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177 Janelia Publications

Showing 21-30 of 177 results
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    10/31/19 | ShuTu: Open-source software for efficient and accurate reconstruction of dendritic morphology.
    Jin DZ, Zhao T, Hunt DL, Tillage RP, Hsu C, Spruston N
    Frontiers in Neuroinformatics. 2019 Oct 31;13:68. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2019.00068

    Neurons perform computations by integrating inputs from thousands of synapses-mostly in the dendritic tree-to drive action potential firing in the axon. One fruitful approach to studying this process is to record from neurons using patch-clamp electrodes, fill the recorded neurons with a substance that allows subsequent staining, reconstruct the three-dimensional architectures of the dendrites, and use the resulting functional and structural data to develop computer models of dendritic integration. Accurately producing quantitative reconstructions of dendrites is typically a tedious process taking many hours of manual inspection and measurement. Here we present ShuTu, a new software package that facilitates accurate and efficient reconstruction of dendrites imaged using bright-field microscopy. The program operates in two steps: (1) automated identification of dendritic processes, and (2) manual correction of errors in the automated reconstruction. This approach allows neurons with complex dendritic morphologies to be reconstructed rapidly and efficiently, thus facilitating the use of computer models to study dendritic structure-function relationships and the computations performed by single neurons.

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    10/30/19 | Functional clustering of dendritic activity during decision-making.
    Kerlin A, Boaz M, Flickinger D, MacLennan BJ, Dean MB, Davis C, Spruston N, Svoboda K
    Elife. 2019 Oct 30;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46966

    The active properties of dendrites can support local nonlinear operations, but previous imaging and electrophysiological measurements have produced conflicting views regarding the prevalence and selectivity of local nonlinearities in vivo. We imaged calcium signals in pyramidal cell dendrites in the motor cortex of mice performing a tactile decision task. A custom microscope allowed us to image the soma and up to 300 μm of contiguous dendrite at 15 Hz, while resolving individual spines. New analysis methods were used to estimate the frequency and spatial scales of activity in dendritic branches and spines. The majority of dendritic calcium transients were coincident with global events. However, task-associated calcium signals in dendrites and spines were compartmentalized by dendritic branching and clustered within branches over approximately 10 μm. Diverse behavior-related signals were intermingled and distributed throughout the dendritic arbor, potentially supporting a large learning capacity in individual neurons.

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    10/23/19 | Recruitment of GABAergic interneurons in the barrel cortex during active tactile behavior.
    Yu J, Hu H, Agmon A, Svoboda K
    Neuron. 2019 Oct 23;104(2):412-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.07.027

    Neural computation involves diverse types of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons that are integrated with excitatory (E) neurons into precisely structured circuits. To understand how each neuron type shapes sensory representations, we measured firing patterns of defined types of neurons in the barrel cortex while mice performed an active, whisker-dependent object localization task. Touch excited fast-spiking (FS) interneurons at short latency, followed by activation of E neurons and somatostatin-expressing (SST) interneurons. Touch only weakly modulated vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-expressing (VIP) interneurons. Voluntary whisker movement activated FS neurons in the ventral posteromedial nucleus (VPM) target layers, a subset of SST neurons and a majority of VIP neurons. Together, FS neurons track thalamic input, mediating feedforward inhibition. SST neurons monitor local excitation, providing feedback inhibition. VIP neurons are activated by non-sensory inputs, disinhibiting E and FS neurons. Our data reveal rules of recruitment for interneuron types during behavior, providing foundations for understanding computation in cortical microcircuits.

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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:

    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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    10/18/19 | A bidirectional network for appetite control in larval zebrafish.
    Wee CL, Song EY, Johnson RE, Ailani D, Randlett O, Kim J, Nikitchenko M, Bahl A, Yang C, Ahrens MB, Kawakami K, Engert F, Kunes S
    Elife. 2019 Oct 18;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43775

    Medial and lateral hypothalamic loci are known to suppress and enhance appetite, respectively, but the dynamics and functional significance of their interaction have yet to be explored. Here we report that, in larval zebrafish, primarily serotonergic neurons of the ventromedial caudal hypothalamus (cH) become increasingly active during food deprivation, whereas activity in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) is reduced. Exposure to food sensory and consummatory cues reverses the activity patterns of these two nuclei, consistent with their representation of opposing internal hunger states. Baseline activity is restored as food-deprived animals return to satiety via voracious feeding. The antagonistic relationship and functional importance of cH and LH activity patterns were confirmed by targeted stimulation and ablation of cH neurons. Collectively, the data allow us to propose a model in which these hypothalamic nuclei regulate different phases of hunger and satiety and coordinate energy balance via antagonistic control of distinct behavioral outputs.

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    10/18/19 | Drosulfakinin signaling in fruitless circuitry antagonizes P1 neurons to regulate sexual arousal in Drosophila.
    Wu S, Guo C, Zhao H, Sun M, Chen J, Han C, Peng Q, Qiao H, Peng P, Liu Y, Luo SD, Pan Y
    Nature Communications. 2019 Oct 18;10(1):4770. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12758-6

    Animals perform or terminate particular behaviors by integrating external cues and internal states through neural circuits. Identifying neural substrates and their molecular modulators promoting or inhibiting animal behaviors are key steps to understand how neural circuits control behaviors. Here, we identify the Cholecystokinin-like peptide Drosulfakinin (DSK) that functions at single-neuron resolution to suppress male sexual behavior in Drosophila. We found that Dsk neurons physiologically interact with male-specific P1 neurons, part of a command center for male sexual behaviors, and function oppositely to regulate multiple arousal-related behaviors including sex, sleep and spontaneous walking. We further found that the DSK-2 peptide functions through its receptor CCKLR-17D3 to suppress sexual behaviors in flies. Such a neuropeptide circuit largely overlaps with the fruitless-expressing neural circuit that governs most aspects of male sexual behaviors. Thus DSK/CCKLR signaling in the sex circuitry functions antagonistically with P1 neurons to balance arousal levels and modulate sexual behaviors.

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    10/18/19 | Superresolution architecture of cornerstone focal adhesions in human pluripotent stem cells.
    Stubb A, Guzmán C, Närvä E, Aaron J, Chew T, Saari M, Miihkinen M, Jacquemet G, Ivaska J
    Nature Communications. 2019 Oct 18;10(1):4756. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12611-w

    While it is clear that key transcriptional programmes are important for maintaining pluripotency, the requirement for cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix remains poorly defined. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) form colonies encircled by an actin ring and large stable cornerstone focal adhesions (FA). Using superresolution two-colour interferometric photo-activated localisation microscopy, we examine the three-dimensional architecture of cornerstone adhesions and report vertical lamination of FA proteins with three main structural features distinct from previously studied focal adhesions: 1) integrin β5 and talin are present at high density, at the edges of cornerstone FA, adjacent to a vertical kank-rich protein wall, 2) vinculin localises higher than previously reported, displaying a head-above-tail orientation, and 3) surprisingly, actin and α-actinin are present in two discrete z-layers. Finally, we report that depletion of kanks diminishes FA patterning, and actin organisation within the colony, indicating a role for kanks in hPSC colony architecture.

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    10/16/19 | Identification of cell types from single-cell transcriptomic data.
    Shekhar K, Menon V
    Methods in Molecular Biology. 2019 Oct 16;1935:45-77. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9057-3_4

    Unprecedented technological advances in single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology have now made it possible to profile genome-wide expression in single cells at low cost and high throughput. There is substantial ongoing effort to use scRNA-seq measurements to identify the "cell types" that form components of a complex tissue, akin to taxonomizing species in ecology. Cell type classification from scRNA-seq data involves the application of computational tools rooted in dimensionality reduction and clustering, and statistical analysis to identify molecular signatures that are unique to each type. As datasets continue to grow in size and complexity, computational challenges abound, requiring analytical methods to be scalable, flexible, and robust. Moreover, careful consideration needs to be paid to experimental biases and statistical challenges that are unique to these measurements to avoid artifacts. This chapter introduces these topics in the context of cell-type identification, and outlines an instructive step-by-step example bioinformatic pipeline for researchers entering this field.

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    10/15/19 | Asymmetric ON-OFF processing of visual motion cancels variability induced by the structure of natural scenes.
    Chen J, Mandel HB, Fitzgerald JE, Clark DA
    eLife. 2019 Oct 15;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47579

    Animals detect motion using a variety of visual cues that reflect regularities in the natural world. Experiments in animals across phyla have shown that motion percepts incorporate both pairwise and triplet spatiotemporal correlations that could theoretically benefit motion computation. However, it remains unclear how visual systems assemble these cues to build accurate motion estimates. Here we used systematic behavioral measurements of fruit fly motion perception to show how flies combine local pairwise and triplet correlations to reduce variability in motion estimates across natural scenes. By generating synthetic images with statistics controlled by maximum entropy distributions, we show that the triplet correlations are useful only when images have light-dark asymmetries that mimic natural ones. This suggests that asymmetric ON-OFF processing is tuned to the particular statistics of natural scenes. Since all animals encounter the world's light-dark asymmetries, many visual systems are likely to use asymmetric ON-OFF processing to improve motion estimation.

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    10/15/19 | Developmental organization of central neurons in the adult Drosophila ventral nervous system.
    Shepherd D, Sahota V, Court R, Williams DW, Truman JW
    Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2019 Oct 15;527(15):2573-2598. doi: 10.1002/cne.24690

    We have used MARCM to reveal the adult morphology of the post embryonically produced neurons in the thoracic neuromeres of the Drosophila VNS. The work builds on previous studies of the origins of the adult VNS neurons to describe the clonal organization of the adult VNS. We present data for 58 of 66 postembryonic thoracic lineages, excluding the motor neuron producing lineages (15 and 24) which have been described elsewhere. MARCM labels entire lineages but where both A and B hemilineages survive (e.g., lineages 19, 12, 13, 6, 1, 3, 8, and 11), the two hemilineages can be discriminated and we have described each hemilineage separately. Hemilineage morphology is described in relation to the known functional domains of the VNS neuropil and based on the anatomy we are able to assign broad functional roles for each hemilineage. The data show that in a thoracic hemineuromere, 16 hemilineages are primarily involved in controlling leg movements and walking, 9 are involved in the control of wing movements, and 10 interface between both leg and wing control. The data provide a baseline of understanding of the functional organization of the adult Drosophila VNS. By understanding the morphological organization of these neurons, we can begin to define and test the rules by which neuronal circuits are assembled during development and understand the functional logic and evolution of neuronal networks.

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