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7 Janelia Publications

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    10/23/19 | Unlimited genetic switches for cell-type-specific manipulation.
    Garcia-Marques J, Yang C, Espinosa-Medina I, Mok K, Koyama M, Lee T
    Neuron. 2019 Oct 23;104(2):227-38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2019.07.005

    Gaining independent genetic access to discrete cell types is critical to interrogate their biological functions as well as to deliver precise gene therapy. Transcriptomics has allowed us to profile cell populations with extraordinary precision, revealing that cell types are typically defined by a unique combination of genetic markers. Given the lack of adequate tools to target cell types based on multiple markers, most cell types remain inaccessible to genetic manipulation. Here we present CaSSA, a platform to create unlimited genetic switches based on CRISPR/Cas9 (Ca) and the DNA repair mechanism known as single-strand annealing (SSA). CaSSA allows engineering of independent genetic switches, each responding to a specific gRNA. Expressing multiple gRNAs in specific patterns enables multiplex cell-type-specific manipulations and combinatorial genetic targeting. CaSSA is a new genetic tool that conceptually works as an unlimited number of recombinases and will facilitate genetic access to cell types in diverse organisms.

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    09/23/19 | Single-cell reconstruction of emerging population activity in an entire developing circuit.
    Wan Y, Wei Z, Looger LL, Koyama M, Druckmann S, Keller PJ
    Cell. 2019 Sep 23;179(2):. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.08.039

    Animal survival requires a functioning nervous system to develop during embryogenesis. Newborn neurons must assemble into circuits producing activity patterns capable of instructing behaviors. Elucidating how this process is coordinated requires new methods that follow maturation and activity of all cells across a developing circuit. We present an imaging method for comprehensively tracking neuron lineages, movements, molecular identities, and activity in the entire developing zebrafish spinal cord, from neurogenesis until the emergence of patterned activity instructing the earliest spontaneous motor behavior. We found that motoneurons are active first and form local patterned ensembles with neighboring neurons. These ensembles merge, synchronize globally after reaching a threshold size, and finally recruit commissural interneurons to orchestrate the left-right alternating patterns important for locomotion in vertebrates. Individual neurons undergo functional maturation stereotypically based on their birth time and anatomical origin. Our study provides a general strategy for reconstructing how functioning circuits emerge during embryogenesis.

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    08/13/19 | Bright and photostable chemigenetic indicators for extended in vivo voltage imaging.
    Abdelfattah AS, Kawashima T, Singh A, Novak O, Liu H, Shuai Y, Huang Y, Campagnola L, Seeman SC, Yu J, Zheng J, Grimm JB, Patel R, Friedrich J, Mensh BD, Paninski L, Macklin JJ, Murphy GJ, Podgorski K, Lin B, Chen T, Turner GC, Liu Z, Koyama M, Svoboda K, Ahrens MB, Lavis LD, Schreiter ER
    Science. 2019 Aug 13;365(6454):699-704. doi: 10.1126/science.aav6416

    Imaging changes in membrane potential using genetically encoded fluorescent voltage indicators (GEVIs) has great potential for monitoring neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. Brightness and photostability of fluorescent proteins and rhodopsins have limited the utility of existing GEVIs. We engineered a novel GEVI, "Voltron", that utilizes bright and photostable synthetic dyes instead of protein-based fluorophores, extending the combined duration of imaging and number of neurons imaged simultaneously by more than tenfold relative to existing GEVIs. We used Voltron for in vivo voltage imaging in mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies. In mouse cortex, Voltron allowed single-trial recording of spikes and subthreshold voltage signals from dozens of neurons simultaneously, over 15 min of continuous imaging. In larval zebrafish, Voltron enabled the precise correlation of spike timing with behavior.

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    05/30/19 | CLADES: a programmable sequence of reporters for lineage analysis
    Garcia-Marques J, Yang C, Espinosa-Medina I, Koyama M, Lee T
    bioRxiv. 2019 May 30:. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/655308

    We present CLADES (Cell Lineage Access Driven by an Edition Sequence), a technology for cell lineage studies based on CRISPR/Cas9. CLADES relies on a system of genetic switches to activate and inactivate reporter genes in a pre-determined order. Targeting CLADES to progenitor cells allows the progeny to inherit a sequential cascade of reporters, coupling birth order with reporter expression. This gives us temporal resolution of lineage development that can be used to deconstruct an extended cell lineage by tracking the reporters expressed in the progeny. When targeted to the germ line, the same cascade progresses across animal generations, marking each generation with the corresponding combination of reporters. CLADES thus offers an innovative strategy for making programmable cascades of genes that can be used for genetic manipulation or to record serial biological events.

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    04/26/19 | Dynamic super-resolution structured illumination imaging in the living brain.
    Turcotte R, Liang Y, Tanimoto M, Zhang Q, Li Z, Koyama M, Betzig E, Ji N
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019 Apr 26;116(19):9586-91. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1819965116

    Cells in the brain act as components of extended networks. Therefore, to understand neurobiological processes in a physiological context, it is essential to study them in vivo. Super-resolution microscopy has spatial resolution beyond the diffraction limit, thus promising to provide structural and functional insights that are not accessible with conventional microscopy. However, to apply it to in vivo brain imaging, we must address the challenges of 3D imaging in an optically heterogeneous tissue that is constantly in motion. We optimized image acquisition and reconstruction to combat sample motion and applied adaptive optics to correcting sample-induced optical aberrations in super-resolution structured illumination microscopy (SIM) in vivo. We imaged the brains of live zebrafish larvae and mice and observed the dynamics of dendrites and dendritic spines at nanoscale resolution.

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    03/08/19 | In vivo glucose imaging in multiple model organisms with an engineered single-wavelength sensor.
    Keller JP, Marvin JS, Lacin H, Lemon WC, Shea J, Kim S, Lee RT, Koyama M, Keller PJ, Looger LL
    bioRxiv. 2019 Mar 8:. doi: 10.1101/571422

    Glucose is arguably the most important molecule in metabolism, and its mismanagement underlies diseases of vast societal import, most notably diabetes. Although glucose-related metabolism has been the subject of intense study for over a century, tools to track glucose in living organisms with high spatio-temporal resolution are lacking. We describe the engineering of a family of genetically encoded glucose sensors with high signal-to-noise ratio, fast kinetics and affinities varying over four orders of magnitude (1 µM to 10 mM). The sensors allow rigorous mechanistic characterization of glucose transporters expressed in cultured cells with high spatial and temporal resolution. Imaging of neuron/glia co-cultures revealed ∼3-fold higher glucose changes in astrocytes versus neurons. In larval Drosophila central nervous system explants, imaging of intracellular neuronal glucose suggested a novel rostro-caudal transport pathway in the ventral nerve cord neuropil, with paradoxically slower uptake into the peripheral cell bodies and brain lobes. In living zebrafish, expected glucose-related physiological sequelae of insulin and epinephrine treatments were directly visualized in real time. Additionally, spontaneous muscle twitches induced glucose uptake in muscle, and sensory- and pharmacological perturbations gave rise to large but enigmatic changes in the brain. These sensors will enable myriad experiments, most notably rapid, high-resolution imaging of glucose influx, efflux, and metabolism in behaving animals.

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    02/25/19 | Chronology-based architecture of descending circuits that underlie the development of locomotor repertoire after birth.
    Pujala A, Koyama M
    eLife. 2019 Feb 25;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.42135

    The emergence of new and increasingly sophisticated behaviors after birth is accompanied by dramatic increase of newly established synaptic connections in the nervous system. Little is known, however, of how nascent connections are organized to support such new behaviors alongside existing ones. To understand this, in the larval zebrafish we examined the development of spinal pathways from hindbrain V2a neurons and the role of these pathways in the development of locomotion. We found that new projections are continually layered laterally to existing neuropil, and give rise to distinct pathways that function in parallel to existing pathways. Across these chronologically layered pathways, the connectivity patterns and biophysical properties vary systematically to support a behavioral repertoire with a wide range of kinematics and dynamics. Such layering of new parallel circuits equipped with systematically changing properties may be central to the postnatal diversification and increasing sophistication of an animal's behavioral repertoire.

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