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187 Janelia Publications

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    Simpson Lab
    09/09/17 | Simultaneous activation of parallel sensory pathways promotes a grooming sequence in Drosophila.
    Hampel S, McKellar CE, Simpson JH, Seeds AM
    eLife. 2017 Sep 09;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28804

    A central model that describes how behavioral sequences are produced features a neural architecture that readies different movements simultaneously, and a mechanism where prioritized suppression between the movements determines their sequential performance. We previously described a model whereby suppression drives a Drosophila grooming sequence that is induced by simultaneous activation of different sensory pathways that each elicit a distinct movement (Seeds et al. 2014). Here, we confirm this model using transgenic expression to identify and optogenetically activate sensory neurons that elicit specific grooming movements. Simultaneous activation of different sensory pathways elicits a grooming sequence that resembles the naturally induced sequence. Moreover, the sequence proceeds after the sensory excitation is terminated, indicating that a persistent trace of this excitation induces the next grooming movement once the previous one is performed. This reveals a mechanism whereby parallel sensory inputs can be integrated and stored to elicit a delayed and sequential grooming response.

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    Romani LabMagee Lab
    09/08/17 | Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields.
    Bittner KC, Milstein AD, Grienberger C, Romani S, Magee JC
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 2017 Sep 08;357(6355):1033-1036. doi: 10.1126/science.aan3846

    Learning is primarily mediated by activity-dependent modifications of synaptic strength within neuronal circuits. We discovered that place fields in hippocampal area CA1 are produced by a synaptic potentiation notably different from Hebbian plasticity. Place fields could be produced in vivo in a single trial by potentiation of input that arrived seconds before and after complex spiking. The potentiated synaptic input was not initially coincident with action potentials or depolarization. This rule, named behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity, abruptly modifies inputs that were neither causal nor close in time to postsynaptic activation. In slices, five pairings of subthreshold presynaptic activity and calcium (Ca(2+)) plateau potentials produced a large potentiation with an asymmetric seconds-long time course. This plasticity efficiently stores entire behavioral sequences within synaptic weights to produce predictive place cell activity.

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    Gonen Lab
    09/07/17 | The role of disulfide bond replacements in analogues of the tarantula toxin ProTx-II and their effects on inhibition of the voltage-gated sodium ion channel Nav1.7.
    Wright ZV, McCarthy S, Dickman R, Reyes FE, Sanchez-Martinez S, Cryar A, Kilford I, Hall A, Takle AK, Topf M, Gonen T, Thalassinos K, Tabor AB
    Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2017 Sep 07;139(37):13063-75. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b06506

    Spider venom toxins, such as Protoxin-II (ProTx-II), have recently received much attention as selective Nav1.7 channel blockers, with potential to be developed as leads for the treatment of chronic nocioceptive pain. ProTx-II is a 30-amino acid peptide with three disulfide bonds that has been reported to adopt a well-defined inhibitory cystine knot (ICK) scaffold structure. Potential drawbacks with such peptides include poor pharmacodynamics and potential scrambling of the disulfide bonds in vivo. In order to address these issues, in the present study we report the solid-phase synthesis of lanthionine-bridged analogues of ProTx-II, in which one of the three disulfide bridges is replaced with a thioether linkage, and evaluate the biological properties of these analogues. We have also investigated the folding and disulfide bridging patterns arising from different methods of oxidation of the linear peptide precursor. Finally, we report the X-ray crystal structure of ProTx-II to atomic resolution; to our knowledge this is the first crystal structure of an ICK spider venom peptide not bound to a substrate.

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    09/05/17 | A general method to fine-tune fluorophores for live-cell and in vivo imaging.
    Grimm JB, Muthusamy AK, Liang Y, Brown TA, Lemon WC, Patel R, Lu R, Macklin JJ, Keller PJ, Ji N, Lavis LD
    Nature Methods. 2017 Oct;14(10):987-994. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4403

    Pushing the frontier of fluorescence microscopy requires the design of enhanced fluorophores with finely tuned properties. We recently discovered that incorporation of four-membered azetidine rings into classic fluorophore structures elicits substantial increases in brightness and photostability, resulting in the Janelia Fluor (JF) series of dyes. We refined and extended this strategy, finding that incorporation of 3-substituted azetidine groups allows rational tuning of the spectral and chemical properties of rhodamine dyes with unprecedented precision. This strategy allowed us to establish principles for fine-tuning the properties of fluorophores and to develop a palette of new fluorescent and fluorogenic labels with excitation ranging from blue to the far-red. Our results demonstrate the versatility of these new dyes in cells, tissues and animals.

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    09/05/17 | Dissection of the Drosophila neuropeptide F circuit using a high-throughput two-choice assay.
    Shao L, Saver M, Chung P, Ren Q, Lee T, Kent CF, Heberlein U
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Sep 05;114(38):e8091-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710552114

    In their classic experiments, Olds and Milner showed that rats learn to lever press to receive an electric stimulus in specific brain regions. This led to the identification of mammalian reward centers. Our interest in defining the neuronal substrates of reward perception in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster prompted us to develop a simpler experimental approach wherein flies could implement behavior that induces self-stimulation of specific neurons in their brains. The high-throughput assay employs optogenetic activation of neurons when the fly occupies a specific area of a behavioral chamber, and the flies' preferential occupation of this area reflects their choosing to experience optogenetic stimulation. Flies in which neuropeptide F (NPF) neurons are activated display preference for the illuminated side of the chamber. We show that optogenetic activation of NPF neuron is rewarding in olfactory conditioning experiments and that the preference for NPF neuron activation is dependent on NPF signaling. Finally, we identify a small subset of NPF-expressing neurons located in the dorsomedial posterior brain that are sufficient to elicit preference in our assay. This assay provides the means for carrying out unbiased screens to map reward neurons in flies.

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    09/04/17 | Deep learning for isotropic super-resolution from non-isotropic 3D electron microscopy.
    Heinrich L, Bogovic JA, Saalfeld S
    International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention - MICCAI 2017. MICCAI 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2017 Sept 4;10434:arXiv:1706.03142. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-66185-8_16

    The most sophisticated existing methods to generate 3D isotropic super-resolution (SR) from non-isotropic electron microscopy (EM) are based on learned dictionaries. Unfortunately, none of the existing methods generate practically satisfying results. For 2D natural images, recently developed super-resolution methods that use deep learning have been shown to significantly outperform the previous state of the art. We have adapted one of the most successful architectures (FSRCNN) for 3D super-resolution, and compared its performance to a 3D U-Net architecture that has not been used previously to generate super-resolution. We trained both architectures on artificially downscaled isotropic ground truth from focused ion beam milling scanning EM (FIB-SEM) and tested the performance for various hyperparameter settings.

    Our results indicate that both architectures can successfully generate 3D isotropic super-resolution from non-isotropic EM, with the U-Net performing consistently better. We propose several promising directions for practical application.

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    09/01/17 | A dynamic interplay of enhancer elements regulates Klf4 expression in naïve pluripotency.
    Xie L, Torigoe SE, Xiao J, Mai DH, Li L, Davis FP, Dong P, Marie-Nelly H, Grimm J, Lavis L, Darzacq X, Cattoglio C, Liu Z, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2017 Sep 01;31(17):1795-1808. doi: 10.1101/gad.303321.117

    Transcription factor (TF)-directed enhanceosome assembly constitutes a fundamental regulatory mechanism driving spatiotemporal gene expression programs during animal development. Despite decades of study, we know little about the dynamics or order of events animating TF assembly at cis-regulatory elements in living cells and the long-range molecular "dialog" between enhancers and promoters. Here, combining genetic, genomic, and imaging approaches, we characterize a complex long-range enhancer cluster governing Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) expression in naïve pluripotency. Genome editing by CRISPR/Cas9 revealed that OCT4 and SOX2 safeguard an accessible chromatin neighborhood to assist the binding of other TFs/cofactors to the enhancer. Single-molecule live-cell imaging uncovered that two naïve pluripotency TFs, STAT3 and ESRRB, interrogate chromatin in a highly dynamic manner, in which SOX2 promotes ESRRB target search and chromatin-binding dynamics through a direct protein-tethering mechanism. Together, our results support a highly dynamic yet intrinsically ordered enhanceosome assembly to maintain the finely balanced transcription program underlying naïve pluripotency.

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    08/30/17 | A circuit node that integrates convergent input from neuromodulatory and social behavior-promoting neurons to control aggression in Drosophila.
    Watanabe K, Chiu H, Pfeiffer BD, Wong AM, Hoopfer ED, Rubin GM, Anderson DJ
    Neuron. 2017 Aug 30;95(5):1112-1128.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.08.017

    Diffuse neuromodulatory systems such as norepinephrine (NE) control brain-wide states such as arousal, but whether they control complex social behaviors more specifically is not clear. Octopamine (OA), the insect homolog of NE, is known to promote both arousal and aggression. We have performed a systematic, unbiased screen to identify OA receptor-expressing neurons (OARNs) that control aggression in Drosophila. Our results uncover a tiny population of male-specific aSP2 neurons that mediate a specific influence of OA on aggression, independent of any effect on arousal. Unexpectedly, these neurons receive convergent input from OA neurons and P1 neurons, a population of FruM(+) neurons that promotes male courtship behavior. Behavioral epistasis experiments suggest that aSP2 neurons may constitute an integration node at which OAergic neuromodulation can bias the output of P1 neurons to favor aggression over inter-male courtship. These results have potential implications for thinking about the role of related neuromodulatory systems in mammals.

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    08/29/17 | Experimental and statistical reevaluation provides no evidence for Drosophila courtship song rhythms.
    Stern DL, Clemens J, Coen P, Calhoun AJ, Hogenesch JB, Arthur BJ, Murthy M
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Aug 29;114(37):9978-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1707471114

    From 1980 to 1992, a series of influential papers reported on the discovery, genetics, and evolution of a periodic cycling of the interval between Drosophila male courtship song pulses. The molecular mechanisms underlying this periodicity were never described. To reinitiate investigation of this phenomenon, we previously performed automated segmentation of songs but failed to detect the proposed rhythm [Arthur BJ, et al. (2013) BMC Biol 11:11; Stern DL (2014) BMC Biol 12:38]. Kyriacou et al. [Kyriacou CP, et al. (2017) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:1970-1975] report that we failed to detect song rhythms because (i) our flies did not sing enough and (ii) our segmenter did not identify many of the song pulses. Kyriacou et al. manually annotated a subset of our recordings and reported that two strains displayed rhythms with genotype-specific periodicity, in agreement with their original reports. We cannot replicate this finding and show that the manually annotated data, the original automatically segmented data, and a new dataset provide no evidence for either the existence of song rhythms or song periodicity differences between genotypes. Furthermore, we have reexamined our methods and analysis and find that our automated segmentation method was not biased to prevent detection of putative song periodicity. We conclude that there is no evidence for the existence of Drosophila courtship song rhythms.

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    08/29/17 | Imp and Syp RNA-binding proteins govern decommissioning of Drosophila neural stem cells.
    Yang C, Samuels TJ, Huang Y, Yang L, Ish-Horowicz D, Davis I, Lee T
    Development (Cambridge, England). 2017 Aug 29;144(19):3454-64. doi: 10.1242/dev.149500

    The termination of the proliferation of Drosophila neural stem cells, also known as neuroblasts (NBs), requires a "decommissioning" phase that is controlled in a lineage-specific manner. Most NBs, with the exception of those of the Mushroom body (MB), are decommissioned by the ecdysone receptor and mediator complex causing them to shrink during metamorphosis, followed by nuclear accumulation of Prospero and cell cycle exit. Here, we demonstrate that the levels of Imp and Syp RNA-binding proteins regulate NB decommissioning. Descending Imp and ascending Syp expression have been shown to regulate neuronal temporal fate. We show that Imp levels decline slower in the MB than other central brain NBs. MB NBs continue to express Imp into pupation, and the presence of Imp prevents decommissioning partly by inhibiting the mediator complex. Late-larval induction of transgenic Imp prevents many non-MB NBs from decommissioning in early pupae. Moreover, the presence of abundant Syp in aged NBs permits Prospero accumulation that, in turn, promotes cell cycle exit. Together our results reveal that progeny temporal fate and progenitor decommissioning are co-regulated in protracted neuronal lineages.

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