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4 Janelia Publications

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    07/18/17 | A connectome of a learning and memory center in the adult Drosophila brain.
    Takemura S, Aso Y, Hige T, Wong AM, Lu Z, Xu CS, Rivlin PK, Hess HF, Zhao T, Parag T, Berg S, Huang G, Katz WT, Olbris DJ, Plaza SM, Umayam LA, Aniceto R, Chang L, Lauchie S, et al
    eLife. 2017 Jul 18;6:e26975. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26975

    Understanding memory formation, storage and retrieval requires knowledge of the underlying neuronal circuits. In Drosophila, the mushroom body (MB) is the major site of associative learning. We reconstructed the morphologies and synaptic connections of all 983 neurons within the three functional units, or compartments, that compose the adult MB’s α lobe, using a dataset of isotropic 8-nm voxels collected by focused ion-beam milling scanning electron microscopy. We found that Kenyon cells (KCs), whose sparse activity encodes sensory information, each make multiple en passant synapses to MB output neurons (MBONs) in each compartment. Some MBONs have inputs from all KCs, while others differentially sample sensory modalities. Only six percent of KC>MBON synapses receive a direct synapse from a dopaminergic neuron (DAN). We identified two unanticipated classes of synapses, KC>DAN and DAN>MBON. DAN activation produces a slow depolarization of the MBON in these DAN>MBON synapses and can weaken memory recall.

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    05/30/17 | Contacts between the endoplasmic reticulum and other membranes in neurons.
    Wu Y, Whiteus C, Xu CS, Hayworth KJ, Weinberg RJ, Hess HF, De Camilli P
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 May 30;114(24):E4859-67. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701078114

    Close appositions between the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and other intracellular membranes have important functions in cell physiology. These include lipid homeostasis, regulation of Ca(2+) dynamics, and control of organelle biogenesis and dynamics. Although these membrane contacts have previously been observed in neurons, their distribution and abundance have not been systematically analyzed. Here, we have used focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy to generate 3D reconstructions of intracellular organelles and their membrane appositions involving the ER (distance ≤30 nm) in different neuronal compartments. ER-plasma membrane (PM) contacts were particularly abundant in cell bodies, with large, flat ER cisternae apposed to the PM, sometimes with a notably narrow lumen (thin ER). Smaller ER-PM contacts occurred throughout dendrites, axons, and in axon terminals. ER contacts with mitochondria were abundant in all compartments, with the ER often forming a network that embraced mitochondria. Small focal contacts were also observed with tubulovesicular structures, likely to be endosomes, and with sparse multivesicular bodies and lysosomes found in our reconstructions. Our study provides an anatomical reference for interpreting information about interorganelle communication in neurons emerging from functional and biochemical studies.

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    05/13/17 | Enhanced FIB-SEM systems for large-volume 3D imaging.
    Xu CS, Hayworth KJ, Lu Z, Grob P, Hassan AM, García-Cerdán JG, Niyogi KK, Nogales E, Weinberg RJ, Hess HF
    eLife. 2017 May 13;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25916

    Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) can automatically generate 3D images with superior z-axis resolution, yielding data that needs minimal image registration and related post-processing. Obstacles blocking wider adoption of FIB-SEM include slow imaging speed and lack of long-term system stability, which caps the maximum possible acquisition volume. Here we present techniques that accelerate image acquisition while greatly improving FIB-SEM reliability, allowing the system to operate for months and generating continuously imaged volumes > 10(6) µm(3). These volumes are large enough for connectomics, where the excellent z resolution can help in tracing of small neuronal processes and accelerate the tedious and time-consuming human proofreading effort. Even higher resolution can be achieved on smaller volumes. We present example data sets from mammalian neural tissue, Drosophila brain, and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to illustrate the power of this novel high-resolution technique to address questions in both connectomics and cell biology.

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    04/06/17 | Diverse protocols for correlative super-resolution fluorescence imaging and electron microscopy of chemically fixed samples.
    Kopek BG, Paez-Segala MG, Shtengel G, Sochacki KA, Sun MG, Wang Y, Xu CS, Van Engelenburg SB, Taraska JW, Looger LL, Hess HF
    Nature Protocols. 2017 May;12(5):916-946. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.017

    Our groups have recently developed related approaches for sample preparation for super-resolution imaging within endogenous cellular environments using correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM). Four distinct techniques for preparing and acquiring super-resolution CLEM data sets for aldehyde-fixed specimens are provided, including Tokuyasu cryosectioning, whole-cell mount, cell unroofing and platinum replication, and resin embedding and sectioning. The choice of the best protocol for a given application depends on a number of criteria that are discussed in detail. Tokuyasu cryosectioning is relatively rapid but is limited to small, delicate specimens. Whole-cell mount has the simplest sample preparation but is restricted to surface structures. Cell unroofing and platinum replication creates high-contrast, 3D images of the cytoplasmic surface of the plasma membrane but is more challenging than whole-cell mount. Resin embedding permits serial sectioning of large samples but is limited to osmium-resistant probes, and is technically difficult. Expected results from these protocols include super-resolution localization (∼10-50 nm) of fluorescent targets within the context of electron microscopy ultrastructure, which can help address cell biological questions. These protocols can be completed in 2-7 d, are compatible with a number of super-resolution imaging protocols, and are broadly applicable across biology.

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