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16 Janelia Publications

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    09/19/19 | Reconstruction of 1,000 projection neurons reveals new cell types and organization of long-range connectivity in the mouse brain.
    Winnubst J, Bas E, Ferreira TA, Wu Z, Economo MN, Edson P, Arthur BJ, Bruns C, Rokicki K, Schauder D, Olbris DJ, Murphy SD, Ackerman DG, Arshadi C, Baldwin P, Blake R, Elsayed A, Hasan M, Ramirez D, Dos Santos B, Weldon M, Zafar A, Dudman JT, Gerfen CR, Hantman AW, Korff W, Sternson SM, Spruston N, Svoboda K, Chandrashekar J
    Cell. 2019 Sep 19;179(1):268-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.07.042

    Neuronal cell types are the nodes of neural circuits that determine the flow of information within the brain. Neuronal morphology, especially the shape of the axonal arbor, provides an essential descriptor of cell type and reveals how individual neurons route their output across the brain. Despite the importance of morphology, few projection neurons in the mouse brain have been reconstructed in their entirety. Here we present a robust and efficient platform for imaging and reconstructing complete neuronal morphologies, including axonal arbors that span substantial portions of the brain. We used this platform to reconstruct more than 1,000 projection neurons in the motor cortex, thalamus, subiculum, and hypothalamus. Together, the reconstructed neurons constitute more than 85 meters of axonal length and are available in a searchable online database. Axonal shapes revealed previously unknown subtypes of projection neurons and suggest organizational principles of long-range connectivity.

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    09/16/19 | A repeated molecular architecture across thalamic pathways.
    Phillips JW, Schulmann A, Hara E, Winnubst J, Liu C, Valakh V, Wang L, Shields BC, Korff W, Chandrashekar J, Lemire AL, Mensh B, Dudman JT, Nelson SB, Hantman AW
    Nature Neuroscience. 2019 Sep 16;22(11):1925-35. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0483-3

    The thalamus is the central communication hub of the forebrain and provides the cerebral cortex with inputs from sensory organs, subcortical systems and the cortex itself. Multiple thalamic regions send convergent information to each cortical region, but the organizational logic of thalamic projections has remained elusive. Through comprehensive transcriptional analyses of retrogradely labeled thalamic neurons in adult mice, we identify three major profiles of thalamic pathways. These profiles exist along a continuum that is repeated across all major projection systems, such as those for vision, motor control and cognition. The largest component of gene expression variation in the mouse thalamus is topographically organized, with features conserved in humans. Transcriptional differences between these thalamic neuronal identities are tied to cellular features that are critical for function, such as axonal morphology and membrane properties. Molecular profiling therefore reveals covariation in the properties of thalamic pathways serving all major input modalities and output targets, thus establishing a molecular framework for understanding the thalamus.

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    05/27/19 | Molecular logic of spinocerebellar tract neuron diversity and connectivity.
    Baek M, Menon V, Jessell TM, Hantman AW, Dasen J
    Cell Reports. 2019 May 27;27(9):2620-35. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.113

    Coordinated motor behaviors depend on feedback communication between peripheral sensory systems and central circuits in the brain and spinal cord. Relay of muscle and tendon-derived sensory information to the CNS is facilitated by functionally and anatomically diverse groups of spinocerebellar tract neurons (SCTNs), but the molecular logic by which SCTN diversity and connectivity is achieved is poorly understood. We used single cell RNA sequencing and genetic manipulations to define the mechanisms governing the molecular profile and organization of SCTN subtypes. We found that SCTNs relaying proprioceptive sensory information from limb and axial muscles are generated through segmentally-restricted actions of specific Hox genes. Loss of Hox function disrupts SCTN subtype-specific transcriptional programs, leading to defects in the connections between proprioceptive sensory neurons, SCTNs, and the cerebellum. These results indicate that Hox-dependent genetic programs play essential roles in the assembly of the neural circuits required for proprioception.

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    04/12/19 | Mapping the transcriptional diversity of genetically and anatomically defined cell populations in the mouse brain.
    Sugino K, Clark E, Schulmann A, Shima Y, Wang L, Hunt DL, Hooks BM, Traenkner D, Chandrashekar J, Picard S, Lemire AL, Spruston N, Hantman AW, Nelson SB
    Elife. 2019 Apr 12;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.38619

    Understanding the principles governing neuronal diversity is a fundamental goal for neuroscience. Here we provide an anatomical and transcriptomic database of nearly 200 genetically identified cell populations. By separately analyzing the robustness and pattern of expression differences across these cell populations, we identify two gene classes contributing distinctly to neuronal diversity. Short homeobox transcription factors distinguish neuronal populations combinatorially, and exhibit extremely low transcriptional noise, enabling highly robust expression differences. Long neuronal effector genes, such as channels and cell adhesion molecules, contribute disproportionately to neuronal diversity, based on their patterns rather than robustness of expression differences. By linking transcriptional identity to genetic strains and anatomical atlases we provide an extensive resource for further investigation of mouse neuronal cell types.

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    01/21/19 | Internal models in control, biology and neuroscience.
    Huang J, Isidori A, Marconi L, Mischiati M, Sontag E, Wonham WM
    2018 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC). 2019 Jan 21:. doi: 10.1109/CDC.2018.8619624

    This tutorial paper deals with the Internal Model Principle (IMP) from different perspectives. The goal is to start from the principle as introduced and commonly used in the control theory and then enlarge the vision to other fields where “internal models” play a role. The biology and neuroscience fields are specifically targeted in the paper. The paper ends by presenting an “abstract” theory of IMP applicable to a large class of systems.

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    01/18/19 | Cortical column and whole-brain imaging with molecular contrast and nanoscale resolution.
    Gao R, Asano SM, Upadhyayula S, Pisarev I, Milkie DE, Liu T, Singh V, Graves AR, Huynh GH, Zhao Y, Bogovic JA, Colonell J, Ott CM, Zugates CT, Tappan S, Rodriguez A, Mosaliganti KR, Sheu S, Pasolli HA, et al
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 2019 Jan 18;363(6424):eaau8302. doi: 10.1126/science.aau8302

    Optical and electron microscopy have made tremendous inroads toward understanding the complexity of the brain. However, optical microscopy offers insufficient resolution to reveal subcellular details, and electron microscopy lacks the throughput and molecular contrast to visualize specific molecular constituents over millimeter-scale or larger dimensions. We combined expansion microscopy and lattice light-sheet microscopy to image the nanoscale spatial relationships between proteins across the thickness of the mouse cortex or the entire Drosophila brain. These included synaptic proteins at dendritic spines, myelination along axons, and presynaptic densities at dopaminergic neurons in every fly brain region. The technology should enable statistically rich, large-scale studies of neural development, sexual dimorphism, degree of stereotypy, and structural correlations to behavior or neural activity, all with molecular contrast.

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    12/14/18 | Motor cortex is an input-driven dynamical system controlling dexterous movement.
    Sauerbrei B, Guo J, Mischiati M, Guo W, Kabra M, Verma N, Branson KM, Hantman AW
    bioRxiv. 2018-12-14:266320. doi: 10.1101/266320

    Skillful control of movement is central to our ability to sense and manipulate the world. A large body of work in nonhuman primates has demonstrated that motor cortex provides flexible, time-varying activity patterns that control the arm during reaching and grasping. Previous studies have suggested that these patterns are generated by strong local recurrent dynamics operating autonomously from inputs during movement execution. An alternative possibility is that motor cortex requires coordination with upstream brain regions throughout the entire movement in order to yield these patterns. Here, we developed an experimental preparation in the mouse to directly test these possibilities using optogenetics and electrophysiology during a skilled reach-to-grab-to-eat task. To validate this preparation, we first established that a specific, time-varying pattern of motor cortical activity was required to produce coordinated movement. Next, in order to disentangle the contribution of local recurrent motor cortical dynamics from external input, we optogenetically held the recurrent contribution constant, then observed how motor cortical activity recovered following the end of this perturbation. Both the neural responses and hand trajectory varied from trial to trial, and this variability reflected variability in external inputs. To directly probe the role of these inputs, we used optogenetics to perturb activity in the thalamus. Thalamic perturbation at the start of the trial prevented movement initiation, and perturbation at any stage of the movement prevented progression of the hand to the target; this demonstrates that input is required throughout the movement. By comparing motor cortical activity with and without thalamic perturbation, we were able to estimate the effects of external inputs on motor cortical population activity. Thus, unlike pattern-generating circuits that are local and autonomous, such as those in the spinal cord that generate left-right alternation during locomotion, the pattern generator for reaching and grasping is distributed across multiple, strongly-interacting brain regions.

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    12/03/18 | Developmental pattern and structural factors of dendritic survival in cerebellar granule cells in vivo.
    Dhar M, Hantman AW, Nishiyama H
    Scientific Reports. 2018 Dec 03;8(1):17561. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35829-y

    Granule cells (GCs) in the cerebellar cortex are important for sparse encoding of afferent sensorimotor information. Modeling studies show that GCs can perform their function most effectively when they have four dendrites. Indeed, mature GCs have four short dendrites on average, each terminating in a claw-like ending that receives both excitatory and inhibitory inputs. Immature GCs, however, have significantly more dendrites-all without claws. How these redundant dendrites are refined during development is largely unclear. Here, we used in vivo time-lapse imaging and immunohistochemistry to study developmental refinement of GC dendritic arbors and its relation to synapse formation. We found that while the formation of dendritic claws stabilized the dendrites, the selection of surviving dendrites was made before claw formation, and longer immature dendrites had a significantly higher chance of survival than shorter dendrites. Using immunohistochemistry, we show that glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses are transiently formed on immature GC dendrites, and the number of GABAergic, but not glutamatergic, synapses correlates with the length of immature dendrites. Together, these results suggest a potential role of transient GABAergic synapses on dendritic selection and show that preselected dendrites are stabilized by the formation of dendritic claws-the site of mature synapses.

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    11/01/18 | Stability, affinity and chromatic variants of the glutamate sensor iGluSnFR.
    Marvin JS, Scholl B, Wilson DE, Podgorski K, Kazemipour A, Mueller JA, Schoch-McGovern S, Wang SS, Quiroz FJ, Rebola N, Bao H, Little JP, Tkachuk AN, Hantman AW, Chapman ER, Dietrich D, DiGregorio DA, Fitzpatrick D, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2018 Nov;15(11):9386-9. doi: 10.1038/s41592-018-0171-3

    Single-wavelength fluorescent reporters allow visualization of specific neurotransmitters with high spatial and temporal resolution. We report variants of intensity-based glutamate-sensing fluorescent reporter (iGluSnFR) that are functionally brighter; detect submicromolar to millimolar amounts of glutamate; and have blue, cyan, green, or yellow emission profiles. These variants could be imaged in vivo in cases where original iGluSnFR was too dim, resolved glutamate transients in dendritic spines and axonal boutons, and allowed imaging at kilohertz rates.

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    03/22/18 | A Neural Circuit for the Suppression of Pain by a Competing Need State.
    Alhadeff AL, Su Z, Hernandez E, Klima ML, Phillips SZ, Holland RA, Guo C, Hantman AW, De Jonghe BC, Betley JN
    Cell. 2018 Mar 22;173(1):140-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.02.057

    Hunger and pain are two competing signals that individuals must resolve to ensure survival. However, the neural processes that prioritize conflicting survival needs are poorly understood. We discovered that hunger attenuates behavioral responses and affective properties of inflammatory pain without altering acute nociceptive responses. This effect is centrally controlled, as activity in hunger-sensitive agouti-related protein (AgRP)-expressing neurons abrogates inflammatory pain. Systematic analysis of AgRP projection subpopulations revealed that the neural processing of hunger and inflammatory pain converge in the hindbrain parabrachial nucleus (PBN). Strikingly, activity in AgRP → PBN neurons blocked the behavioral response to inflammatory pain as effectively as hunger or analgesics. The anti-nociceptive effect of hunger is mediated by neuropeptide Y (NPY) signaling in the PBN. By investigating the intersection between hunger and pain, we have identified a neural circuit that mediates competing survival needs and uncovered NPY Y1 receptor signaling in the PBN as a target for pain suppression.

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