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177 Janelia Publications

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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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    03/12/19 | Single-neuron axonal reconstruction: The search for a wiring diagram of the brain.
    Economo MN, Winnubst J, Bas E, Ferreira TA, Chandrashekar J
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2019 Mar 12:. doi: 10.1002/cne.24674

    Reconstruction of the axonal projection patterns of single neurons has been an important tool for understanding both the diversity of cell types in the brain and the logic of information flow between brain regions. Innovative approaches now enable the complete reconstruction of axonal projection patterns of individual neurons with vastly increased throughput. Here we review how advances in genetic, imaging, and computational techniques have been exploited for axonal reconstruction. We also discuss how new innovations could enable the integration of genetic and physiological information with axonal morphology for producing a census of cell types in the mammalian brain at scale. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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    03/12/19 | Split-QF system for fine-tuned transgene expression in Drosophila.
    Riabinina O, Vernon SW, Dickson BJ, Baines RA
    Genetics. 2019 Mar 12;212(1):53-63. doi: 10.1534/genetics.119.302034

    The Q-system is a binary expression system that works well across species. Here we report the development and demonstrate applications of a split-QF system that drives strong expression in , is repressible by QS and inducible by a small non-toxic molecule quinic acid. The split-QF system is fully compatible with existing split-GAL4 and split-LexA lines, thus greatly expanding the range of possible advanced intersectional experiments and anatomical, physiological and behavioural assays in and in other organisms.

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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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    03/08/19 | Neural evolution of context-dependent fly song.
    Ding Y, Lillvis JL, Cande J, Berman GJ, Arthur BJ, Long X, Xu M, Dickson BJ, Stern DL
    Current Biology : CB. 2019 Mar 08;29(7):1089-99. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.02.019

    It is unclear where in the nervous system evolutionary changes tend to occur. To localize the source of neural evolution that has generated divergent behaviors, we developed a new approach to label and functionally manipulate homologous neurons across Drosophila species. We examined homologous descending neurons that drive courtship song in two species that sing divergent song types and localized relevant evolutionary changes in circuit function downstream of the intrinsic physiology of these descending neurons. This evolutionary change causes different species to produce divergent motor patterns in similar social contexts. Artificial stimulation of these descending neurons drives multiple song types, suggesting that multifunctional properties of song circuits may facilitate rapid evolution of song types.

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    05/15/19 | Prediction of choice from competing mechanosensory and choice-memory cues during active tactile decision making.
    Campagner D, Evans MH, Chlebikova K, Colins-Rodriguez A, Loft MS, Fox S, Pettifer D, Humphries MD, Svoboda K, Petersen RS
    The Journal of Neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2019 May 15;39(20):3921-33. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2217-18.2019

    Perceptual decision making is an active process where animals move their sense organs to extract task-relevant information. To investigate how the brain translates sensory input into decisions during active sensation, we developed a mouse active touch task where the mechanosensory input can be precisely measured and that challenges animals to use multiple mechanosensory cues. Male mice were trained to localise a pole using a single whisker and to report their decision by selecting one of three choices. Using high-speed imaging and machine vision we estimated whisker-object mechanical forces at millisecond resolution. Mice solved the task by a sensory-motor strategy where both the strength and direction of whisker bending were informative cues to pole location. We found competing influences of immediate sensory input and choice memory on mouse choice. On correct trials, choice could be predicted from the direction and strength of whisker bending, but not from previous choice. In contrast, on error trials, choice could be predicted from previous choice but not from whisker bending. This study shows that animal choices during active tactile decision making can be predicted from mechanosenory and choice-memory signals; and provides a new task, well-suited for future study of the neural basis of active perceptual decisions.Due to the difficulty of measuring the sensory input to moving sense organs, active perceptual decision making remains poorly understood. The whisker system provides a way forward since it is now possible to measure the mechanical forces due to whisker-object contact during behaviour. Here we train mice in a novel behavioural task that challenges them to use rich mechanosensory cues, but can be performed using one whisker and enables task-relevant mechanical forces to be precisely estimated. This approach enables rigorous study of how sensory cues translate into action during active, perceptual decision making. Our findings provide new insight into active touch and how sensory/internal signals interact to determine behavioural choices.

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    03/07/19 | Cryo-EM fibril structures from systemic AA amyloidosis reveal the species complementarity of pathological amyloids.
    Liberta F, Loerch S, Rennegarbe M, Schierhorn A, Westermark P, Westermark GT, Hazenberg BP, Grigorieff N, Fändrich M, Schmidt M
    Nature Communications. 2019 Mar 07;10(1):1104. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09033-z

    Systemic AA amyloidosis is a worldwide occurring protein misfolding disease of humans and animals. It arises from the formation of amyloid fibrils from the acute phase protein serum amyloid A. Here, we report the purification and electron cryo-microscopy analysis of amyloid fibrils from a mouse and a human patient with systemic AA amyloidosis. The obtained resolutions are 3.0 Å and 2.7 Å for the murine and human fibril, respectively. The two fibrils differ in fundamental properties, such as presence of right-hand or left-hand twisted cross-β sheets and overall fold of the fibril proteins. Yet, both proteins adopt highly similar β-arch conformations within the N-terminal ~21 residues. Our data demonstrate the importance of the fibril protein N-terminus for the stability of the analyzed amyloid fibril morphologies and suggest strategies of combating this disease by interfering with specific fibril polymorphs.

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