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18 Janelia Publications

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    04/01/19 | A lipid-based partitioning mechanism for selective incorporation of proteins into membranes of HIV particles.
    Sengupta P, Seo AY, Pasolli HA, Song YE, Johnson M, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Nature Cell Biology. 2019 Apr;21(4):452-461. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0300-y

    Particles that bud off from the cell surface, including viruses and microvesicles, typically have a unique membrane protein composition distinct from that of the originating plasma membrane. This selective protein composition enables viruses to evade the immune response and infect other cells. But how membrane proteins sort into budding viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains unclear. Proteins could passively distribute into HIV-assembly-site membranes producing compositions resembling pre-existing plasma-membrane domains. Here, we demonstrate that proteins instead sort actively into HIV-assembly-site membranes, generating compositions enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids that undergo continuous remodeling. Proteins are recruited into and removed from the HIV assembly site through lipid-based partitioning, initiated by oligomerization of the HIV structural protein Gag. Changes in membrane curvature at the assembly site further amplify this sorting process. Thus, a lipid-based sorting mechanism, aided by increasing membrane curvature, generates the unique membrane composition of the HIV surface.

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    Looger Lab
    03/29/19 | Multiplex imaging relates quantal glutamate release to presynaptic Ca homeostasis at multiple synapses in situ.
    Jensen TP, Zheng K, Cole N, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Rusakov DA
    Nature Communications. 2019 03 29;10(1):1414. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09216-8

    Information processing by brain circuits depends on Ca-dependent, stochastic release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Whilst optical glutamate sensors have enabled detection of synaptic discharges, understanding presynaptic machinery requires simultaneous readout of glutamate release and nanomolar presynaptic Ca in situ. Here, we find that the fluorescence lifetime of the red-shifted Ca indicator Cal-590 is Ca-sensitive in the nanomolar range, and employ it in combination with green glutamate sensors to relate quantal neurotransmission to presynaptic Ca kinetics. Multiplexed imaging of individual and multiple synapses in identified axonal circuits reveals that glutamate release efficacy, but not its short-term plasticity, varies with time-dependent fluctuations in presynaptic resting Ca or spike-evoked Ca entry. Within individual presynaptic boutons, we find no nanoscopic co-localisation of evoked presynaptic Ca entry with the prevalent glutamate release site, suggesting loose coupling between the two. The approach enables a better understanding of release machinery at central synapses.

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    Pavlopoulos Lab
    03/27/19 | Attachment of the blastoderm to the vitelline envelope affects gastrulation of insects.
    Muenster S, Jain A, Mietke A, Pavlopoulos A, Grill SW, Tomancak P
    Nature. 2019 Mar 27:. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1044-3

    During gastrulation, physical forces reshape the simple embryonic tissue to form the complex body plans of multicellular organisms. These forces often cause large-scale asymmetric movements of the embryonic tissue. In many embryos, the gastrulating tissue is surrounded by a rigid protective shell. Although it is well-recognized that gastrulation movements depend on forces that are generated by tissue-intrinsic contractility, it is not known whether interactions between the tissue and the protective shell provide additional forces that affect gastrulation. Here we show that a particular part of the blastoderm tissue of the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) tightly adheres in a temporally coordinated manner to the vitelline envelope that surrounds the embryo. This attachment generates an additional force that counteracts tissue-intrinsic contractile forces to create asymmetric tissue movements. This localized attachment depends on an αPS2 integrin (inflated), and the knockdown of this integrin leads to a gastrulation phenotype that is consistent with complete loss of attachment. Furthermore, analysis of another integrin (the αPS3 integrin, scab) in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) suggests that gastrulation in this organism also relies on adhesion between the blastoderm and the vitelline envelope. Our findings reveal a conserved mechanism through which the spatiotemporal pattern of tissue adhesion to the vitelline envelope provides controllable, counteracting forces that shape gastrulation movements in insects.

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    03/26/19 | Neurotransmitter identity is acquired in a lineage-restricted manner in the Drosophila CNS.
    Lacin H, Chen H, Long X, Singer RH, Lee T, Truman JW
    Elife. 2019 Mar 26;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43701

    The vast majority of the adult fly ventral nerve cord is composed of 34 hemilineages, which are clusters of lineally related neurons. Neurons in these hemilineages use one of the three fast-acting neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, GABA, or glutamate) for communication. We generated a comprehensive neurotransmitter usage map for the entire ventral nerve cord. We did not find any cases of neurons using more than one neurotransmitter, but found that the acetylcholine specific gene ChAT is transcribed in many glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, but these transcripts typically do not leave the nucleus and are not translated. Importantly, our work uncovered a simple rule: All neurons within a hemilineage use the same neurotransmitter. Thus, neurotransmitter identity is acquired at the stem cell level. Our detailed transmitter- usage/lineage identity map will be a great resource for studying the developmental basis of behavior and deciphering how neuronal circuits function to regulate behavior.

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    03/22/19 | Interfacial actin protrusions mechanically enhance killing by cytotoxic T cells.
    Tamzalit F, Wang MS, Jin W, Tello-Lafoz M, Boyko V, Heddleston JM, Black CT, Kam LC, Huse M
    Science Immunology. 2019 Mar 22;4(33):. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aav5445

    Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) kill by forming immunological synapses with target cells and secreting toxic proteases and the pore-forming protein perforin into the intercellular space. Immunological synapses are highly dynamic structures that boost perforin activity by applying mechanical force against the target cell. Here, we used high-resolution imaging and microfabrication to investigate how CTLs exert synaptic forces and coordinate their mechanical output with perforin secretion. Using micropatterned stimulatory substrates that enable synapse growth in three dimensions, we found that perforin release occurs at the base of actin-rich protrusions that extend from central and intermediate locations within the synapse. These protrusions, which depended on the cytoskeletal regulator WASP and the Arp2/3 actin nucleation complex, were required for synaptic force exertion and efficient killing. They also mediated physical deformation of the target cell surface during CTL-target cell interactions. Our results reveal the mechanical basis of cellular cytotoxicity and highlight the functional importance of dynamic, three-dimensional architecture in immune cell-cell interfaces.

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    03/01/19 | Metabolic regulation of developmental cell cycles and zygotic transcription.
    Djabrayan NJ, Smits CM, Krajnc M, Stern T, Yamada S, Lemon WC, Keller PJ, Rushlow CA, Shvartsman SY
    Current Biology. 2019 Mar 01;29(7):1193-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.02.028

    The thirteen nuclear cleavages that give rise to the Drosophila blastoderm are some of the fastest known cell cycles. Surprisingly, the fertilized egg is provided with at most one-third of the dNTPs needed to complete the thirteen rounds of DNA replication. The rest must be synthesized by the embryo, concurrent with cleavage divisions. What is the reason for the limited supply of DNA building blocks? We propose that frugal control of dNTP synthesis contributes to the well-characterized deceleration of the cleavage cycles and is needed for robust accumulation of zygotic gene products. In support of this model, we demonstrate that when the levels of dNTPs are abnormally high, nuclear cleavages fail to sufficiently decelerate, the levels of zygotic transcription are dramatically reduced, and the embryo catastrophically fails early in gastrulation. Our work reveals a direct connection between metabolism, the cell cycle, and zygotic transcription.

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    03/19/19 | Cytoskeletal control of antigen-dependent T cell activation.
    Colin-York H, Javanmardi Y, Skamrahl M, Kumari S, Chang VT, Khuon S, Taylor A, Chew T, Betzig E, Moeendarbary E, Cerundolo V, Eggeling C, Fritzsche M
    Cell Reports. 2019 Mar 19;26(12):3369-3379.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.02.074

    Cytoskeletal actin dynamics is essential for T cell activation. Here, we show evidence that the binding kinetics of the antigen engaging the T cell receptor influences the nanoscale actin organization and mechanics of the immune synapse. Using an engineered T cell system expressing a specific T cell receptor and stimulated by a range of antigens, we found that the peak force experienced by the T cell receptor during activation was independent of the unbinding kinetics of the stimulating antigen. Conversely, quantification of the actin retrograde flow velocity at the synapse revealed a striking dependence on the antigen unbinding kinetics. These findings suggest that the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton actively adjusted to normalize the force experienced by the T cell receptor in an antigen-specific manner. Consequently, tuning actin dynamics in response to antigen kinetics may thus be a mechanism that allows T cells to adjust the lengthscale and timescale of T cell receptor signaling.

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    03/19/19 | Membrane-cytoskeletal crosstalk mediated by myosin-I regulates adhesion turnover during phagocytosis.
    Barger SR, Reilly NS, Shutova MS, Li Q, Maiuri P, Heddleston JM, Mooseker MS, Flavell RA, Svitkina T, Oakes PW, Krendel M, Gauthier NC
    Nature Communications. 2019 03 19;10(1):1249. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09104-1

    Phagocytosis of invading pathogens or cellular debris requires a dramatic change in cell shape driven by actin polymerization. For antibody-covered targets, phagocytosis is thought to proceed through the sequential engagement of Fc-receptors on the phagocyte with antibodies on the target surface, leading to the extension and closure of the phagocytic cup around the target. We find that two actin-dependent molecular motors, class 1 myosins myosin 1e and myosin 1f, are specifically localized to Fc-receptor adhesions and required for efficient phagocytosis of antibody-opsonized targets. Using primary macrophages lacking both myosin 1e and myosin 1f, we find that without the actin-membrane linkage mediated by these myosins, the organization of individual adhesions is compromised, leading to excessive actin polymerization, slower adhesion turnover, and deficient phagocytic internalization. This work identifies a role for class 1 myosins in coordinated adhesion turnover during phagocytosis and supports a mechanism involving membrane-cytoskeletal crosstalk for phagocytic cup closure.

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    Gonen Lab
    03/19/19 | MicroED data collection with SerialEM.
    de la Cruz MJ, Martynowycz MW, Hattne J, Gonen T
    Ultramicroscopy. 2019 Mar 19;201:77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2019.03.009

    The cryoEM method Microcrystal Electron Diffraction (MicroED) involves transmission electron microscope (TEM) and electron detector working in synchrony to collect electron diffraction data by continuous rotation. We previously reported several protein, peptide, and small molecule structures by MicroED using manual control of the microscope and detector to collect data. Here we present a procedure to automate this process using a script developed for the popular open-source software package SerialEM. With this approach, SerialEM coordinates stage rotation, microscope operation, and camera functions for automated continuous-rotation MicroED data collection. Depending on crystal and substrate geometry, more than 300 datasets can be collected overnight in this way, facilitating high-throughput MicroED data collection for large-scale data analyses.

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    03/14/19 | Ultrapotent chemogenetics for research and potential clinical applications.
    Magnus CJ, Lee PH, Bonaventura J, Zemla R, Gomez JL, Ramirez MH, Hu X, Galvan A, Basu J, Michaelides M, Sternson SM
    Science. 2019 Mar 14;364(6436):eaav5282. doi: 10.1126/science.aav5282

    Chemogenetics enables non-invasive chemical control over cell populations in behaving animals. However, existing small molecule agonists show insufficient potency or selectivity. There is also need for chemogenetic systems compatible with both research and human therapeutic applications. We developed a new ion channel-based platform for cell activation and silencing that is controlled by low doses of the anti-smoking drug varenicline. We then synthesized novel sub-nanomolar potency agonists, called uPSEMs, with high selectivity for the chemogenetic receptors. uPSEMs and their receptors were characterized in brains of mice and a rhesus monkey by in vivo electrophysiology, calcium imaging, positron emission tomography, behavioral efficacy testing, and receptor counterscreening. This platform of receptors and selective ultrapotent agonists enables potential research and clinical applications of chemogenetics.

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