian cells, although the mechanism behind this phenomenon and its overall importance to cell physiology is not well understood. Numerous publications have suggested that RNAs (microRNAs and incomplete mRNAs) undergo transfer via extracellular vesicles (e.g., exosomes). However, in contrast to a diffusion-based transfer mechanism, we find that full-length mRNAs undergo direct cell-cell transfer via cytoplasmic extensions characteristic of membrane nanotubes (mNTs), which connect donor and acceptor cells. By employing a simple coculture experimental model and using single-molecule imaging, we provide quantitative data showing that mRNAs are transferred between cells in contact. Examples of mRNAs that undergo transfer include those encoding GFP, mouse β-actin, and human Cyclin D1, BRCA1, MT2A, and HER2. We show that intercellular mRNA transfer occurs in all coculture models tested (e.g., between primary cells, immortalized cells, and in cocultures of immortalized human and murine cells). Rapid mRNA transfer is dependent upon actin but is independent of de novo protein synthesis and is modulated by stress conditions and gene-expression levels. Hence, this work supports the hypothesis that full-length mRNAs undergo transfer between cells through a refined structural connection. Importantly, unlike the transfer of miRNA or RNA fragments, this process of communication transfers genetic information that could potentially alter the acceptor cell proteome. This phenomenon may prove important for the proper development and functioning of tissues as well as for host-parasite or symbiotic interactions.

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    Fetter LabCardona Lab
    10/23/17 | Conserved neural circuit structure across Drosophila larva development revealed by comparative connectomics.
    Gerhard S, Andrade I, Fetter RD, Cardona A, Schneider-Mizell CM
    eLife. 2017 Oct 23;6:e29089. doi: 10.7554/eLife.29089

    During postembryonic development, the nervous system must adapt to a growing body. How changes in neuronal structure and connectivity contribute to the maintenance of appropriate circuit function remains unclear. In a previous paper (Schneider-Mizell et al., 2016), we measured the cellular neuroanatomy underlying synaptic connectivity in Drosophila. Here, we examined how neuronal morphology and connectivity change between 1st instar and 3rd instar larval stages using serial section electron microscopy. We reconstructed nociceptive circuits in a larva of each stage and found consistent topographically arranged connectivity between identified neurons. Five-fold increases in each size, number of terminal dendritic branches, and total number of synaptic inputs were accompanied by cell-type specific connectivity changes that preserved the fraction of total synaptic input associated with each presynaptic partner. We propose that precise patterns of structural growth act to conserve the computational function of a circuit, for example determining the location of a dangerous stimulus.

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    10/13/17 | Structure of RNA polymerase bound to ribosomal 30S subunit.
    Demo G, Rasouly A, Vasilyev N, Svetlov V, Loveland AB, Diaz-Avalos R, Grigorieff N, Nudler E, Korostelev AA
    eLife. 2017 Oct 13;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28560

    In bacteria, mRNA transcription and translation are coupled to coordinate optimal gene expression and maintain genome stability. Coupling is thought to involve direct interactions between RNA polymerase (RNAP) and the translational machinery. We present cryo-EM structures of E. coli RNAP core bound to the small ribosomal 30S subunit. The complex is stable under cell-like ionic conditions, consistent with functional interaction between RNAP and the 30S subunit. The RNA exit tunnel of RNAP aligns with the Shine-Dalgarno-binding site of the 30S subunit. Ribosomal protein S1 forms a wall of the tunnel between RNAP and the 30S subunit, consistent with its role in directing mRNAs onto the ribosome. The nucleic-acid-binding cleft of RNAP samples distinct conformations, suggesting different functional states during transcription-translation coupling. The architecture of the 30S•RNAP complex provides a structural basis for co-localization of the transcriptional and translational machineries, and inform future mechanistic studies of coupled transcription and translation.

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    10/11/17 | Nanoscale visualization of biomineral formation in coral proto-polyps.
    Mass T, Drake JL, Heddleston JM, Falkowski PG
    Current Biology : CB. 2017 Oct 11;27(20):3191-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.012

    Calcium carbonate platforms produced by reef-building stony corals over geologic time are pervasive features around the world [1]; however, the mechanism by which these organisms produce the mineral is poorly understood (see review by [2]). It is generally assumed that stony corals precipitate calcium carbonate extracellularly as aragonite in a calcifying medium between the calicoblastic ectoderm and pre-existing skeleton, separated from the overlying seawater [2]. The calicoblastic ectoderm produces extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, secreted to the calcifying medium [3-6], which appear to provide the nucleation, alteration, elongation, and inhibition mechanisms of the biomineral [7] and remain occluded and preserved in the skeleton [8-10]. Here we show in cell cultures of the stony coral Stylophora pistillata that calcium is concentrated in intracellular pockets that are subsequently exported from the cell where a nucleation process leads to the formation of extracellular aragonite crystals. Analysis of the growing crystals by lattice light-sheet microscopy suggests that the crystals elongate from the cells' surfaces outward.

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    03/13/18 | Genetic reagents for making split-GAL4 lines in Drosophila.
    Dionne H, Hibbard KL, Cavallaro A, Kao J, Rubin GM
    Genetics . 2018 March;209(1):31-5. doi: 10.1101/197509

    The ability to reproducibly target expression of transgenes to small, defined subsets of cells is a key experimental tool for understanding many biological processes. The Drosophila nervous system contains thousands of distinct cell types and it has generally not been possible to limit expression to one or a few cell types when using a single segment of genomic DNA as an enhancer to drive expression. Intersectional methods, in which expression of the transgene only occurs where two different enhancers overlap in their expression patterns, can be used to achieve the desired specificity. This report describes a set of over 2,800 transgenic lines for use with the split-GAL4 intersectional method.

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    Wu Lab
    10/01/17 | Molecular basis of CENP-C association with the CENP-A nucleosome at yeast centromeres.
    Xiao H, Wang F, Wisniewski J, Shaytan AK, Ghirlando R, Fitzgerald PC, Huang Y, Wei D, Li S, Landsman D, Panchenko AR, Wu C
    Genes & Development. 2017 Oct 01;31(19):1958-1972. doi: 10.1101/gad.304782.117

    Histone CENP-A-containing nucleosomes play an important role in nucleating kinetochores at centromeres for chromosome segregation. However, the molecular mechanisms by which CENP-A nucleosomes engage with kinetochore proteins are not well understood. Here, we report the finding of a new function for the budding yeast Cse4/CENP-A histone-fold domain interacting with inner kinetochore protein Mif2/CENP-C. Strikingly, we also discovered that AT-rich centromere DNA has an important role for Mif2 recruitment. Mif2 contacts one side of the nucleosome dyad, engaging with both Cse4 residues and AT-rich nucleosomal DNA. Both interactions are directed by a contiguous DNA- and histone-binding domain (DHBD) harboring the conserved CENP-C motif, an AT hook, and RK clusters (clusters enriched for arginine-lysine residues). Human CENP-C has two related DHBDs that bind preferentially to DNA sequences of higher AT content. Our findings suggest that a DNA composition-based mechanism together with residues characteristic for the CENP-A histone variant contribute to the specification of centromere identity.

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